Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Look Back: 2013 Food & Wine Food Booth Review with Photos

Originally Posted October 16, 2013

Hello all Disney food lovers!  I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get enough of all the media attention for the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival (presented by Chase) food booth offerings, so I thought that I would add my personal review to the mix.

This is my third year attending the festival.  My husband and I along with our friend Rob went to F&W on Saturday (for a snack) and Sunday, October 5-6.  I don’t recommend attending the festival on the weekends.  It can get rather chaotic.  Fortunately, the Sunday that we were there was manageable most of the day.

Sunday evening at Epcot's F & W Festival
Sunday evening at F&W Festival

We made our way around to about half of the booths.  Some old favorites were still available this year and a lot of new treats too.  I have noticed that the booth offerings can vary greatly from day to day.  This is probably due to chefs rushing with crowd levels, how long items may sit under heat lamps, and simply who is preparing the item.  Some items that I have seen on other reviews looked very different when I got them, for better or for worse.

Tips: Make sure to pick up one of the festival passport books.  It’s fun to get them stamped at each booth and they are a great guide because they include all of the items available at each booth and have the booths listed in order of how they are placed around the World Showcase.  Some other handy items that you may enjoy while snacking around the world are the wristband gift card and a food tray.  The giftcard allows you to load the card and use it at each booth without getting in and out of your wallet each time.  I also noticed a lot of people using the small tray with the festival logo.  The tray has a place for a drink and a nice surface to hold a few items at a time.

I plan to attend the festival a few more days this month, but these are the items that we were able to taste thus far (listed in order of their placement around the World Showcase as listed in the passport books).


AUSTRALIA:

Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies.  $6.00
Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies 6.00
This is always a win.  This year had more mint than last year, but it worked well. Tender, juicy, delicious.  It is consistently one of our favorite items of the festival.  I strongly recommend it.


Pavlova (crispy meringue shell with fresh Driscoll’s berries and vanilla custard).  $3.25
Pavlova (crispy meringue shell with fresh Driscoll's berries and vanilla custard) 3.25
The berries were plump and delicious.  The meringue was crispy despite the Florida heat and humidity.  This is best for those who have a sweet tooth. The meringue is very sweet.  I thought that it was a great treat.

SINGAPORE:

Lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice. $4.25
Lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice 4.25
We did not care for this at all.  The chicken was cooked well and the flavor was ok, but the rice was overcooked and the dish was watery.  I also had a texture issue with it.  It was as if it was covered in fine little threads or hairs.  I assume this was from the lemongrass, but it was not pleasant at all.  I had the little shreds in my mouth for hours.  I do not recommend this item.

CHEESE:

Almond crusted blue cheese soufflé with fig jam. $3.25
Almond crusted blue cheese souffle with fig jam 3.25 & Artisan cheese selection 4.75
Souffle: Good flavor, nice crunch with the almonds and the fig jam was lovely.  It was a very eggy soufflé texture.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was chilled.  Served hot it reminded me of a blue cheese omelet.

Artisan cheese selection: Beecher’s flagship reserve served with honey, La Bonne Vie triple crème brie served with apricot jam, Wyngard goats gouda with Craisin Bread. $4.75

I loved all of the cheeses.  The Beecher’s was a parmesan style. The Wyngard also had a strong flavor and firm texture.  The Craisin bread was a hard crunchy texture and also worked nicely with the apricot jam.  I recommend this item.


Once Upon a Vine’s The Fairest Chardonnay. $2.50
Once Upon a Vine's The Fairest Chardonnay 2.50
I’m not typically a fan of chardonnay, but it paired very well with all of the foods offered at the booth.  It was very easy to drink on a hot day.  However, the pour was extremely small, barely half of the small tasting glass.  I recommend this especially if you are also ordering the cheese trio.

POLAND:

Zapiekanki (toasted mushroom, caramelized onion and cheese bread with house-made ketchup). $3.00
Zapiekanki (toasted mushroom, caramelized onion and cheese bread with house-made ketchup 3.00
We had this at the last festival and enjoyed it.  This year was different.  The bread was too thick, so the entire thing was dry in texture.  The ketchup was far too spicy and I ended up tearing off pieces of the extra bread just to cool my mouth.  I would not recommend this item.

ITALY:

Salsiccia e papacelli napoletani (sweet Italian sausage with peppers and onions on ciabatta bread). $5.75
Salciccia e papacelli napoletani (sweet sausage with peppers and onions on ciabatta bread) 5.75
As an Italian girl originally from the Pittsburgh area, I know Italian sausage.  This was good stuff.  Traditional sweet sausage flavor and juicy.  The peppers and onions were cooked down to melt in your mouth.  I recommend this item.


Cannoli al cioccolata (chocolate covered cannolli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit). $3.75
Cannoli al cioccolata (chocolate covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate, and candied fruit 3.75
This was disappointing.  It was very small and the filling was highly lacking in chocolate bits and fruit.  I thought the chocolate coating would help this year, but it still left me disappointed again.

HOPS & BARLEY:

New England clam chowder with a side of Tabasco. $3.00
New England clam chowder with a side of Tabasco 3.00
The chowder was tasty but did not have many clam pieces (I think I found two).  I liked the mini Tabasco bottle.  A splash of it did enhance the favor a lot.  I made the mistake of dumping it all in about half way down and that was definitely too much.  A few oyster crackers would be a nice addition to the soup.  I will probably go back to the lobster roll the next time.


Craisin bread pudding with grand marnier anglaise. $3.25
Craisin bread pudding with grand marnier anglaise 3.25

It was good and moist, but not much different than any other good bread pudding.  If you’d like a classic dessert, this is a good choice.

JAPAN:

Youki Tofu (topped with miso sauce, edamame and served with grilled vegetables). $4.50
Youki Tofu topped with miso sauce, edamame and grilled vegetables 4.50
The tofu was ok but the vegetables just tasted steamed, not grilled.  They were unseasoned and had no flavor at all. The portion was extremely small for the cost.  We added a packet of soy sauce.  That helped some.  I would not recommend this.

MOROCCO:

Harissa chicken roll. $4.95
Harissa chicken roll 4.95
The outer shell is a nice crispy fried texture, like a Moroccan eggroll.  The filling is spicy but the flavor was not appealing.  It reminded me of a frozen eggroll from the grocery store.  I’ve eaten regularly at both restaurants in Morocco and the food has been amazing.  I would enjoy a filling that represents those flavors more.


Baklava $2.95
Baklava 2.95
I enjoyed this item.  Last year the baklava was small and dried.  This year it was large and well soaked in syrup.  It did not have a huge amount of nuts, but I prefer the baklava that is more about the flaky layers and syrup than a heavy dry nut mixture.  The mystery here was figuring out why the bottom of the paper plate was soaking wet.  The syrup did not soak through.  It was just water as if condensation formed on the plate bottom while in the cooler.  I’m not sure how the items were stored, but it did not harm the quality of the baklava. It was delicious.

NEW ZEALAND:

Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs $3.50
Steamed green lip mussles with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs 3.50
This was the worst item that I had at the festival.  I saw some other reviews of this item, and it looked nothing like what I received.  The mussels were tough, over-cooked, and had no flavor.  The garlic butter was sour like vinaigrette.  The breadcrumb topping was non-existent.  What little was put on, fell off in the haphazard presentation of them all tossed in the dish sideways.  This was the biggest disappointment in three years of going to the festival.  I do not recommend this item.


Venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula and black currant reduction $4.25
Venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula, and black currant reduction 4.25
I only tasted the mushrooms and arugula on this dish. They were good.  The guys liked the sausage but preferred the more traditional flavors of the one in Italy.  But, this is definitely worth a taste if you are a fan of venison.

BELGIUM:

Belgian waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream $3.25
Belgian waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream 3.25
It’s a waffle.  I got it because it was early (for me) and it seemed like a decent breakfast option.  The waffle was a standard mini waffle. The chocolate sauce was not what I would call ganache. It was just warm chocolate milk and runny.  I would have rather had a mini Mickey waffle.  I keep hoping that the festival waffles will be REAL Belgian “liege” waffles that are pressed firm dough with little balls of sugar in them that caramelize when toasted.  Disney, if you are listening, PLEASE change the waffle style.  This version is an overpriced counter-service breakfast item.  I do not recommend it.


Potato and leek waffle with braised beef $4.00
Potato and leek waffle with braised beef 4.00
My friend described this as “Dinty Moore poured on a waffle.”  It was extremely salty and did taste like canned stew and made the waffle soggy.  The Belgium booth was a real disappointment this year.

FRANCE:

Boeuf Bourguignon (braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes) $5.50
Boeuf Bourguignon (braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes) 5.50
This was a huge portion.  The guys said that the beef was tender and tasted very good.  I only tasted the mashed potatoes and gravy and unfortunately, the potatoes tasted like instant mashed potatoes and the gravy tasted like a canned broth base.  I miss the coq au vin from last year.  This item is worth trying for the beef part of the dish.


Crème brulee au chocolat au lait (chocolate milk crème brulee) $4.00
Creme brulee au chocolat au lait (chocolate milk creme brulee) 4.00
This is described well.  It tasted just like chocolate milk.  It had a nice caramelized layer of sugar as well.  I enjoyed it, but I would have liked it to be more chilled.  It was a bit watery.  I think the hot Florida weather was to blame for the temperature issue in this case.  The flavor was good, but for the price, I would probably choose a dessert from inside the pastry shop instead.

IRELAND:

Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie $6.25
Lobster and seafood fisherman's pie 6.25

I enjoy this each year.  It was delicious.  Fluffy toasted mashed potato topping and a well-seasoned stew underneath with a nice chunk of lobster.  Mild enough even for those who are not a big fan of seafood.  I recommend this item.


Kerrygold cheese selection: reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish stout and skellig $3.75
Kerrygold cheese selection: reserve cheddar, dubliner with Irish stout, and skellig 3.75
Delicious as always.  Two of the cheeses are very similar and the other packs a bit of a bite.  Also included is a nice piece of (I believe it was light rye this year) bread, a wrapped pat of delicious kerrygold butter, and some chutney.  It is a very filling plate with a lot of flavor. I recommend this item.


Warm chocolate pudding with bailey’s custard $3.50
Warm chocolate pudding with Bailey's custard 3.50
This was my surprise for the festival.  I never tried this item in previous years.  It just looked like a tiny chocolate cake, nothing special.  I was wrong!  This was DELICIOUS!  Even with an already full belly, we enjoyed this.  The cake was warm, rich and moist.  The sauce was a well-matched creamy bailey’s flavor addition.  I definitely recommend this item.

CANADA:

Seared rainbow trout with bacon, frisee and maple minus 8 vinaigrette $4.50
Seared rainbow trout with bacon, frisee and maple minus 8 vinaigrette 4.50
This was a good dish.  The fish had a mild flavor but not overwhelmed by the vinaigrette.  The bacon was a salty addition but was a bit overcooked and tough.  The fish is still good and worth a try.


Le Cellier wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce $7.00
Le Cellier wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce 7.00
I did not have this dish, but the guys enjoyed it.  However, they did say it was more tender at last year’s festival.

REFRESHMENT PORT:
Dole Pineapple Fritters $1.99
These were eaten too fast for me to get a picture.  They were two full pineapple rings, battered and deep fried like donuts.  I only had one bite.  It was very good, but too greasy for my taste (but no more greasy than your typical donut).  This is also one of the best values at the festival.

DESSERTS & CHAMPAGNE:

Dessert trio $4.00
Dessert trio 4.00
The desserts this year were the best of the last three years of the festival.  I highly recommend trying the trio.  They are all tasty and the presentations are beautiful.

Chocolate orange cupcake.
This was a typical cupcake with typical frosting.  The hint of orange was a nice touch.  Good and probably a favorite for kids.

Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake.
This was a rich nutty delight.  I really enjoyed it.  It packed a lot of flavor and would make a fantastic truffle filling. (Hint hint Disney!)

Morello cherry pistachio mousse.
Wow was this fantastic!  This is possibly the best flavored pistachio mousse that I’ve ever tasted.  The cherries were the perfect accompaniment.  I adore chocolate and hazelnut but this was my favorite dessert of the trio.  This is also a great value based on just on all the time to create such beautifully presented desserts.  I recommend the trio.


Frozen S'mores $3.00
Frozen S'mores 3.00

This is a refreshing treat on a hot day.  Frozen chocolate milk with the traditional flavors of s’mores.  The graham crackers were the best part of this icy concoction.  Spoiler alert: the marshmallows get hard and chewy sitting in the frozen drink.  They added an interesting texture.  This is a very sweet drink.  I advise sharing.

SCOTLAND: NEW!

Seared Scottish salmon with cauliflower puree, watercress and malt vinaigrette $4.50
Seared Scottish salmon with cauliflower puree, watercress, and malt vinaigrette 4.50
This was a nice thick piece of well-cooked salmon.  The cauliflower puree rounded out the dish well.  The watercress on our serving was a bit brown and withered, but this was still a nice serving of very good salmon.  It was also a good value for the large piece of salmon that was served.


Vegetarian haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes $3.25
Vegetarian haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes 3.25
The rutabaga and potatoes were the stars of this dish.  They were sweet and well-seasoned.  The haggis was hearty and flavorful.  Together this was a very filling and satisfying dish.  It is also a great value.  The portion size is definitely enough to share.  I recommend this dish.


Scottish banoffee tart with bananas, scotch whisky toffee, walkers shortbread crumbles and sweet cream $3.25
Scottish banoffee tart with bananas, scotch whisky, toffee, walkers shortbread crumbles and sweet cream 3.25
I was expecting this to be the texture of a bar cookie or at least a bit more solid texture.  When I cut into it, it oozed all over. (I’m glad that I didn’t pick it up and bite into it.  I would have been wearing it.)  My husband thought it was ok for flavor but not memorable.  Our friend, Rob, thought it was delicious.  I did not like it at all.  I think this item comes down to whether or not you like scotch in your desserts.  I am not a fan of scotch.  The runny texture just put the nail in the coffin.  I do not recommend this item.



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Accessibility: All of the festival food booths are accessible.  They line the walkway around World Showcase.  There are ropes to mark the waiting areas that might be difficult to maneuver on a few booths, but they are adjustable.  Also, carrying several loose items away from a booth could be difficult while in a wheelchair or ECV.  The napkins and utensils are in dispensers at the exits of the line after you get your food items.  If you need assistance carrying everything, cast members should be able to help you, especially if the crowds are low on a weekday.

2 comments:

  1. Oh My Goodness!!! What an Awesome article!! Super Job!! I am so excited about the Wine and wine festival

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wine and wine is one way to enjoy it!!

    ReplyDelete