It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiime of the year – Epcot Interational Food and Wine Festival. Since we’re annual passholders, we find ourselves at WDW often, especially during Food and Wine. I know we plan to go (and gorge ourselves) multiple times. This year instead of just eating all willy-nilly, Mike and I decided we would divide and conquer the world in 3 generalized regions. It got us to try some countries we may not have otherwise, and it almost becomes like a game. I’m going to do a post on each region and this will be my first part of 3 – Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – The Americas.
This is Epcot’s 20th Anniversary for the Food and Wine Festival. Mike and I have gone for at least the last 5 years, if not more, and love it every time. Before we had my son, we’d often come to Food and Wine for dinner during the week when the crowds weren’t so heavy.
Disney is doing two particularly cool things this year. The first is if you’re a passholder, you have the chance to get a free wine glass if you visit 3 times. You get a special passport that is stamped and on your third visit, it gets turned in and you collect your wine glass. Mike and I had planned to do this, but the line was insanely long and we were ravenously hungry, so we just said forget it.
They’re also doing a map hunt for Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak. As you go through each country, you find a hidden Easter egg of sorts. You mark which one you find (there are stickers of each one) onto the country where it was found. Once you find them all, turn in the map and you get to pick out one of these insanely ADORABLE limited release pins. I can’t wait to take my son so we can do this with him as he loves the egg hunt they offer around Easter time. If you plan to do this, it does cost money ($7.95) and once supplies are gone, that’s it. The Easter one sold out this year before we got a chance to do it, so we plan to jump on this one early.
Be sure to get one of these cool Festival Passports as well that way you can mark off which countries you’ve eaten at and you can check off which items you ordered as well.
Our first stop was Canada. I have to get the Cheddar Cheese soup every year. It’s a tiny little cup of comfort food, and I must eat it despite it being 90+ degrees outside. This year they also had an insanely good Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter (I heard multiple people raving about its goodness) and a Chicken Sausage with Creamy Polenta and Minus 8 Onion Jam (which we did not have this year, but I believe had last year and it was also quite tasty).
Brazil was next on our way around the world. We couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat here, so we got everything. The Escondidinho de Carne which is a layered meat pie with mashed yucca was the first thing we ate. Mike really liked this, but I only thought it was ok. The Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans and Tomato was DELISH. I could eat pork belly all of the time and this did not disappoint, not to mention the beans were great as well. The Pão de Queijo – Brazilian Cheese Bread – was good, but not worth wasting precious stomach space on. I almost didn’t give my husband any of the Cocada, a Brazilian Coconut Candy because it was just that good. It’s basically a ball of sugary, coconuty goodness, and I adore coconut.
We stopped at Hops & Barley: American Adventure next. Both of us are a little picky about seafood and ended up skipping the New England Lobster Roll (the couple next to us only said it was ok). We did get the Florida Grass-fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese and the Carrot Cake with Craisins and Cream Cheese Icing. The slider was cooked well done and the pimento cheese was more of a sauce than a true pimento cheese – this one wasn’t a favorite for us. The carrot cake, however, was so good. It’s served warm with lots of gooey icing. Definitely a tasty treat.
Although I skipped the margaritas, the food was great in Mexico. We got the Chilaquiles de Pollo (corn ships layered with seasoned chicken, queso fresco, sour cream, and cilantro). If you’re a fan of the corn tortilla/chip flavor, definitely get this. It also has salsa verde on top which I really like. This is particularly filling, so save up some room for it. We skipped the shrimp tacos because we also ordered the dessert.
While it looks a little strange, the Pastel de Elote con Queso: Sweet Corn Cheesecake, from Mexico was so good. It’s definitely not like your typical cheesecake, but it’s very rich, heavy, and has a uniquely delicious flavor. I could only manage 2 bites as I was getting really full, but I do recommend trying it to have something different.
Patagonia was next. I’ll admit, I had no clue were Patagonia was, but I assumed it was somewhere near South America. I was thankful for the info boards at each place that gave me more info (FYI – it’s a region in southern South America – 1 point for me). Here they had Beef Empanadas (we didn’t get because I figured if you’ve had one Food & Wine empanada, you’ve had them all) along with a Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula. They also have a Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato (like a white sweet potato) Purée. I seriously, seriously loved this. I thought it had great flavor and wasn’t too heavy. It also helps that Chimichurri is a favorite of mine.
The Farm Fresh Showcase Plaza had a Loaded Mac n Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onions that my husband had to have. I personally didn’t care for it much (wasn’t really creamy to me, felt a little flat on the cheese flavor and like it had all of these toppings to compensate), but Mike loved it. They also had a Griddled “Yard Bird” with Braised Greens and House-made Habanero Sauce that I wanted to try, but felt like I might burst so I skipped. This was the only place I had alcohol at as well. They had a pumpkin cider which was SO SO SO good. I plan to get the cider flight next time which includes pumpin, pear, raspberry, and elderberry cider.
We were both too full to eat anymore food, but Hawaii had a Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayo (which we had last year and was really good) and a Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Nori Strings.
The Dominican Republic had it’s own area complete with lots of seating and a photo opp spot. They had a Roasted Pork with Mangú, Picked Onions and Avocado, Soufflé de Yuca, Seared Grouper with Pigeon Peas and Rice with Coconut Sauce, and a Caramel Flan with Rum-roasted pineapple. We didn’t get food from here either (see above: stomach bursting), but I hope to get the Yuca Soufflé and the flan when we come back.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Epcot Interational Food and Wine Festival – The Americas. We had some amazing food and I’m looking forward to our next trip back.
What food would you love to eat at the Food and Wine Festival? Have you been to this event before or plan to go this year?