Friday, September 8, 2017

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World

It's not often that we end up at Epcot's Food & Wine festival early in the event's fall run. Disney decided to start the event a few weeks early this year which coincided with our Labor Day Weekend trip.

This is a quick rundown of what we tried along with pictures when we remembered to take them. For prices and better info than we will give you about the festival visit

We used the event's Passport to list the items we tried. Green checks are good, red x's were bad, and mehs were just ok or only one of us liked them. The order of listings is based on the Passport order, not the order we sampled them. We included all the pages, even from booths we did not visit, to give you the full rundown.

You can click on the photos to make them bigger.

40 booths offered festival items this year. Some item were also available at the Festival Center in Future World. We enjoyed third-row seats or better for two sets of The Hooters and one set of The Baha Men. Great performances by both groups. These headline acts are included with Epcot admission.

The Odyssey, that building by the Mexico Pavilion, is home to the Craft Beer booth and this year featured a salute to Epcot's 35th anniversary. Things were not running well on our visit here. Holly got the Handwich served right away and went to find a table. Scotch eggs were not ready yet. Dave finally got them ten minutes later and they were not worth the wait. As for the Handwich - think kicked-up Hamburger Helper in a bread cone. Both beers were great and Passport 35 became our favorite this year (also available in Festival Center).

The Piggy Wings were good, but not outstanding. The sweet pancake was AWESOME! The porter was good, but not a standout - low on the smoky flavor profile.

The Light Lab was inside a Communicore Building (the one near The Land). Inside the room had some black lights, neons, and glow signs to help give an aura of some cool stuff going on. It was actually pretty lame and the process took forever to assemble the drinks. The featured beers were only available at the bar outside. The T-C2 was nothing but sugar water. The Bleu Spectrum was champagne with the little boba balls. They did not skimp on the balls. Radiant Flux beer wasn't that great. We enjoyed our Gogi wine sample but we were surprised it was chilled.

The loaded mac is getting a lot of buzz but we just found it to be ok. Nothing great. We enjoyed the crab cake (without the cream) because it was mostly meat vs. breading. The scampi did was tasty, but the bread wasn't enough for the amount of dip (a theme of this festival).

The liquid nitro desert was good, but very rich. Would have been great with coffee except for the fact it was 100 degrees outside. The Beef Stroganoff was perfect! The tiny egg noodle base really added nice texture. The tart was kind of dry, but it was one of the larger food items offered.

Another dish that won us over was the seared scallops at the Wine and Dine Studio. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the truffle purée went well with the meat and mushrooms.

It's warm cheese and guava in a pastry!

New Zealand's mussels were pretty plain. The order held three breaded mussels and were not very flavorful. Australia's shrimp were very good. Our order contained five shrimp. The sauce was on the sweet side.

Almond Orchard's risotto was very good. Surprising it was made with cauliflower. The sundae would have been better if the berries were fresh dry berries and not some kind of syrupy goop. Patagonia's empanadas was very tasty, but the beef skewer was not so good due to the oil content of the chimichurri sauce.

We had champagne a few time from Almond's because we purchased the Passport Sampler. For $65 you received 8 coupons for items (about $8.60 per item). We used them on items over $10. The champagnes here (other than Dom - not eligible) were $13-$16. Our Gogi sample was $15.

Spam hash from Hawaii was a big winner for us. We got it without the mayo which may have brought out a bit more sweetness than intended (Dave hates mayo). The Bikini Blonde beer was very tasty - had a citrus flavor. Farm Fresh's chicken was good, just a little salty. The cornbread that came with it was a great accompaniment.

Not much more to say here. It was good, but small for an over $6 item.

Avoid this one. Shrimp/scallop cake was mushy and the noodles were cold and had a strange spice. Green onions was the most used garnish at the booths this year.

Dave liked this one, Holly did not. Yes it's just naan bread but the dipping sauces were not her favorite.

The beef in Africa has transformed from its original debut. It's more of a stew now vs. a whole filet medalion... still tasty.

The beers at Brewer's Collection were limited this year with only three offerings. We were excited to try the pomegranate hefe. Unfortunately it tasted like a mix of wine cooler and cough syrup.

A favorite each year. It was particularly tasty this year. Ours was hot and everything melted together perfectly.

Spain's winner for us was the olive oil cake. We had a nice big slice of moist golden cake. The paella was nothing special.

We didn't take pictures of the beer since we all know what beer looks like. We had JDub's Porter last year at the Food and Wine Classic and loved it. We may have bought a few of these (full 12oz size) during the fest.

A note on beer. It seems during the fest beer sizes at typical beer stops get downsized to 12oz (with price decrease). No large beers from China counter service, Outpost, or Germany. Japan Frozen Kirin and beers from Rose and Crown in England were still their usual sizes.

The lobster roll was back this year without all the mayo. Holly enjoyed it, but she did not like the brisket. Dave on the other hand liked the brisket but wasn't a fan of the way the lobster looked. The Cold Brew Coffee Porter was good, but when having it alongside a JDub's it was quickly forgotten.

Both of these Japan items were winners. The dumplings had a lot of flavor with a small kick of wasabi. The pork was tender and well-flavored by the sauce.

The Little Hidden One was a lot lacking in flavor. It was like having a TV dinner lasagna. The M.I.A. Barbossa Black was low on flavor and texture.

The escargot is an every year favorite of ours. This year the little slugs were inside buttery pastry. As for the drinks, how can you go wrong with slushies and bubbles?

The cheese and stout dip from Ireland was right up our alley. The beer helped mellow out the sharpness of the cheddar. The two slices of bread were not enough to soak up all the dip. The filet from Canada is usually hit-or-miss for us (sometimes we get bad or overcooked cuts). This year it was perfect! Moosehead's Radler was a refreshing offering.

On the right is our tasting sampler coupon set.

In other Food & Wine news: They forgot to (or decided not to) decorate the little train village for the festival. Every year there are little banners around town and food booths. This year: nothing...


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