One of the biggest draws for people to visit Epcot has definitely become their rotating food festivals throughout the year. The most popular and largest is the International Food and Wine Festival. The first festival took place in 1995, and it has grown in just about every way possible. This year’s began on August 29th and will run until November 23rd giving guests an opportunity to try some flavors from many cultures that most of us probably don’t have the ability to sample closer to home. We made our way into the World Showcase to eat around the world, and didn’t make as many stops as I’d thought we would, but we’ll get to that.
Smoked Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes, Cheese Curds, Pickled Onions, and Beer-Cheese Fondue – $5.25
First we stopped at the “Flavors From Fire” booth, presented by College GameDay. This booth features grilled items, as you might expect from the name. We ended up trying the Smoked Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes, Cheese Curds, Pickled Onions, and Beer-Cheese Fondue. This was a great beginning to the Festival. The chips were fresh and held up surprisingly well to the toppings. Also the pickled onions play nicely with the smokey flavor from the corned beef, and you can’t go wrong with beer-cheese fondue and cheese curds. Highly recommended.
Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-Lemongrass Cream – $5.50
The picture doesn’t really do this justice. The crab cake was full of crab meat, and not too much filler. The avocado-lemongrass cream delivers a refreshing flavor which is nice on a hot day, and the cabbage slaw adds a nice crunch for a little bit of texture to the dish. If you like crab cakes, you won’t be mad about picking this one up.
Seared Scallops with Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms – $6.25
If you like seafood, then you can’t go wrong with getting the scallop dishes at the Food and Wine Festival. They were perfectly seared, and served up hot and fresh. The celery root puree reminded me of mashed potatoes, which I didn’t really expect. The mushrooms are hearty, and work well pairing with the scallops. I was a little disappointed there weren’t more Brussels Sprouts in that there weren’t very many, but it is a sample not an entree, so I’m not going to complain too much.
Beef Brisket Poutine: French Fries, Beer-Cheese Sauce, and Poutine Gravy topped with Crispy Onions – $8.99
This is good in all the wrong ways. This is also where our food journey ended. This is one of the largest items you can find at the Festival, and if you’re looking for the amount of food for your money, you can’t do better than this. On the bad side, if you’re planning on eating around the world and sampling multiple dishes, this ain’t for you. My wife and I split this dish, and between the two of us couldn’t finish it. A big part of the problem is it was 97 degrees outside in Florida. There is definitely a reason that poutine is famous in Canada. It is filling comfort food that will warm your insides, but in the heat of the Florida summer, it doesn’t sit as well as it would on a chilly day. That being said, it hit all the right flavors that guilty pleasure ballpark food can. The crispy onions and fries work well to add a little bit of crunch, and the brisket was tender but the quality of meat you’ll find out at your favorite BBQ restaurant. The beer-cheese sauce does a great job of masking any shortcomings from the brisket. Like I said earlier, if you get this, and you’re wanting to make more stops on the trip around the world, make sure you’ve got plenty of friends to help get through this monster.
That’s unfortunately the end of our International Food and Wine Festival portion of the trip, but if you’ve never been, it’s one of the best times to head to Epcot. Next we’ll head to Restaurant Marrakesh for dinner!
See ya real soon!