Getting a sneak peak…

August 14, 2013

DSCF4333

at the best time of the year…

Recently Miss Bonnie, Mistress Sandra and I got to attend the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview Dinner.  At the event sponsored by Tables in Wonderland we got to sample some of the new food and beverage items to be served at this years festival along with some “inside” scoop (inside info at least for the few seconds it takes for it to show up on Twitter…) on the events being held at the festival.

This year the preview was held in the Odyssey building in Epcot, and once we were allowed inside from the sweltering July heat we got our table assignments and quickly queued up for beverages and appetizers (yes, even at a semi-private event you do still wind up waiting in lines, it is Disney after all).

DSCF4326

There was a full open bar, but several of the new wines being featured at the kiosks were highlighted along with a new, unusual frozen concoction (the Frozen Szarlotka, a Polish Apple Pie Cocktail).

Brazilian Sparkling Moscato... goes down easy...

Brazilian Sparkling Moscato… goes down easy…

Dual buffet-style lines led to the two pre-dinner appetizer selections for the evening…

DSCF4327

Kimchi Dogs

Kimchi Dogs

a Korean-style Kimchi Dog (okay, let the “eating dog” comments begin…) from the South Korea booth…

DSCF4329

Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider

Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider

and from the Florida Local booth, a Beef Slider with cheese and pickles.

Kimchi Dog with Sauce Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with

Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Monterey Jack and Sweet & Hot Pickles

With our food now in hand we made our way to our table (one of twenty tables that each held eight guests) near the stage.

The slider was pretty good, but nothing I’m going to say right now that will be a “must-have”, actually the pickles I think were the best part… and yes Dear Dedicated Readers, I do still have that Slider-Rant waiting to come out of me eventually…

The Kimchi Dogs however were great – yes it’s a “just” a hot dog, but the spicy kimchi relish had a nice bit of bite and along with the sauce really complimented the weenie. I had more than one, and Bonnie I think may have even had one more than me…

There was much discussion around our table about how “authentic” a Korean hotdog was and if it really fit the spirit of the festival… for now I’ll leave that up to you to decide for yourself… and yes I’d probably like something a bit more “challenging”, but they were damn good…

Pam Smith and Marianne Hunnel... sorry for the horrible picture ladies, I had a Kimchi Dog in my hands at the time...

Pam Smith and Marianne Hunnel… sorry for the horrible picture ladies, I had a Kimchi Dog in my hands at the time…

We were soon greeted by the perennial Food & Wine Festival host, Pam Smith. She introduced Chef Marianne Hunnel and we dug into our food as they talked…

Brazil was our first stop for the plated meal of the evening – the serving staff poured an interesting Xingu Black Beer and soon brought the dish it was paired with…

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro

an absolutely delicious pork belly dish – the black bean puree doesn’t look that pretty on the plate, but all the elements (especially the fatty, yummy pig!) combined to make one fantastic plate – this will be one of the big hits this year for sure!

Next up was a Flower & Garden Festival “Rewind” dish…

Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction

Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction

the sweet and savory watermelon salad that was served at the Florida Local booth during the spring festival is making a second appearance this year in the fall… it was one of our favorites from Flower & Garden and I expect this unusual and flavorful salad to also be one of the big hits at Food & Wine. During her comments on the dish Chef Hunnel did mention that they do plan on continuing to have Marketplace kiosks during Flower & Garden (yeah!).

The salad was paired with the Hurricane Class 5 Florida White Sangria from the Florida Orange Groves winery. It was a nice and refreshing five fruit blend, but I think I’d have liked to see a return of the more interesting tomato and carrot wines from the same producer that were at the Florida Local booth during the spring.

DSCF4340

In between the salad and entree courses Pam and Chef Marianne returned to give us the lowdown on the aesthetics of the festival theming for this year…

DSCF4342

with “Taste Your Way Around the World” being the tagline for the 2013 festival.

DSCF4349

We also got details on some of the new (and returning) booths that will be around the World Showcase.

DSCF4350

The big talk was about the debuting Scotland Marketplace this year with a new salmon dish (which we’ll see shortly), as well as a vegetarian version of the infamous innards dish Haggis… come on Disney, have the guts to give us some real guts! At least there will be another booze flight around the World, this time a trio of aged Scotch Whiskey.

Brazil is also new (actually returning) this year (and I’m quite looking forward to that).

We also got confirmation that the spiked, adult Dole Whips would make a rewind of sorts from Flower & Garden! The Refreshment Port will again be the site of long lines with Orange Dole Whip this time being doused with Crème de Cacao White liqueur.

Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette served with Baby Root Vegetables (left) and the "Le Cellier" Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette served with Baby Root Vegetables (left) and the “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

During the presentation we were served our entree plate which consisted of two of the heartier dishes that will be served this year: Beef Filet from Canada, which was at the festival last year, and a new inclusion for 2013, a seared Salmon from the Scotland booth.

There were two wines paired with these dishes, a red blend from South Africa, and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (if you asked nicely they would pour you both…).

The beef was good (if overcooked for my taste, but that’s not surprising in this serving situation), with the truffle scented sauce being the hit around our table. I wasn’t crazy about the salmon, but I’m admittedly not a big fan of that specific fin-fish… the cauliflower puree seemed a bit lost, but that could be due to the dual plating of the dishes – we’ll see how this item fares at the festival…

DSCF4352

As the presentation continued Chef Hunnel highlighted a few of the other new dishes that will be at the kiosks this year…

DSCF4353

including a Rainbow Trout in Canada (I’m actually curious about this one, there is bacon in it after all)…

DSCF4354

and a Seared Sea Scallop in Brazil.

DSCF4359

Celebrity Chefs will as always be in attendance this year, and Pam Smith covered some of the names and demos that would be upcoming.

Cat Cora will be back, as will Andrew Zimmern, Robert Irvine and more. The very tall Carla Hall from The Chew and Top Chef will be at the festival for the first time for a couple of demos.

Pam noted that Jamie Deen would indeed return this year, and there was applause as she said: “we love Jamie, and we love his mom”. I had wondered if he would return this year after all the kerfuffle surrounding mama Paula in the recent months, not that I thought that Disney would not ask him back due to the negative publicity, but I thought he might not want to deal with the inevitable questions… I give him credit for not shying away…

During this time our dessert sampler and beverage (a sparkling Rose that will be served at the Desserts & Champagne booth) were served.

Dessert Trio: Chocolate Orange Cupcake, Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake and Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse (photo courtesy Miss Bonnie's iPhone)

Dessert Trio: Chocolate Orange Cupcake, Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake and Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse (photo courtesy Miss Bonnie’s iPhone)

All the desserts were really good (and Dedicated Readers know that I always profess not to be a big sweets guy), with the cheesecake being my favorite of the three choices.

Chef Hunnel joined back in on the presentation and they went over many of the special events and seminars, such as the Party for the Senses.

DSCF4365

Of course there is also entertainment, with the Go-Gos, Wilson Phillips and Manhattan Transfer being some of the new acts to perform during the Eat to the Beat concerts.

DSCF4366

We finished our desserts while our hosts took a break – when they returned we were reminded that now we were on the countdown (61 days at that time, thankfully much less now)!

DSCF4367

We left with a toast from Pam: “Here’s to the people that don’t see life as a glass half empty, here’s to the people that don’t see life as a glass half full, but here’s to the people like you and you and you and everyone that celebrates the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, that see’s life as a glass that needs topping off.”

A perfect ending to a really fun, and tasty, evening… and if it’s possible, I’m looking forward to the festival even more!

By now all the festival details, menus, and so forth have been published, and I’m sure many of you already have delved into them, but if not you can find the info at the official Disney Food & Wine site or get really great details, reviews and more at the Disney Food Blog the DIS and All Ears.

I’ll be there opening day – will you? Hope to see you there!

3 Responses to “Getting a sneak peak…”


  1. […] had this at the Tables in Wonderland Sneak Preview dinner in the summer (see “Getting a sneak peak“) and was blown away… but heck, it’s pork belly, and we loves us some pork belly […]

    Like


  2. […] first encountered this at the Food & Wine Festival Preview Dinner back in the summer, and Bonnie and I scarfed so many down that we could hardly eat all the rest of […]

    Like


  3. […] Eating (and Drinking) Around the World got a sneak peak of the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival…YUM! […]

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: