Cider House Review 2018 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Cider House returns in the same spot across from the United Kingdom Pavilion for the 2018 Food and Wine Festival.

I believe this is the only Outdoor Kitchen where each food item returns exactly the same as the year before, though the Florida Beer and Ciderboys Ciders are new this year.

Because who cares about my retirement account, we still ordered one of everything this year.

Pear Cider-brined Shredded Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage and Branston Dressing with Pears – $5.50

Last year, I gave this a 1/10 on Taste.

Because last year, it looked like the above – it’s so wet and soggy that you can see liquid pooling in the bottom of the tray down towards the left of the picture.

This year’s didn’t suffer from anything like that. The beef on its own was appropriately salty with a nice chew, but I thought the Branston Dressing was far too sweet and the Braised Cabbage didn’t add nearly enough vinegar to balance it out. The pear flavors were also absent, impossibly lost in the creaminess of the overbearing dressing.

But the portion is significant and at $5.50, doesn’t break the bank. You may like the flavor combination more than I did, but I’ve never seen anybody raving about this dish.

Taste: 4/10

Value: 6/10

House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare – $5.25

On our first walk around World Showcase, Cider House was out of biscuits – they said they were baking and would be ready in about ten minutes.

I ended up returning on Saturday to place my order. By itself, the biscuit was dry and crumbly and tasted much more of herb than cheese. The relatively large portion of salmon helped and the saltiness of the fish combined with the capers made for a pleasantly tasty little sandwich.

Here’s last year’s that suffered from a pronounced, artificial lemon flavor and too much caper.

Still, for $1.50 more you can get a nice piece of teriyaki-glazed salmon from Hanami in Japan and I think that’s the smarter buy. But you could do worse.

Taste: 4/10

Value: 5/10

Freshly Baked Lemon Scone with Crème Fraîche and Mixed Berries – $4.25

People rave about this scone and I’ll admit that I don’t really get it. On the plus side, what I was served this year tasted much less artificial than last year’s and the powdered sugar did a nice job of balancing out the tart flavors from the lemon citrus. But the fact that it’s gluten free means it’s bad almost-by-definition and it lacks the airy, fluffy quality that I personally prefer in my individual cake product. But if you like ’em dense then you’re in business. The accompaniments are flavorful on their own, but I wasn’t impressed when I dunked a bite in both together. But people do like this a whole lot more than I do, so keep that in mind when you’re considering dropping $4.25 on this little triangle of bread.

Taste: 3/10 for me, 15/10 if you have “influencer” in your Instagram bio

Value: 4/10

Cider House Ciders

There are actually four ciders on draft here, the three that are advertised on the main menu and the Caribe Blood Orange Tropical Cider in the 6-ounce pour in the back. I’d recommend trying the flight if you have interest, although the flavors are all similarly sweet. McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider is my personal favorite as it’s the least sweet and most subtle of the bunch. Otherwise, get the Ciderboys Grand Mimosa Apple Orange Hard Cider if you’re after the sweetest apple cider, the Florida Beer Company Caribé Pineapple Tropical Hard Cider if you like pineapple more than the other fruits, and the Blood Orange if you’re an off-menu kind of person.

Overall, there’s nothing that I would return to here, which doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is worth a try. The price points are below average and the portions are okay for the most part. You will like the scone more than I do.


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