Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2012: more food… more thoughts…

November 7, 2012

It’s seems just like yesterday that the 2012 version of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival opened – I gave you some first thoughts in (the appropriately named) posts Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part One and Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part Two

and now that’s it’s nearly over it’s time to give you an update on some of the foods, events and other random stuff that Miss Bonnie and I, along with several friends and family members, have experienced during the past few weeks of the festival… so let’s take a look, shall we?

Terra Booth (pre-opening) at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

One of the most talked-about kiosks this year is the first all-vegan booth, Terra.

Terra Menu

Now, Dedicated Readers know I do love me some animal protein, but at the same time I also think we should limit our meat consumption (for the good of our own health and the health of the planet) and I actually do my best to eat vegetarian at least two or three days out of the week… and considering I’ve had several friends and acquaintances who have adopted (or at least experimented with) a vegan lifestyle in recent years, I was quite interested in trying the offerings at Terra.

Hosted/sponsored by gardein, a company that produces vegan meat substitutes, the Terra booth has a couple of savory options, a non-meat dessert (shocking) and several beverage options.

One day I made my way there to try the meatless selections, and (we’ll end the suspense here…) was pretty impressed with the offerings.

Colorado Chili (bottom) and Trick’n Chick’n Curry

The “Trick’n Chick’n” Curry was a piece of faux breaded chicken atop some basmati rice with an Indian-inspired curry sauce.

Trick’n Chick’n Curry

The texture of the gardein Chicke’n product was actually pretty good – better than most of the other veggie-fake-chicken I’ve tried, which can have a bit of a spongy feel to them… and I’m pretty much a sucker for anything with a curry over basmati…

Chili Colorado with House-made Chips and Cashew Cheese

The chili dish had a rich, complex flavor and the texture of the gardein Beefless Tips used in it would fool most people if they didn’t know they were eating a vegan product. The cashew “cheese” doesn’t exactly make you want to forget about topping a bowl of chili with some great shredded cheddar, but does add it’s own enhancement to the dish (I have made a recipe for cashew cheese and it really turned out well, so I’ll try and share that one soon). And the chips were pretty darn good… these could star at Miss Bonnie’s dream of an all-potato booth…

As I was finishing my meal, Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann came along and he asked how I liked the vegan options. I told him I was pleased with the dishes, but was a bit perplexed about how people (and yes, I do consider vegans and vegetarians as people…) who have decided to eschew animal products still want their protein options to resemble the look and feel of meat – if you’ve ever seen the bizarre fake MorningStar Farms bacon I’m sure you’ve wondered the same thing!

Chef Jens had the first good explanation of this phenomenon I’ve ever heard – (and I’m paraphrasing him here…) – most people (especially Westerners) who are vegetarian or vegan weren’t raised that way, and ate meat for much or part of their life, and therefore the texture and flavor of meat products are something that one craves and desires from memory, and thus the faux meat products…

A couple of weeks later Miss Bonnie and I again ran into Chef Jens, and on this occasion Bonnie was wearing her D23 Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit tee-shirt that pays homage to the former Epcot attraction Kitchen Kabaret.

Chef Jens seemed quite excited to see Miss Bonnie’s garb and quickly excused himself to get a co-worker – he returned with Michael Jenner (who is essentially the Godfather of the Food & Wine Festival) – Michael noted that Jens had not been at Epcot nearly long enough to remember the long extinct attraction of Kitchen Kabaret, but they had actually considered “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit” as the name for the vegan booth before “terra” was chosen!

Germany had been high on Bonnie’s “want-to-try” list, so one day we (read mostly “she”) sampled all the food items there…

Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll (top left), Schinken Nudel (top right) and Apple Strudel (bottom)

The brat had good flavor and the pretzel roll was good, but it still needed something else, maybe bring back the kraut… the Schinken Nudel was essentially a custardy mac & cheese with ham… Bonnie found it to be okay but not great – she thought it would be a decent breakfast item – I found it a bit bland… the real winner here was the strudel – flaky pastry filled with apples and topped with a caramel and vanilla sauce – the was a “big yum” all the way around!

Beer Flight from the Brewer’s Collection along with Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll

As noted on earlier visits, the beer flights from the Brewer’s Collection next to Germany continued to be a very popular choice.

On one visit several young ladies were hanging out in front of the Watermelon Patch handing out recipe cards….

turns out the were the Watermelon Queens… I’ll refrain from making any inappropriate melon comments…

In the good-old US of A the Fife & Drum booth is featuring some Jim Beam bourbon-based beverages…

The frozen Red Stag Lemonade has been added to the regular menu here after being introduced during Food & Wine, but the Red Stag Honey Tea Lemonade is here just for the festival…

Red Stag Honey Tea Lemonade

and it’s good… damn good…

In Belgium, the mussel dish has been altered this year…

The Mussels from Brussels

the version with a cream-based sauce from recent years has been replaced with a beer-steamed version using Hoegaarden beer. Served with a baguette to sop up the broth, this is a treat for bivalve lovers.

Steamed Mussels in Hoegaarden Beer Broth with Baguette

On the merchandise front, a Food & Wine Festival engraved cocktail shaker has debuted this year…

and apparently taking a cue from the Swan & Dolphin Classic,

Handy plate and wine glass provided to diners at the Swan & Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

Disney is selling small plastic plates (with a place to check off the booths you’ve visited printed on them) with a built-in wine glass holder.

Now back to some food…

Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad

New Zealand continues to shine at the Festival – the scallop dish was similar to the one last year with a slightly spicy puree holding the freshly cooked scallop… of course a second scallop would make this a much better dish, but I guess you can’t have everything…

Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney and a glass of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir

The lamb sliders have been replaced with a lamb meatball in a pastry case topped with a spicy tomato sauce. The meatball itself has lots of flavor and the chutney adds just the right amount of heat – I really think this is a nice new option. I know there are some usually normal carnivores out there that seem to be lambphobic, so if you may not be quite ready to dig into the tasty chop at Australia, this is a good gateway lamb dish.

Morocco Menu

One of the new items at the Morocco booth this year is the Merguez Sausage.

Merguez Sausage

The beef and lamb sausage is served in a split pita with grilled peppers and onions – I liked the taste of the sausage and overall it was a good item, but it was not anything spectacular.

Mongolian Beef in a Steamed Bun

There are a couple of new items in China this year: Mongolian Beef and Chicken Satay.

Chicken Satay with Spiced Peanut Sauce and Pickled Vegetables

I was quite pleased with both items, and they were both decent portions. The chicken was especially good – a large amount of tender grilled chicken served with a spicy peanut sauce and a small amount of nice pickled veggies (Miss Bonnie was very critical of the small portion of pickles).

Let’s take a walk and try to work off some of the calories before hitting a couple more new food items….

As we pass by the Cheese booth, we see that the self-ordering machines from last year have returned (they weren’t there the first couple of weeks of the festival), but on this occasion no one was taking advantage of them.

I hate that I’ve been drinking all that crappy tasting wine all these years…

In the Festival Center there was a display of some of the wines from the Florida Orange Groves that are featured this year at the Florida Local Booth.

Key Limen Wine in a pouch!

In addition to the traditional glass bottles, the wines are also offered in a handy-dandy pouch…

Iced, iced, baby!

and if you have to drink them right now, they are also available on ice!

Also in the Festival Center was a table of goodies that were calling my name…

Tequila baby, tequila!

can you just deliver that whole table to my resort???

Let’s head back to the World Showcase for a couple more things to eat before calling it a day…

Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll

The Hops & Barley Market in the US pavilion features plenty of Sam Adams brews along with food items from Maine.

Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll

At $7.50, I’m pretty sure the Lobster Roll is the most expensive food item at the kiosks…but it does come pretty close to the “perfect” moniker! Big, honking pieces of lobster meat just lightly enrobed in a seasoned mayo on a nice bun… yumm, yummm, yummmm….

Now for a sweet ending to the visit… we’d previously tried the Chocolate Mousse at the Desserts and Champagne booth and loved it – the bite from the chili perfectly complimented by the caramel and salt…

Dessert Trio

but we forced ourselves to try the trio of desserts – Yogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranate; Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote; and the previously sampled Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel. All were really good (the mousse still being the best), and at $3.75 for the trio, quite a deal. And dessert will end our look right now at the Food & Wine Festival. There is sadly only one more week to go in this year’s event, and of course Miss Bonnie and I will be there for the final weekend, and (sometime) afterwards I’ll have a wrap-up and final thoughts on the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival… but for now it’s time to head back to the kitchen! See you soon!

5 Responses to “Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2012: more food… more thoughts…”

  1. […] Eating (and Drinking) Around the World visits the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. […]


  2. […] Eating (and Drinking) Around the World visits the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. […]


  3. […] & Ms. Bonnie are still rockin’ at Food & Wine! Check out what they’re eating on this lap around the World at Eating (and Drinking) around the […]


  4. […] a recent post about this years Epcot Food & Wine Festival (Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2012: more food… more thoughts…), I showed you the offerings at the Vegan booth terra, one of which was a meatless chili topped […]


  5. Paul bear Says:

    I love Food and WIne at EPCOT it is my favorite time of year.


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