Tuesday, October 18, 2011

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival: Part I

This Tuesday and Thursday, I'll feature some of my adventures from the 2011 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival in Orlando, FL.  For more information on this event, please visit: DisneyWorld.Disney.Go.Com.

This was my first experienced EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  To be honest, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to go, as the event falls over harvest season (September 30th to November 13th).  However, it is one of the most beautiful times to visit Florida if you get a chance!

"Johnny Depp" and I gearing up for a fun day around EPCOT
[Make sure you bring your own water!]
(Photo by author's grandfather)

Wine and Food Everywhere
(Photo by author)

How it works: The festival is set up throughout the circle that is EPCOT - with food and wine stands outside each individual country and a few scattered near the entrance.  Each stand has a menu with prices associated with each item. Unless otherwise noted, the quantities are small portions - enough for a taste!

The menu at South Africa
(Photo by author)

The menu at Germany
(Photo by author)

Cost: This is one of those events that you'd probably have to budget for.  Parking at EPCOT is $14 per vehicle.  The daily entry fee into the park is $85 per person.  And then as you add up your cost of each individual item you want to try (assume between $3 to $12 per item), the cost can surely add up.  However, it is a fun day, especially if you have a crazy family that enjoy walking around EPCOT:

The crazy family at the Mexico Margarita Hut
From back left to bottom right: my aunt (who would liked to be named Amy), her husband (my uncle, Terry), my grandfather, my grandmother, and Johnny Depp
(Photo by author)

The Countries:
For some reason, we skipped the entrance countries (Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and the Caribbean) and went straight to Mexico.  I believe our reason was because we had been meandering throughout EPCOT for over an hour and hadn't tried a single piece of food.... ok and we all personally enjoy the frozen margaritas at Mexico.  We thought they would be refreshing in the noon Floridian sun!

Mexico: Here we tried The Grilled Ribeye Taco (with chipotle pepper sauce and scallions).  This is the only food item I neglected to get an image of... probably because we were all sipping on our margaritas... which were not actually featured at the Mexico stand.  The drinks of choice were: Dos Equis Beer, Strawberry Lime Margarita on the Rocks (a 2 oz portion), L.A. Cetto Chardonnay or Petite Sirah.  However, I think the margarita went better with the spicy ribeye taco, which was a small 6" soft-shell taco.

We skipped Scandinavia (I tried to talk everyone into Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries...)  I mean, come on!  How often do you get to try lingonberries?!

China: Here we tasted Pork Pot Stickers in some sort of spiced soy sauce, I think.  These were "eh, ok" and we much rather would've paid the extra $1 for the Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles after seeing what it looked like.  [I should note, this is when we started evaluating the "taste" prior to purchase.  I told you - we are crazy.]  
China Pork Pot Stickers
(Photo by author)

Again, we skipped South Korea (no one was into kimchi apparently) and went straight to...

South Africa: Where we purchased Bunny Chow (a vegetable curry served in a bread loaf) and La Capra Pinotage.  My grandfather ordered an additional taste of La Capra Shiraz... because he likes Shiraz, I think!  The Bunny Chow was delicious!  I loved the tangy, light curry in all those fresh-cut veggies.  The Pinotage was very oaky and hot (high ethanol), which surprised me.  It had a slight berry note, but was very spicy, especially paired with curry (should've tried a white here...).  [I should note that Pinotage is actually a hybrid variety that South Africa is making famous.]  The Shiraz, on the other hand, was a bit reductive, thin-bodied and berry flavored.
South Africa Bunny Chow and La Capra Pinotage
[Note the portion size of each!]
(Photo by author)

Cheese:  Which is not actually a country, but it is a stand at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!  I didn't partake in the cheesy experience, but I found two cheese-lovers who did:
Aunt Amy and Grandmom enjoying their cheese
(Photo by author)

Actually, I found these platters to be some of the best deals of the day.  I think both of them were about $4 each and the portion size was quite nice.  Both women enjoyed their Artisan Cheese Selection tray (with Le Delice de Bourgogn Lincet, Thomasville Tomme Sweet Grass Dairy, and Chevre Affine Wyngaard Kaas) and the Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread.

The tasty Artisan Cheese Selection with honey, crackers, dried cranberries, and fig, I think
(Photo by author)

Cheese fondue with Sourdough Bread
(Photo by author)

No one did any beer throughout the day, so we also skipped the Brewer's Collection (way too hot for beer, I think).  But we did stop at...

Germany: For a glass of the Selbach-Oster Estate Spatlese - a semi-sweet, light white wine that tasted of apples, honey, and flowers.  My Aunt Amy quoted, "I would go back for more!"  While in Germany, we also visited the caramel desert store.  My aunt bought an Apple Pie Caramel Apple and got me a side dessert of Chocolate-Caramel Covered Strawberries!  We met two nice German boys who I thought I could feature on the blog today - they actually made our desserts for us:
Guys from Germany that made our yummy desserts - thank you guys!  I hope you get a chance to read this!
(Photo by author)

The yummiest chocolate-caramel covered strawberries ever...
(Photo by author)

The apple pie caramel apple... already cut up and ready to eat
(Photo by author)

Strawberries... devoured...  These were surely a taste sensation!
(Photo by author)

Some extra German decor.  This is a painted Ostrich Egg - $1,200.  :)

That brings us halfway around EPCOT's world!  Stay tuned on Thursday for more adventures and taste profiles at the 2011 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival...

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