Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2011: First Bites & First Likes

October 9, 2011

Over the long first weekend of this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I was fortunate to sample most of the items being offered, so I thought I’d give a quick look at some of the things I liked and would recommend… this is not a complete list of my “likes” (or at least “good enoughs” to say they are worth a try), but just some highlights… we’ll stick with savory food items here (and my few Dedicated Readers know I’m not much on sweets anyway), and go in no particular order…. so let’s dig in:

Linguica Sausage with Onions, Peppers and Olives

In Portugal we have a dish of Linguica Sausage with Onions, Peppers and Olives – the sausage is good, but the sauteed veggies really make this a simple dish worth trying.

Grilled Ribeye Taco

There are a couple of good options in Mexico: a Grilled Ribeye Taco with Chipotle Sauce and Grilled Scallions…

Crispy Shrimp Taco

and a Shrimp Taco with Chipotle Lime Mayo and Cabbage. I think most of us gringos expect shredded lettuce on a taco, but in some “real” Mexican joints, I’ve seen shredded cabbage used often, and it’s crunch really adds something (and it won’t wilt out quite a quickly as lettuce). If I had to pick between the two, I’d say the beef is superior, but both are nice choices for sure.

Artisan Cheese Selection

At the Cheese kiosk we find, not surprisingly, a cheese plate… this year’s selection mimics many of the cheese plates now served at some of the nicer restaurants around Disney property. Three artisan (read that as not-mass-produced) selections give you a variety of flavors, and the accompaniments enhance the experience… unless you’re lactose-intolerant (or heaven-forbid vegan), give this a try… if you haven’t had yours already you may just have your first Cheese Epiphany…

Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad

Hawaii has raw Tuna… yummm… Tuna… (you can see the recipe here).

Shrimp on the Barbie

A slightly spicy Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Barry Citrus Glaze greets us in Australia… what’s not to like?

Grilled Lamb Chop

We also have an old friend in Australia, the Grilled Lamp Chop. This year the side is a Potato-Goat Cheese Salad… I loves me some goat cheese, and the salad is really good, but I think the rich lamb meat actually pairs better with one of the green leafy salad type sides of years prior… that said, this won’t be the last lamb chop from Down Under I will consume this year…

Harissa Chicken Roll

The Harissa Chicken Roll in Morocc0 looked like an egg roll, but has it’s own, unique flavor.

Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta

The perennial favorite in Canada is the Cheddar Cheese Soup (which is pretty darn good), but I think the real star is the Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta… the polenta itself is fantastic… paired with the spicy sausage you have a real winner!

Shrimp Cake on a Sugarcane Skewer

A favorite of mine from last year is back again: the Shrimp Cake in Singapore. Served on a Sugarcane Skewer and paired with cold Singapore Noodles, this is an interesting and flavorful dish – we need to try making a version of this soon…

Lobster & Scallop Fisherman's Pie, with a Guinness of course...

One of the huge hits at the festival in recent years has been the Lobster & Scallop Fisherman’s Pie in Ireland. It seems to be a bit heavier on the potatoes (and thus lighter on the seafood) than before, but it’s still pretty darn good…

Coq au Vin sur Gratin de Macaroni

New in France this year is Coq au Vin: a red wine braised chicken served atop what amounts to macaroni and cheese. Not the prettiest presentation, but full of rich flavors, this is one item not to be missed. One friend, the lovely Miss Kimberly, professed to having the dish at least three times in a 24 hour period… and she was on her way for another round at the time…

Tuna and Salmon Sensation

Dedicated Readers should know of my fondness for the Japan pavilion in Epcot, so it would be a big shock if there wasn’t at least one or two items I’d like at the booth here…

The Tuna Sensation (raw tuna and avocado cubes in a soy/ginger sauce) has been a favorite in prior years, and they have added cubes of salmon to mix things up this year… still good…

Pork Kakuni

Also in Japan, and new this year, is the Pork Kakuni: tender hunks of pork braised in soy and sake topped with a bit of spicy mustard. My companions who sampled with me weren’t that enthusiastic about this dish, but I’m particularly fond of big hunks of tender pig… so shoot me…

Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw (top) and Boolgogi BBQ Beef with Rice and Kimchi (bottom)

I love Korean food, and was very pleased with the items introduced last year at the South Korea kiosk. The Lettuce Wrap is back and as good as it was last year (and you can check out our recipe for that item here), and the Boolgogi added this year is good as well. I like that there is a generous side of Kimchi alongside – if you’ve never had this spicy pickled cabbage before, here’s your chance to try this traditional Korean staple.

Ravioli di formaggio all'Emiliana

In Italy we have a baked Cheese Ravioli with Beef Bolognese sauce – nothing particularly innovative, but good and full of cheesy-good flavor. It will be perfect in a (hopefully cool) fall evening around the World Showcase while waiting for a concert to begin…


At the Brazil booth, we are presented with the Brazilian national dish, Feijoada. A stew primarily of black beans and pork, Feijoada is the type of dish that I love seeing at Epcot. Much like the fantastic chicken and rice soup we had at the Puerto Rico booth last year, this is basically a peasant dish that has evolved over that years to become something very special. As the weather cools down, I can see the Eating (and Drinking) Around the World Kitchens trying out recipes for this hearty dish… stay tuned…

To top off our tour of first-look-favorites, let’s take a little trip to Greece…

Griddled Greek Cheese

Earthy Kesseri Cheese heated and topped with crushed Pistachios and honey… damn… trust me… trust Miss Bonnie… trust my buddy AJ… have this…

Okay, that’s the Eating (and Drinking) Around the World first-look choices from this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival… yes, there are items waiting to be sampled (or re-sampled), and I’m sure we’ll have other recommendations as the weeks go on… but taste these for now (virtually or in person)…

We’re headed off to the kitchen now, but we’ll be back at the Food & Wine Festival (as well as another event) soon!

One Response to “Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2011: First Bites & First Likes”

  1. Cherry Says:

    I’m really looking forward to F&W this year and your pics may have convinced me to try a few things that I was going to skip. 🙂


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