Review: Active Eats Epcot 2017 Food and Wine Festival

Active Eats Epcot Food Wine Festival

Active Eats is part of Future World’s “Culinary Corridor” behind Club Cool along with Earth Eats and Coastal Eats.

Menu Active Eats Epcot Food Wine Festival 2017

While the Marketplace was officially “introduced in 2017,” the Mac ‘n Cheese moves over from Farm Fresh and the Verlasso Salmon originally debuted at Patagonia. The physical kiosk was once Terra before changing to Greenhouse Guru last year and is now Active Eats. Any of those names would seemingly make the same amount of sense as I’m not real sure that “bacon macaroni and cheese” is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the word “active.” But based on the wine pricing, the name may insinuate you want to actively walk somewhere else for a drink.

Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions – $4.75

Epcot Food Wine Festival Macaroni Cheese Active Eats

Despite not being a new item, this is one that we pick up every year, here pictured with the Evolution by Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir.

Bacon Mac Cheese Epcot Active Eats

I thought this preparation was the best yet, after giving it a Taste ranking of 2/10 in 2015 and 3/10 in 2016. Bread crumbs weren’t the main ingredient and there was far more creamy cheese involved this year. There’s also a spicy kick from the peppers and onion up front and a salty, meaty component from the sprinkle of bacon. Ours was also served piping hot with well-prepared pasta in a decent-enough serving. For me, the Food and Wine Festival is more about trying new things and what amounts to a pretty basic macaroni and cheese recipe doesn’t cut it. But people do typically respond to this better than I do, even as I adjust my ratings higher. We both know you’re going to pick one up even if I give it a negative 9000. So it’s a “5” this year.

Taste: 5/10

Value: 5/10

Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri – $5.50

Verlasso Salmon Quinoa Epcot Food Wine Festival

This is a particularly bright, vibrant dish with a sizable piece of quality salmon laid on top of quinoa and then topped with a flavorful, creamy chimichurri that adds a nice fresh garlic and herb flavor. The quinoa underneath is mixed with some vegetables that perk up the flavor profile even more. With some other fishy options at Coastal Eats next door, I’m not sure this one demands a purchase, but it’s quite good and a more filling dish than the macaroni for not much more money.

Taste: 7/10

Value: 7/10

Sweet Avocado Crema with Strawberries, Yellow Cake and Tortilla Streusel – $3.75

Epcot Food Wine Festival Avocado Crema Active Eats

One benefit(?) of ordering one of everything at each Epcot festival is that even if something doesn’t initially sound like something I would enjoy, I still give it a shot. And this Sweet Avocado Crema is one that really impressed, despite a description that didn’t initially sound appealing. The avocado enjoyed a cool, smooth, earthy flavor that seemed to be brightened with a bit of lime juice and sugar as it surrounded the light yellow cake in the center of the cup. The little bit of sweet strawberry compote on the bottom added a natural fruitiness to the cake and combined surprisingly well with the avocado cream, while the sweet, crunchy streusel on top provided a crunchy textural contrast. For $3.75, I thought it was a really interesting proposition and one that should impress even if the idea of avocados, strawberries, cake, and tortilla may not be the four ingredients you pull out of the refrigerator to create a recipe around.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling – $6

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling

Store Price: 65 cents/ounce.

Festival Price: $3/ounce

Value: Poor.

I deemed to this to be “not a fantastic value” last year when it was 33% less expensive. Six dollars for two ounces is nuts. It’s otherwise a sweet white wine.

Evolution by Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley – $6

Evolution Pinot Noir Epcot Food Wine Festival

Store Price: 79 cents/ounce.

Festival Price: $3/ounce

Value: Below average.

This is a fruit-forward, light, easy drinking pinot noir that reminds me a lot of the Duboeuf Beaujolais that I drink 40 bottles of every week. The value proposition is slightly better than the sweet riesling, but just barely.

M.I.A. Beer Company HRD WTR Cucumber & Lemon Lime Hard Sparkling Water – $4

????

Unavailable both times I tried to order =[ Will return.

Overall, everybody orders one of those macaroni and cheeses and I’ll let it slide if you pick up the dessert as well. Wine is done better elsewhere.

Comments

  1. Daz says

    The Sweet Avocado Crema looks amazing, though it definitely sounds gross from the outset, now I wanna try it or make it at home. Thanks for the review!

  2. Jenn says

    Really appreciate your posts. (Now I have to be patient for the rest of the booth reports….patience…not my strong suit.) I saw a video of someone who was raving about the avocado dessert (maybe a few people raved about it), which surprised me but now it’s on my list b/c enough folks have said how yummy it is. Worth a try!

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