Thursday, October 21, 2010

Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival 2010

As I'd previously mentioned on another blog post, this was my first year going to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.   I was super excited to experience this event as I've heard so much about it from lots of places in previous years.

After finally getting to experience it, I have to say, I see why so many people look forward to this time of year at WDW!  The Food and Wine Festival was so great!  Pair it up with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the MK and you've definitely got a time of year that rivals Christmas as one of my favorites!  (Actually, I can't believe I'm about to say may edge it out...although, Christmas is pretty awesome down there...ack!  I don't know which one wins!)

So, the great thing about being down there for the event's opening weekend was that this year we got to go around to the food booths a day early, as they were open for Cast Member previews...but they would sell to anyone still.

Because of that, I got to participate in Food and Wine twice during the busy, busy BOGP Weekend.    (The second time was at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon...which if you read my previous week's post, I discuss in full detail.) Of course, on both trips around the promenade, I didn't try every single booth (to do that, I would have spent a fortune!)  The first time, we started at the Ireland booth (in the UK area of World Showcase) and went around counter clockwise.

Of course, that would mean the first booth I would try was one I was especially excited to eat at and that was the Ireland booth.  I had heard such great things about the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie.   And trust did not disappoint! It was quite hearty and delicious.  There were decent hunks of scallops and lobster in there too.  Well worth the money at $5.50.  I almost want to make a version here at home...that's how yummy this was!

Next, I tried the France booth.  I thought originally when planning that I would try the braised short ribs in Cabernet with mashed potatoes (which did look good), but something else caught my eye.  Something that is a weakness...whenever I see Creme Brulee...I must eat it.  It is my dessert of choice, overtaking chocolate desserts.  But this creme brulee was not just any ordinary creme brulee.  It was a milk chocolate creme brulee.  Woot!  My two favorite things mixed!!!!

This wasn't a very heavily chocolatey flavored was really just a hint of chocolate, but it was still yummy.  So yummy, I saved my Wine and Dine coupon for it specifically.  (Even though I had to wait in a HORRENDOUSLY long line to get it that night.)

The cost on the creme brulee is $3.75...which, in my book was really fairly priced.  

My next stop was at Australia.  I saw something called Lamington which was labeled as a chocolate covered butter cake and thought, that sounds good.  It wasn't on my radar before, but it just hit me as something I wanted to try. So, needless to say, I was surprised to see it handed to me with coconut on top.  It's a good thing I don't mind coconut.  But it was still a surprise.  (Especially if you don't like coconut at all.)

While I liked this dessert, it wasn't one of my favorites.  I thought the butter cake was really kind of dryish.  To me the best part of the whole thing ended up being the chocolate and coconut coating, which after eating about half of the cake, I ended up just scraping off the top of the remaining half and eating by itself.

The cost of this is $3.00 and while I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I'd get it again.

So that was the end of the first day for me.  On the second day, I only tried a few booths as well.  We started once again in the UK, but this time we went the other direction to hit up that half of the booths first.  Of course, I didn't take many pictures of these items because I just wasn't thinking about it.

The first booth I stopped at was the Desserts and Champagne.  Here I has seen something I was dying to try.  Something that was for sure on my radar as it sounded delicious.  Here, I wanted to try the Dark Chocolate Sensation.  I mean, it sounded right up my alley right?  Too bad it didn't live up to what I thought it would.  It was moderately chocolaty and didn't have a very rich taste to it at all, which is something I expect with dark chocolate.  Also, it was tiny, which is something I guess I should have figured with the cost only being $1.50, but still.  It was like 2 bites, if that.  I definitely don't suggest this one to anyone.  Totally not worth it, to me, in either flavor or size.

However, that wasn't the first item I'd tried that night.  Pam's daughter Hanna had gotten the Spanakopita from the Greece pavilion, which is a spinach and cheese pastry.  She offered me a bite and I thought this was pretty good.  I'm not really a spinach eater, though I will eat spinach artichoke dip, so while I did notice a little bit of a spinachy taste to it, it's wasn't so bad.  I could definitely try it again and probably would since it only cost $4.00.  (Although, next time, I'm going to have to get the baklava too!  Love baklava!)

The next booth I decided to try was one that I thought, I'm gonna be bold and try something a little outside my comfort zone.  Argentina had a cheese and corn empenada that sounded like it could be good.  (Yep...this is outside my comfort zone for me...I'm so!)  I like cheese and corn...I thought, what the heck!  I would regret those words.  This was terrible!  I was wondering where the heck the cheese was!  I thought for sure there would be a nice filling of cheese, but instead it was mostly filled with a corn mixture (mixed with some stuff, I have no idea what it was).  This was the driest thing I have ever eaten.  Seriously, it needed WAY more cheese to make it better.  The corn mixture did have a distinctly Latin flavor to it though (I know you're thinking huh? Latin flavor?  It just tasted like something I'd get in a Latin restaurant.) Even if this were free, I wouldn't eat it again, unless the changed the amount of cheese inside.  (It really cost $2.75).

The last place I got the opportunity to dine was the South Africa booth.  This was something that was on my radar and I was anxious to try.  The Seared Beef Tenderloin in a Mango Barbecue Sauce and Sweet Potato Puree.  The Tenderloin was quite delicious.  Very juicy and the barbecue sauce was very flavorful and had a bit of a kick to it.  (To me, though I have a really sensitive palate.)  The Sweet Potato Puree though was only ok.  It didn't seem like there was anything mixed in it...just straight up sweet potatoes.  I didn't hate them...just thought they weren't very flavorful, especially after eating the extremely flavor filled tenderloin.  Cost of this dish was $4.75.

There was one glaring issue that I noticed while I was walking the promenade and that was a distinct lack of tables.  I don't know if it has changed since that first weekend, but many times we were stuck standing there holding our plates and all the other items we had, trying to eat.  There were very few tables around, many being tall pub table type set ups, but they were few and far between.  Often times, we were forced to sit on the ground to get a spot to eat.  I saw many people stopping and eating on the tops of trash cans too, just because there were so few tables around.

I would really suggest adding a lot more tables around the whole promenade because it really was annoying trying to juggle multiple things.  Especially when trying to eat something like the tenderloin, which needed to be cut. 

With that being said, I definitely walked away excited for Food and Wine and excited to come back next year.  It really is one of those events where I can see the appeal of it now and definitely get the repeatability factor that's associated with it.

As I'm sure everyone can attest to, there were definitely some things that I didn't get to try either that I'm wishing I had.  One thing is for sure though, I will be back next year, as long as I can make the finances work for me!

1 comment:

Dawn B said...

Great post Rikki. As far as the tables go, I don't recall there ever being a lot of them. I don't think they want you to be stopping for too long, gotta move on to the next food booth :)