Stumbling forward, we’ve arrived at the Canada booth. It’s located to the right of the path down to Le Cellier. This is one that has lines/registers on both sides. So if the line seems excessively long on one side, it’s worth taking 30 seconds to check the other side. Depending on time of day, it’s not at all uncommon to see five people in line on one side and 25 on the other depending on which direction people are walking.
“Minus 8″ Onion Jam is added to the sausage. The “Le Cellier” Filet replaces last year’s salmon.
Last year’s menu:
You’ll notice that the serving size of the wines was listed last year. This year, you have no idea what the serving size is. We’ll pontificate on that more shortly. The Mission Hill Syrah is also a new addition.
People swear by the Cheese Soup, which is about four bites and runs $4. Michael, who sent in this photo, concurs, “And I don’t care about the price & the small amount, I love the cheddar cheese soup. Shut up, take my money, and give me another cup.” Disney obliges. Purchasing a cup out here will save you a reservation at Le Cellier, but you may want to wait until you can get in for a larger cup.
The Chicken Chipotle Sausage along with another shot of the soup. Michael sent this one in as well, this time telling us, “The chicken chipotle sausage with sweet corn polenta was delicious also. This is something I would get every visit if possible.”
I tried last year’s, saying, “Anyway, the sausage is another item that’s getting rave reviews and very similar to what’s served as an appetizer inside at Le Cellier ($9.99). The sausage was nice and spicy and the corn polenta added a bit of sweetness to the dish. Recommended.”
The “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce is one of the more divisive items at this year’s Festival. This is mine, which is just a couple of bites, on the fatty side, and basically doesn’t have any sauce on top.
Friend(?)-of-the-site Tom Bricker agreed, saying something to the effect of it was the grossest item he had tried at the Festival. It was my most disappointing as I had seen Disney Food Blog’s picture of a nice looking piece of meat with a lot of sauce placed neatly on top. But I haven’t seen anything resembling that since.
A huge thanks to everyone that took the time to photograph, edit, review, and email photos of the food items this year. It’s a huge help and saved me quite a bit of money as I’m usually angling more for pictures of the items than anything. This is another nice shot from Michael, who disagrees with my take. “The beef filet was delicious although a very small portion considering the price. I’m not a fan of mushrooms (it’s a texture thing) but the overall flavor was great. The beef was tender, juicy, and the truffle butter sauce was rather tasty. I would love a normal sized portion though, not something sized for a mouse.” Good news, Mike! For like $50 you can get a bigger piece inside “Le Cellier!”
From Lindsy, who says, “Pretty sure this is a small portion of what you get in the restaurant – really delicious and a great deal on the dining plan!” Indeed it is a good use of a snack credit, along with the Fisherman’s Pie in Ireland and Lobster dishes at the Hops & Barley.
The Filet is the one I received the most pictures of, along with the Lamb Chop over in Australia. I’m thinking most everyone grabbed one as the “Le Cellier” name is a big deal. Monica agrees with the dissenters, “The filet was cooked perfectly, as were the mushrooms. The truffle butter was a nice addition and went well with the mushrooms. I was tempted to get another one, but I had too many other things on my list to try. The Syrah did not impress.” The Mission Hill Family State Syrah looks to run about $25/bottle if you can find it.
We’ve discussed Moosehead previously in the Whispering Canyon review. At the time, I said: Moosehead Lager is a decent 5% ABV American Pale Lager brewed by Moosehead Breweries in New Brunswick, Canada. This is basically your Budweiser option, though it has more flavor than your typical American macro. It’s refreshing, easy to drink, and relatively light, which may be good with the heavy barbecue entrees. I won’t mention that the Wilderness Lodge is themed to the Pacific Northwest and New Brunswick is east of Maine.” Picky picky. Moosehead has pretty good distribution, so much so that it’s stocked at the local Florida Publix. We’re going to take a look at some beers that blow it out of the water shortly, but the Canada Bud is available if it sounds more pleasing. Canada Budweiser I mean.
Yay, Ashly sent in a shot of the Ice Wine, saying “This was exceptionally good but very sweet. A small glass goes a long way. Sorry for a crappy picture but the rail was the only place to put it!” May I recommend a nearby garbage can? This is indeed an incredibly small portion – two modest sips at best. The guy in front of me when I was ordering the steak waited 15 minutes to be poured this. He gulped it down and complained about the pour. Not necessarily the best way to return something. As I mentioned before, the pour size was listed on the menu last year, undoubtedly causing people to forgo the Ice Wine in favor of the Bubble. The Festival Center actually has a really good price on the Ice Wine this year. A 375ml bottle runs about $25, compared to around $40 in stores for the same size bottle. Wine Enthusiast rates it 90 points and Wine & Spirits says 92 points. Realizing it’s so expensive ($80/750ml at Wine.com), the small pour may not be as disappointing. But considering Disney gives no indication about how much you’re going to get, I think people expect the same size pour with higher prices for more expensive bottles. But that isn’t necessarily the case. If you can transport a bottle back easily, you may want to pick one up at the Festival Center.
Normally I would save alternatives for the end of the post, but this is simply too pressing to wait. At the Canada Popcorn/Beer cart, Disney has added three Unibroues. Each is 20 ounces and costs $8.50, which makes them among the cheapest beers available at the Festival or basically anywhere else on property.
The Trois Pistoles, a 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale, is the best of the bunch. Yes, that’s 9% alcohol and it’s about $4 less than an equivalent Moosehead a few feet away. And a 750ml (25.36 ounce) bottle of Trois Pistoles in stores would run you $9 – $11. These Unibroues are an absolute steal. Maybe the best deal I’ve ever seen on a beverage at Walt Disney World. So grab them quickly because Disney is going to switch out the 20 ounce cups for 6 ounce cups once they get wind of this. All of that said, the Trois Pistoles isn’t going to be for everyone – it’s a dark stout-like beer with Belgian yeast. It’s also smooth and refreshing. If you like beer or find yourself trying to get “into it,” camp out at the Unibroue cart. You’ll find it to the left of the walkway down to Le Cellier. Skip the Torontopolitan.
The Blonde de Chambly (not to be mixed up with the Blanche de Chambly!) is the rarest of the bunch. Chambly comes from the city in Quebec where Unibroue brews its beers. The Unibroue website describes it as, “Crisp acidity of lemongrass followed by sweet honey and notes of pepper, with a sharp, floral finish.” I wouldn’t disagree. Coming in at 5%, it’s going to be a much lighter option, though it’s actually the darker looking beer in this picture. It carries my highest recommendation and is only available in Canada outside of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.
The beer on the left is the Ephemere (Apple). This 5.5% fruit beer is going to taste of crisp apples, spices, and cinnamon. It’s also excellent.
Greece returns this year across from the Canada booth.
The Salad, Cheese, and Souvlaki return along with it. The Dannon Oikos yogurt is new. The item underneath the “No longer available” sticker is a spanikopita for $4. It should have been a temporary shortage. For wine, the St. George returns, but the other wines are new.
The Greek Salad is a nice mix of lettuce, cucumber, red onion, olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese. The side of pita bread is a nice accompaniment. This is a cold and refreshing item compared to many that are served hot. Recommended, though I’m not sure how well it would pair with one of the wines or beers. The Moscofilero would probably be your best bet.
This year’s Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey looks to be “more melted” in general than last year’s, making it easier to cut and consume. That’s a generous pistachio serving on top and the cheese is a nice size for the price.
This was one of my favorite items last year and a “must buy.” At $3.25, it’s one of the better values as well. Deliciously sweet and cheese-y.
I was less enthusiastic about the Chicken Souvlaki, which didn’t have a lot of flavor and the portion seemed to be on the small side for the $4.25 price tag. That said, it’s a nice “safe” option if someone in your group is looking for something less “out there.” You could even order it without the tzatziki and just have a chicken pita. With several more interesting options around, including the Canadian Sausage, I’m not sure this would be on my short list. But it’s decent if it sounds appealing.
The Spanakopita is getting good reviews this year, but I have not tasted it myself. Next time.
There doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to purchase one of the Dannon Oikos Yogurts as they’re just 5.3 ounce pre-packaged containers of yogurt that you could find in stores for much less money.
The Greek wines sound interesting and should be difficult to find in stores. The Moscofilero, a “crisp, intense” white wine sounds the most intriguing. The St. George also sounds very good and has won several medals at competitions.
Desserts and Champagne
The Desserts and Champagne kiosk is located on the left after passing through Canada if you’re heading in the direction we’ve been walking. If you’re walking towards Canada, you’ll see it on your right before arriving at the Pavilion.
Outside of the Moet & Chandon Champagne, everything on the menu is new.
This year’s Dessert Trio, as sent in by Michael. I haven’t tasted this year’s iterations and Michael says the women got to this one before he could, so I don’t know much about it. At less than four bucks, this has traditionally been a good value as it provides an opportunity to try three very different desserts for not a whole lot of money. The Dark Chocolate Mousse seems to be gathering the most “no thanks” votes.
That’s a glass of Moet in the background. Pricing is pretty rough. The Ice Imperial is promoted as the first champagne that’s designed to be poured over ice, but the ice really just serves to dilute the champagne and temper the carbonation. Ice Imperial would be the hardest to find in store because it hasn’t really caught on. I don’t think anyone really pops a bottle of champagne and then starts looking around for the ice box. In store, bottles run around $60.
The Rose Imperial is another $60 bottle of champagne. This one is salmon colored and you should pick up on some subtle strawberry and berry notes. It’s a little different if you don’t want the usual Imperial.
At around $50/bottle, the Nectar Imperial will taste of peaches and citrus. It’s designed to pair with desserts and fruit, so it would be a good choice at the dessert booth, especially with the Panna Cotta.
Created in 1869, Moet Imperial is the “House’s iconic champagne” and their most popular. At around $40/bottle, it’s less expensive in-store and at the booth. This is an amazing champagne and one of the best available at the price point, but purchasing a flute here is up to you. Servings are just a few ounces.
Finally on the champagne front, the correct pronunciation is “Mo-wett.” If you say it this way, people will often try to “correct you” and try to tell you that the French pronounce it, “Mo-way” or “Mo-ay.” Despite being a “French company,” the name is pronounced in Dutch because Claude Moet, a Dutchman, retained his family’s pronunciation. You can trust me.
And speaking of Moet & Chandon, the Terrazas wines in Argentina are another piece of the LVMH conglomerate. As is Belvedere as seen in Poland.
The Frozen Strawberry and Chocolate Nesquiks ($2.50 each) are new this year. This obviously being the strawberry version. This was pretty bizarre – it’s like a strawberry foam with a shot of strawberry syrup on the bottom. The look was off-putting enough that no one else would try a bite (slurp?) and it’s not particularly sippable You might consider one if you’re curious, but I didn’t care much for it. The chocolate may have been a better choice.
Hawaii returns in the same location. If you’re walking towards Canada, it’s the first booth you’ll see on the right.
The food items return the same along with the addition of the Heitz Wine Cellars Chardonnay. The Big Wave Golden Ale replaces the more commonly found Longboard Lager.
The Pork Slider is a Festival favorite and returns some of the highest satisfaction ratings of any of the items. Tanya sent in this picture of the Slider along with, “I just love that pork slider. I could eat like 4 of them. The meat is so moist and the flavors are a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. This one is worth the wait in line for sure. Get 2 of them. And the mai tai to wash it down.” It is very good and a nice portion for the price, compared to other items available. Highly recommended.
Somehow I have misplaced my picture of the Tuna Poke, which is good, but there isn’t a whole lot to the dish unless you want to eat the “salad” underneath the tuna. Nonetheless, it receives very good reviews and if you like cold tuna, you’ll like this.
Neither I nor Tim enjoyed the Mai Tai very much.
It just didn’t taste good. It wasn’t particularly sweet, but it wasn’t purposefully sour either. It tasted like expired orange juice with no hints of alcohol. We may have gotten a bad batch, but our experience this year mirrors mine last year.
The Pipeline Porter is Kona Brewing’s Fall Seasonal beer. It seems to be a late arrival as local stores hadn’t gotten in stock until a week or two ago. So if you checked earlier in October and found other varieties, the Pipeline may now be available. Pipeline Porter is a 5.4% American Porter that’s prototypical of the variety – roasted malts, chocolate and coffee are the main flavors. Unlike some porters, the taste doesn’t tend to linger, which is a good thing as far as drinkability is concerned. It’s a perfectly decent dark beer if you’re looking for one.
This was the first time I had tried to Big Wave Golden Ale, which is a 4.4% American Blonde Ale. This is the smooth, easy drinking, light option here and a nice choice if someone in the group wants to get something a little more interesting than a Bud Light, but isn’t quite ready for the next step. Personally, I’d stick to the Unibroues which are available only a couple of minutes away. And we’re also close to the “Craft Beer” booth. The Kona brews are as good or better than most of the beers at the craft booth as we’ll discuss shortly. Overall, either beer would be a good choice, though you should be able to find both locally. Even here in Florida, the local Publix has the Porter, Longboard, and Fire Rock and Total Wine carries the Big Wave.
The Heitz Chardonnay out of Napa Valley runs $22 – $26 per bottle, making it one of the more expensive wines. I’m not sure what the pour looks like though.
“Craft Beer” is actually the first kiosk you’ll see on your right as you approach World Showcase from Future World down the main drag. I’ll go full beer snob on you for a moment and say that these choices are disappointing, not because the breweries are bad, but because the brews within their catalogs are common and boring. The only exception being Devil’s Triangle and potentially the Widmer Falconer’s IPA. Otherwise, this is really more of an advertisement for the brewers than anything. They’re hoping you’ll try Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Abita Purple Haze, Red Hook Pilsner, etc. and go home and continue buying six or twelve packs. It would be nice to see beers brewed specifically for the Festival from Rogue, Stone, Dogfishhead, Cigar City, and even Sierra Nevada or Red Hook. A lot of the very small breweries probably couldn’t keep up with Festival demands, but some of the “larger” microbreweries certainly could. But this isn’t that kind of festival. Anyway, let’s go down the list of what is available. One thing you’ll want to note is that the Flights don’t provide a savings compared to picking four 6oz samples of your own choosing, unless you opt for the Sierra Nevada, which is 50 cents more expensive than the other options.
Purple Haze is a 4.2% wheat beer with raspberry puree added after it’s initially filtrated. The raspberry flavor isn’t overpowering, but it’s going to be the dominant smell and probably what you’ll initially taste. It’s a nice light choice if you’re in the area and have someone in your group that “doesn’t like beer,” but doesn’t want one of the nearby frozen beverages from the Caribbean or the Hawaiian Mai Tai. It’s also significantly less metallic and “wine cooler tasting” than the Leinenkugel. If you’ve never had a fruit beer like this, it may be worth trying, but with a low ABV and the departure from more traditional styles, it isn’t a personal favorite.
Pretend this one says Redhook Pilsner instead of Copperhook. Growing up in Seattle, where Redhook is brewed, I’ve sampled most of their offerings. And we’ll see a picture of the Pilsner shortly in my “Flight.” Their Pilsner is an easy drinking 5.3% Czech Pilsener that’s a smooth, crisp lager – perfect for Seattle summers (and Florida falls). This is above average with subtle citrus and spicy notes that linger faintly. I may be a little biased here, but you’re welcome to look it up yourself. It’s a great, easy drinking beer that shouldn’t offend anyone’s palettes.
I mentioned that we’d have a look at the Pilsner and it is indeed one of these. I wasn’t able to track down a Florida Beer Company Devil’s Triangle, so we’ll have to rely on the Festival for once. Anyway, this India Pale Ale is equal parts hoppy and bitter – which is to say, very hoppy and very bitter. Unless you like IPAs, and bitter IPAs at that, you’ll likely want to skip this one. I don’t think it’s widely available yet and there doesn’t seem to be any information on alcohol content. Because you may never see it again, you may want to pick up a six ounce cup, but I’m not sure I’d commit to more than that before confirming that you like it.
Coming in at 6% Alcohol By Volume, this India Pale Ale is one of my favorite easy-drinking beers at the price point, which is $7 – $8 for a six-pack in most grocery stores. It’s refreshing, light, and not overly bitter. Perfect for a fall day at Epcot. It’s not going to be as complex as some of the more expensive, hoppier beers, but sometimes that’s okay too. Full Sail has vast distribution as well, though it’s nowhere near as wide as Sierra Nevada or Sam Adams, but it should be available without too much looking required.
Pretend this is the Pumpkin Ale Fall Seasonal that’s available at the Festival, rather than the Summer Agave Blonde Ale. It’s another of the beers from the flight pictured above. For a long time I had been apprehensive about purchasing Blue Moon, since it’s brewed by Coors, but their Belgian White is actually pretty good. And I’ve enjoyed a few of their seasonal offerings, thanks mostly to their variety packs with three bottles of four different beers. Anyway, their 5.7% Pumpkin Ale is between below average and average. It’s going to taste of pumpkins, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. It smells better than it tastes. If you like Pumpkins Ales, then you’ll like this one okay, but it isn’t great and it’s widely available in stores these days.
We’ll use this picture as a placeholder for the Leinenkugel, which is also part of the Flight. Admittedly, the Berry Weiss is my least favorite “beer” at the festival. It’s also one of the best choices for someone that “doesn’t like beer” because it doesn’t taste like beer. One might be nice in the summer heat, but I’d have trouble drinking much more than six ounces. The Berry Weiss tastes more like a Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler than anything else, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it’s what you’re looking for. But I think it’s going to feel like you’re drinking sweet cough syrup by about ounce 15 if you opt for the 22 ounce.
We’ve seen the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale before. Last at the Whispering Canyon Cafe, where I said: “The 5.6% ABV Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is similar to Sam Adams Boston Lager in that it’s widely available at just about every grocery store in the country. Also like the Boston Lager, it’s excellent and one of the best, inexpensive (at the store) pale ales available. This one is also light, crisp, and refreshing. It’s quite a bit more complex than the Moosehead with floral and citrus notes, but is easily drinkable. Pick up a 12-pack at the store for $13-$16.” Since most of the other beers offered here are similarly easy to find, it’s not necessarily such a bad thing that distribution is so wide. It’s a very good beer, but I wouldn’t pay $6.75 for 12 ounces. You may be more willing on vacation.
A 22 ounce souvenir mug of the Widmer Bros. Rotator IPA Series: Falconer’s IPA. Saying that is probably a Disney sobriety test. If it isn’t already clear, I like something a little different, and this 7% fall seasonal American IPA is about as close as we’re going to get here at the “Craft Beer” booth. It may or may not be available in your grocery store – Widmer seasonals are more common on the west coast, though my Total Wine carries six-packs of the Falconer’s for $8.99. Anyway, this is my first choice at the booth. That said, it’s hoppy and bitter, but I have a predisposition to enjoying IPAs. It’s still light and crisp with citrus and floral notes. If you like hops and IPAs, then this is a winner, but it’s not the best choice for the Budweiser crowd, who probably want to be looking at the Redhook.
That just about sums up the Food and Wine Festival. It looks like a nice overview will have to wait until next year, since this year’s Festival is basically over. But hopefully at least one of the Parts was helpful!