As you are probably aware, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off September 27th. The 26th is billed as a “cast member preview,” but all the booths around World Showcase open to the public and anyone is welcome to stroll up and order a $75 scallop. I had the opportunity to try most of the new items at the Festival, though I did not get around to the new food items at Scotland, Refreshment Outpost, or Desserts/Champagne. I’ll be going over just about everything in the coming days, but here are a few things that stood out for one reason or another. This will mostly include new items. For my reviews of what was available last year, see this post, which has links to the previous six posts. A lot of the same items return, including all the food items at Italy, Morocco, Terra, and Germany, among others.
The Unibroues Are Back in Canada (HAALLLLEEELLLUUUJAAAAAAAHHHH)
By far the best value at this year’s Festival is the Unibroue collection on draft at the Canada cart. La Fin Du Monde and Trois Pistoles are world class beers and finding them on draft is a real treat, particularly at these prices. A 750ml bottle of La Fin Du Monde or Trois Pistole would run you $8.99 – $9.99+ in stores and you can score a 20-ounce draft here for the same money. Considering Disney’s usual 900,000.97% markup on beer, these are a steal. As far as I know, this is the only place in the U.S. where you can get Cherry Ephemere on draft. PLUSSSSSSSSSSSSS La Fin is a 9% tripel and Trois Pistoles is a 9% Belgian Strong Dark Ale. That’s about twice the ABV of your average lager for less than two bucks more than a Corona Light. You know where to find me.
Dogfish Head Namaste is a Great Value Too
Namaste, brewed by one of the better breweries in the United States, is an excellent witbier. Brewed with organic orange slices, lemongrass, and coriander, a 750ml (25.36 ounce) bottle would run you $9.99 in stores if you can find it. A 22-ounce is similarly priced at the Festival and you get to keep the cup.
This year’s cup should fit in well with your collection.
Best Overall Booth
Florida Local comes in strong again this year with a new beef slider, slightly different take on last year’s shrimp ceviche, a beer brewed specifically for the Festival from Orlando Brewing, and an additional beer from one of (if not) the best breweries in the state, Cigar City.
The fruity wines popular with the ladies also return.
This might not look like much, but this beef slider is my favorite new item at the Festival. The beef, tender and juicy, is grilled perfectly with a slice of monterey jack cheese melted on top. The bun is lightly toasted and it’s topped with two slices of spicy pickles to give the dish an extra bit of a kick. Compared to other items, these sliders are dirt cheap.
Sun Shade is an easy drinking, hoppy pale ale brewed specifically for the Festival. It’s incredibly refreshing here with highs that continue to be in the mid-80s.
This is one of the better wheat beers brewed in the U.S. with a citrus kick backed up with pepper and saison yeast. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
Worst Item I Tried
Nobody liked this Almond-Crusted Blue Cheese Souffle with Fig Jam – $3.25 from CHEESE near Germany. They might have screwed it up on the first day, but the texture reminded me of baby food or old mashed potatoes and it tasted like feet. Not the good kind of feet. Zero stars.
Best Item That Looks Disgusting But Is Actually Really Good
Check out the first item on the menu here at Belgium and be prepared to scroll by the next picture really fast.
YUCK am I right guys. But this is basically beef stew over a freshly made waffle with extremely tender slow-cooked beef and a rich sauce. It’s odd in that the main ingredient is really beef, but that’s only mentioned in small letters underneath. Just don’t look directly at it and it’s delicious.
Don’t be fooled by the Singapore Sling’s small cup and tantalizing purple hue. This sucker packs a serious punch and at $8, is among the most alcohol you can purchase for your money. That’s how ratios work. Featuring Hendrick’s Gin and Cherry Herring, the sling is mostly booze and receives the website’s highest rating: Five stars.
The Chinese are known for their strong pours, whether we’re talking about the popular Tipsy Ducks drink topped with chilled Jim Beam or the various Festival drinks.
From someone’s depraved mind (not taking credit) comes the “Happy Lychee,” which is basically a mixture of tequila, vodka, and a spritz of water. Five stars. Not for the faint of heart, you might end up stumbling before Germany if you hit the website’s optimized touring plan – One La Cava margarita for here, one La Cava margarita to go, and a Singapore Sling with a Happy Lychee chaser. This website is not responsible for face planting.
Best Item That Might Sound A Bit Out There
Second Best Korean cuisine is unfamiliar to most Americans I think and nobody in my group was interested in trying the Kimchi Dog.
But it was actually really good and really spicy and really messy. The size is around a third of a standard Ballpark, topped with vegetables and a spicy mustard that’s more of a sauce than anything else. For less than four bucks, it’s worth a shot. I think you’ll like it, unless you don’t like spicy things in which case you prob won’t.
Biggest Straw For No Reason Prize
Also from Last Place Korea comes this Soju Fruit Slushy. I feel like somebody bought some XL bubble tea straws and needed to put them in something. While refreshing, this slushy is extremely light on the alcohol content.
Also Refreshing with Basically No Alcohol Content
Japan’s Green Tea Colada tastes nothing of alcohol, but it’s extremely refreshing on a hot afternoon.
Garbage Can Pic
They live on through you.
Saddest Cup of Soup
People eat up the stupidly-small, stupidly-priced cups of Cheddar Cheese Soup in Canada and will tell you their $4.25 was well spent. Hops and Barley gets in on the action with this $3 cup of clam chowder.
It does come with the world’s cutest bottle of Tabasco though. I’m some kind of idiot because I dumped the entire bottle in the clam chowder, which made it borderline inedible. There did not seem to be much at all to the chowder though and it was disappointing overall.
Why Is American Made Stuff So Expensive
I think our readers from the northeast will have a panic attack looking at this $7.50 lobster glop. It’s the most expensive food item at the Festival and costs a measly snack credit.
This picture of Hop and Barley’s Craisin Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Anglaise does not do this $3.25 slice of heaven justice. YOU MUST GET ONE. The Frozen S’More from Dessert/Champagne looked awfully good too.
Scotland’s arrival brings this flight of Glenfiddich, in addition to the Loch Lomond on the right. For $15, you score a total of about three ounces of scotchy scotch scotch, anchored by the 18-year. Glenfiddich 18-year is a $90 bottle and a two-ounce pour of the 12-year would run you $12 inside Rose and Crown, making this a pretty decent deal for guaranteed hard alcohol in a cup. The Loch Lomond is about an ounce-and-a-half of Glenfiddich 12-year with a splash of Drambuie and dry vermouth. It helps take a bit of the edge off the scotch if you don’t want to rock the flight. Do yourself a favor and get both.
Brazil Back – Could Have Fooled Me It’s Like You Never Left
Brazil returns after a brief hiatus with an all new menu.
You might have better luck on the scallop front, but mine was dry and mostly flavorless. Scallops are not the easiest item to cook, so I would expect a lot of variance here from dish to dish.
$5.25 buys you about two bites of succulent pork belly on top of a spoonful of flavorful black beans. I thought the beans were better than the belly, making this a below average value at the $5+ price point.
Right across the way, Australia offers three perfectly grilled garlic shrimp over a bed of unnecessary tomato and whatever lemon myrtle and rapini are.
Wine That Tasted Like Wine
All of it.
That gets things rolling here at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. With any luck, every item should be photographed and reviewed by the middle of next week.