It’s the 20th Anniversary of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival and I went this weekend to give you an update on all the details. (Okay fine, I went for myself too because who doesn’t love food? …well, and wine.) I was excited that this year had a completely different look. The festival has an art deco theme and new taste bud characters that you will find throughout the decor. We even got some taste bud stickers!
There are some great free things to do at the Festival Center.
Back to Basics has four classes a day with a different theme running each week. This week was Joffrey’s coffee. The lesson runs around 30 minutes. We were given a piece of paper to write notes on, a bag of coffee, and a coupon for a free coffee. All this was FREE! I really enjoyed it and found out some great info about coffee that I didn’t know. I was by myself so I showed up 10 minutes before it started and there were only three single seats left. You may want to get there early so your group can sit together.
At the Chocolate Experience, you are handed a free sample and a coupon as you walk in. Yay, free chocolate!!
The chocolate sculptures are back and I was really excited to see an UP house (I love that movie)! Lots of cool themes this year.
This is also the area where you can buy drinking chocolate, which I talked about in the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Tips post.
The Making of Food & Wine Festival. Okay, so I know when you walk by this it just looks like a boring movie but please stop and watch it. Watch it before you go anywhere else. The video has so many interesting things. Did you know they bring the kiosks in one piece by a crane? You will notice so many more details after watching this first. It will also get you excited for some of the great menu items.
There is a lot of festival merchandise and the gift cards available at the Festival Center, but the lines to purchase have been so crazy I am going to suggest a different location. Head to the cranberry bog; across from it is a small Festival shop with the burgundy sign. They were the only ones that had Passholder t-shirts left on Friday. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, keep going towards the World Showcase. There are two large shops where you can find the rest of the merchandise.
This year they expanded the food into Future World. There are two new booths here The Sustainable Chew and the Chew Lab. These two booths had the shortest lines, which I like. The lines at lunch time Saturday were as long as they usually are on Saturday nights; it was crazy. The best part is that you can exit and go to your right; hidden there is an indoor area with air conditioning and tables.
The Frozen Chew-tini featuring Crop Organic Meyer Lemon Vodka is really great. It has carrot juice and a citrus flavor. Not very strong on alcohol but refreshing and delicious.
The Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce is good. They made the ravioli so large in the center that unfortunately it was cold. The flavor was enjoyable and the micros greens on top made it taste very fresh.
Continuing on the pathway to the World Showcase is the Cheese and Wine Studio. This new area is beautiful! There is ample room, seating and these beautiful sculptures made of wine bottles. The great part is that the wine kiosk has the Cheese Trio so you don’t necessarily have to wait in both lines.
The Dominican Republic is going to be very popular this year. It was closed Friday night when we tried to go because of lightning. When I went Saturday, the line was extremely long! Sunday I finally got the Yuca Souffle topped with griddled cheese. This dish was delicious! They call it souffle, but it just tasted like yuca mash to me. I had to work to get this dish but man the payoff was good!
Farm Fresh is another popular booth because they have the cider flight this year. Four types of cider and all four we both enjoyed.
My friend ordered the Loaded Mac and Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon. She really enjoyed but thought there were way too many scallions on it. I didn’t try it because I don’t eat bacon, but it looked like it was just a topping so you may be able to get this without it.
I had to get a wine since it is Food and Wine Festival. I ordered the Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz in Australia. This is a dry, bold flavored wine – a must try if you like Shiraz.
For the meat-eaters reading this, I talked to some people throughout the event that said they really enjoyed the items from Patagonia and the butter chicken from Africa. The Lamb Chop from Australia is always popular as well. One gentleman told me to stay away from the pork spareribs at the Sustainable Chew though.
Don’t forget to go to the Chase Lounge in the American Pavilion if you bank with Chase. They have free Coke Freestyle machines (yes, I said free soda) and some air-conditioned seating!
There is a lot more food I want to try so I will be back next weekend. Let me know what dish I should get on my next trip in the comments below.
Here are some more of the items we got this past weekend.
Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel – Yum! Had a texture similar to Ice Cream. Rich, chocolatey and delicious. I would definitely suggest it. Though most I have seen looked like a ball, ours did not! Lol
New York Strip with Parsnip Silk, Balsamic Glaze and Arugula Foam – I don’t eat meat so I didn’t try this, but apparently it is very good. Also, very small be prepared of the portion size after paying $6.25! He warned us it was small and then we were like Woah!
The Smoking Hibiscus featuring Montelobos Mezcal Joven – I really disliked this. It is a frozen drink and the presentation is beautiful! But it just tasted like smoke flavoring to me, yuck. The hibiscus on top was very tasty, it was very sweet and tasted like a dried cranberry covered with sugar. We were not sure if it was actually a flower, but I looked it up and they sell wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup. Interesting, I love trying new things!
Funky Buddha Vanilla Espresso Porter, Oakland Park, FL – We tried both beer flights at the Craft Beers location and this was my favorite! It honestly tasted like espresso, so good!
Trio of artisan cheese – This was presented very nicely and I really enjoyed the goat cheese and Craisin bread. We brought a friend with us that liked blue cheese so we could finally order this and not feel like we are wasting part.
- Karstcave-aged cheese served with honey – Both friends favorite
- La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin® bread – My favorite
- Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote – I don’t like Blue Cheese!