Disney released what’s expected to more or less be the complete lineup for this year’s Food and Wine Festival booth menus here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/food-wine-marketplaces/. You can click “read more” under the name of each Marketplace for the menus. Or just follow along here. For each marketplace, I’ll list the new items and copy/paste my reviews of returning items from last year along with last year’s pricing. Expect prices to be 25 to 50 cents more expensive this year. For a complete look at last year, including pictures of the various kiosks, menus, and reviews of just about everything, visit this link. The reviews are broken up into something like seven parts with links to previous pieces at the top. Completely new booths are listed at the end.
- Buttered chicken with micro cilantro and naan bread
- Indaba Chenin Blanc
- DeMorgenzon DMZ Cabernet Róse
- Jar Sweet Shiraz
The wines are available in bottles at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Zuri’s Sweets at the Animal Kingdom theme park. The chicken sounds like it’s right out of Sanaa’s playbook.
- Berbere-style beef tenderloin tips with onions, jalapeños, tomato and pap ($4.50)
- Fairview Pinotage ($3.25)
Beef tenderloin tips berbere-style with okra, jalapeños, tomato and pap. You can smell how spicy it is as you walk by. That spiciness overwhelmed whatever other flavors were going on for me. The pap underneath, which is ground corn porridge, soaks up the lingering spicy sauce from the beef. If you like spicy dishes, you should enjoy the beef here. But if you don’t, it’s best to steer clear. The quantity is a good value for the money. But it’s really spicy.
- Store price: 55 cents/ounce.
- Festival price: $1.08 cents/ounce.
- ABV: 14%
- Value: Good.
Another good value out of South Africa with Fairview’s pinotage, a medium-bodied, earthy red wine with lingering spice. It pairs very well with the beef.
- Grilled sweet and spicy bush berry shrimp with pineapple, peppers, onions, and snap peas
- Coopers Brewery Extra Strong Vintage Ale
- Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling
- Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay
- Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz
- Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies ($6.25)
- Lamington: Yellow cake dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut ($3 in 2012, has been on hiatus since then)
The shrimp dish in the past has been garlic flavored. The beer sounds good with a 7.5% ABV. Guessing the wine tastes like wine, but I’m not an expert.
The $6.25 Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies tends to be a bit fatty and the “potato crunchies” are fancy potato chip flakes, but the lamb is another above-average dish and a great use of a snack credit. While there is not much flavor from the mint, the crunchies soak up the flavor from the lamb and they do an excellent job of grilling each chop.
This is a yellow sponge cake that’s drizzled with chocolate and topped with coconut. If you like coconut, you’ll likely love this. Obviously coconut is one of the more polarizing foods so if you don’t like it, you’ll probably want to stay clear. It’s very good though. (Editor: Wow, great review Josh :/)
- Palm Spéciale Belge Ale
Standard Stella is out in favor of Palm Speciale, which is purported to be a decent Belgian pale ale.
- Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef and smoked gouda cream ($4.25)
- Belgium waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream ($3.50)
- Belgium waffle with berry compote and whipped cream ($3.50)
- Hoegaarden ($3.50)
- Leffe Blonde ($3.50)
- Stella Artois Cidre ($3.50)
A apology is in order on the $4.50 Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef, which is another dish that is significantly better than it looks. Several large bites of tender, slow cooked beef top a freshly pressed waffle. It’s basically beef stew over a waffle with a little bit of an onion-y kick from the leeks. Highly recommended, despite the unfortunate look.
More sweetly decadent is the Belgian waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream – $3.50. The freshly made waffles here are great and the chocolate ganache and whipped cream help bring out its naturally sweet flavor without overwhelming the waffle. Extremely good.
Mmmmmmmmm, for those of you not in the mood for chocolate, the $3.50 Belgian waffle with berry compote and whipped cream is a nice alternative. There was a time (two years ago) when waits for the waffles were long, but they seem to have streamlined things and longer waits than the other popular booths are uncommon.
The Chilled coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur is back. The drink was too chocolatey for me, perhaps due to some unadvertised chocolate syrup. And the cup is not particularly large considering how easy it is to drink. You may have better luck.
It’s pronounced “who-garden,” though you’re more than welcome to ask the female cast member how good the ho garden is this year. Hoegaarden is a light and refreshing 4.9% witbier, better than the Kronenbourg Blanc, with lemon and orange notes.
- Store price: 11 cents
- Festival price: 58 cents/ounce
- ABV: 5%
- Value: Bad
Leffe Blonde is slightly harder to find than Stella, which is available at just about every convenience store in the U.S., but not by much. It’s actually a pretty decent Belgian Pale Ale, though the beer snobs among us will say that this is “no Belgian Pale Ale.” At 6.6% ABV, it’s also boozier than most of the beers offered at the Festival, including the other two here. The good news is that despite having more alcohol, you’re not going to taste it. It’s nice and crisp. Expect to taste cloves, bananas, and other spices. But be beware, this is a gateway to other more robust (and expensive) Belgian Ales.
- Store price: 11 cents
- Festival price: 58 cents/ounce
- ABV: 6.6%
- Value: Poor
It pains me to rate the value as “poor” but it is pretty expensive compared to the store price of $7.49 for a 6-pack. With the highest ABV, it is the best beer value at this particular booth and all three are at least on draft, which is a bonus.
- Store price: 16 cents
- Festival price: 58 cents/ounce
- ABV: 4.5%
- Value: Poor
Cidre arrived stateside two years ago to compete with the other macros launching lines under various names, including MillerCoors who owns Crispin and Redd’s Apple Ale and Boston Beer (Sam Adams) who launched Angry Orchard in 2011. Figuring out who owns what can be confusing. Even our heralded Unibroue is owned by Sapporo in Japan. Anyway, Cidre is clean, crisp, and a bit too sweet for me. This may be a nice opportunity to give it a whirl without committing to a 4-pack.
Remember that the flights consist of four beers that are four ounces each, for a total of 16 ounces for $9.25. That’s the same 58 cents per-ounce price as the 6-ounce cups.
- Escondidinho de carne, “Little Hidden One”: layered meat pie with mashed yucca
You had me at meat pie. It replaces last year’s tilapia.
- Crispy pork belly with black beans and tomato ($5.25)
- Pão de queijo: Brazilian cheese bread ($3.25)
- Cocada: Brazilian coconut candy ($1.75)
- Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer ($3.25)
- Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine ($6)
- Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cac ($8.75)
This is the Crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro is better and one of my top five dishes from the Festival on flavor and value. It’s also a good example of a dish that’s “the same” as last year (2013), but improved heartily. It’s high quality meat with little fat and a crispy texture, despite sitting in the generous spoonful of flavorful black beans. I hope you have the same luck!
Lisa was perhaps looking forward to the $3.25 Pao de queijo — Brazilian cheese bread more than any other new item. What we received on day 2 was significantly better than day 1, but these are gluten free, and suffer because of it. It’s otherwise largely flavorless bread surrounding melted cheese that also lacks much flavor. For two hunks at this price point, they may be worth a shot, but lower those expectations.
So the description on this thing is “Cocada- Brazilian Coconut Candy – $1.75). I was expecting a pre-packaged candy of some kind, but received this very dense, very sweet, very chewy hunk of coconut candy. You’re really going to have to like coconut to enjoy this one, but for the money, everyone might as well grab a fork and dig in.
Xingu (pronounced shin-goo) is a 4.7% schwarzbier from Cervejaria Sul Brasileirain in Jacarei. It’s not as rare here in the states as you might expect and local Total Wine stores would sell you a six-pack for $10.49. Taste is a little sweet and caramel-y with a toasted malt finish. Mouthfeel is thin, but these dark beers are not as boozy as you might expect.
Store price: 15 cents
Festival price: 54 cents/ounce
It’s an interesting beer and while your local superstore probably stocks it, most people probably haven’t tried it.
I recommended Carnaval Moscato in 2013 at the $3 price point, but $6 is pretty nuts for a bottle that would run you $12 at the store. Particularly when said moscato is 7.5% ABV, which almost makes it not even worth swallowing. Avoid.
The caipirinha (ky-pee-REE-nyah) is Brazil’s national cocktail, made here with LeBlon Cachaca for $8.75. Cachaca is mostly unknown here in the U.S., but the pure sugar cane spirit is the most common hard liquor in Brazil. Anyway, this particular drink is served blended with the subtle sourness of the limes masking the taste of the liquor. It’s a refreshing cocktail that’s boozier than it tastes, unlike a lot of mixed drinks that we’re going to run into with hardly any alcohol content. Recommended.
- Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
- Norbertus Special Hefeweizen
- Shöfferhofer Zitrone Weizen-Mix
- BraufactuM Progusta IPA ($3.50)
Only four beers this year =[ They all sound interesting though and look be to be hard or difficult to find on draft elsewhere in the U.S.
- Chicken sausage with creamy polenta and Minus 8 onion jam
- Inniskillin Vidal Icewine
- Tawse Vineyard Cabernet Franc
The chicken sausage replaces last year’s trout with the same jam. I can’t imagine what the Inniskillin is going to run. It costs $50 for a 375ml bottle at the store.
- Canadian cheddar cheese soup ($4.25)
- “Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter ($7.25)
- Moosehead Lager ($3.25)
- Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine ($5.75)
At $7.25, the “Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce may be the most expensive item at the Festival. Mine was fatty and lacked much sauce with an overall gristle quality. You may have better luck.
This picture of the Canadian cheddar cheese soup – $4.25 was taken by Michael last year (2013). I flat out refuse to purchase a cup because of the absurd price, but I seem to be the only one as these cups print money for Disney. The soup is otherwise creamy and cheesy and salty and wonderful. I’d pay the money if it came with a pretzel roll/stick of some kind instead of just three bites in a cup.
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. The Unibroues are much better, with higher alcohol content and a lower price by the ounce.
- Store price: 11 cents/ounce.
- Festival price: 58 cents/ounce.
- Rarity: Fairly common.
- ABV: 5%
- Value: Average.
Ashley sent in this precarious picture of the Ice Wine from last year (2013). $5.75 buys you about an ounce of what would cost you about $40 for a 375ml bottle (half a regular wine bottle). Unfortunately, there is no indication that the pour will be so small, leading to a lot of unpleasant (humorous) cast member interactions, particularly from those guests that began their expedition on the walk toward Mexico. Anyway, Neige is intense with a sweet apple cider flavor. It pairs very well with the Cheddar Soup. At 12% ABV, it’s not much more boozy than the Canada Cart Unibroues, but it does have a pleasantly sweet apple flavor.
The pour on the 7.5% Neige Bubble is better and the flavor is similar, though less acutely apple. A bottle runs $21.99 at the Festival Center, so you may want to pick one up and do the Food and Wine thing back in your hotel room.
- Gaoli beef slider
- Ritzy Lychee with cognac and vodka
- Happy Peach with peach liqueur and dark rum
- Mango jasmine tea with popping bubbles
I’m not sure what Gaoli means, but it replaces last year’s Mongolian Beef in a bun.
- Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce ($6.50)
- Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles ($5.50)
- Chicken pot stickers ($4.00)
- Tsingtao Beer ($3.50)
- Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Riesling ($3.50)
- Kung Fu Punch with vodka and triple sec ($8.50)
The Beijing roasted duck in a steamed bun with hoisin sauce is among the most expensive items at the 2014 Festival, but like the lobster alfredo, duck is on the expensive side. The bun is chewy and light without having much flavor on its own. That’s okay because the tender, roasted duck in a partially-crystallized hoisin sauce packs a salty, sweet punch and there’s a lot of it piled into the bun with red and green onion on top. It’s a unique dish that I recommend if you don’t mind the higher price point.
The Mongolian beef in a steamed bun is quite good, albeit not the largest portion at this higher price point. However, the soft bun does a nice job of holding together the numerous ingredients, including a few hearty bites of stir-fried beef. The creamy sauce also works to temper the spice from the stir-fry while still allowing those flavors to shine through. At five bucks, I’m not going to give this one two thumbs straight up, but it is quite good. The duck is more unique.
The Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles. The three-to-four shrimp themselves are kind of sad and gummy compared to what we’ll see in Australia, but it is a heaping portion of the noodles underneath, which might help soak up some of that alcohol. It’s a hearty dish overall and best shared if you want to sample a lot of different things. The overall flavor is kind of bland and one-note considering what it could be, but it does agree with the typical American palate.
Four dollars buys you two chicken potstickers, which I would have trouble differentiating from the big bag of Ling Lings I buy at Costco. They are expertly pan-fried and delicious, but it’s about a dollar per bite and the flavors are straightforward.
Store price: 8 cents/ounce
Festival price: 58 cents
ABV: Not enough
The website weeps. Defenders would point out that Tsingtao is the #2 best selling beer in the world, but Clorox is the #2 best selling bleach and I’m not sure I want to drink that either. If for some reason you have a stroke and accidentally order half of someone else’s bottle of 4.8% American adjunct lager, you can expect a largely skunky light bear backed up by stale grains. Or like the other standard lagers, it’s refreshing on a hot afternoon. Just real expensive.
Store price: 47 cents/ounce
Festival price: $1.16/ounce
Value: Below average
This is a very dry riesling, almost like a chardonnay with a mineral flavor. The chenin blanc in Africa would be a better choice.
The Chinese cocktails, while far from authentic, are typically some of the strongest of the Festival. This year (2014) is no different with the Kung Fu Punch with Vodka and Triple Sec offering a refreshing, orange-flavored drink with a healthy pour of alcohol on top. Highly recommended if you’re looking for an easily sippable drink with a relatively high alcohol content.
- Brew Hub Keybilly Island Ale, Lakeland, FL
- Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, FL
- Orlando Brewing Grateful Pumpkin, Orlando, FL
- Swamp Head Wild Night® Honey Cream Ale, Gainsville, FL
- 3 Daughters St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL
- Florida Beer Company Passport 20 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Cape Canaveral, FL
- Funky Buddha Vanilla Espresso Porter, Oakland Park, FL
- Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Clearwater, FL
- Bloody Mary shrimp cocktail
This is a nice list of Floridian beers and a direction that I think it smart at the Festival. Are any of these going to be as good as a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA? Probably not, but there isn’t necessarily a reason to order the same beer that’s available in every grocery store nationwide.
- Craft beer snack mix: sweet and savory blend of nuts, fruits, and crackers (included with beer purchase)
- Charcuterie plate: Country pâté, cured meats, and crostini ($3.75)
- Pimento cheese dip with pretzel crisps ($3.75)
The $3.75 House-made country pâté with picked carrots and farmhouse bread that seems to have arrived without the bread. I am not a pâté person and didn’t care much for this mixture of unnamed ground meat and fat minced into a sort of crumbly blob of cold meat fat stuff. I’m not saying don’t order it, I’m just saying expect to be served four decent slabs of pâté.
Eight whole wheat crackers (pretzel crisps in 2015) that look and tasted suspiciously like water crackers arrive alongside the Spicy pimento cheese dip for $3.75. The spicy dip is similar/the same as what’s served with the slider from Hops and Barley and has a nice kick to it, helped by the peppers and onions sprinkled on top. It’s not necessarily a compelling dish, but it’s the most edible here and pairs nicely with the beer.
Desserts and Champagne
- Chocolate cherry explosion
- Strawberry-basil champagne “toast”
- Nicholas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs
- Möet & Chandon Impérial
- Veuve Clicquot® Ponsardin “Yellow Label”
- Orange Blossom Brewery Toasted Coconut Porter float with caramel ice cream
- Cream soda float with caramel ice cream
- Guylian Belgian chocolate seashell truffles ($1.75)
- Frozen S’mores featuring Monin Toasted Marshmallow Syrup ($3.25)
- Dom Pérignon ($32)
- Möet & Chandon Nectar Impérial ($12.50)
This year’s S’mores is nearly identical to last year’s. I didn’t care for the texture of the whipped milk, which is kind of foamy and yucky (in my opinion). There’s only a subtle chocolate flavor amid the whipped mess. You might have a better experience.
The website spares no expense when it comes to Food and Wine, this time with a $153 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, but it does however wonder what the endgame is. Nobody really buys a $150 bottle of champagne to enjoy the flavor. And the website has to imagine the number of people dropping $32 a glass is fairly slim. In fact, when I asked around 3pm on the first day of the Festival, a cast member confided in me that no glasses had been sold. On the other hand, offering an expensive glass often causes people to spend more than they would otherwise.
Store price: $6.12/ounce.
Festival price: $8/ounce.
ABV: 12.5% .765
The value is actually excellent compared to the other options
Store price: $2.17/ounce.
Festival price: $3.13/ounce.
Nectar Imperial is great paired with fresh fruit. On its own, you’ll taste the honey sugar on the backside. It’s my favorite of what’s offered here.
- Lechón asado: Roasted pork with mangú, pickled red onion and avocado*
- Soufflé de yuca: Yuca soufflé topped with griddled cheese
- Pescado con coco: Seared grouper, pigeon peas and rice with coconut sauce
- Caramel flan with rum-roasted pineapple
- Presidente Pilsner Beer*
- Frozen Dominican piña colada featuring Ron Barceló Blanco Rum
- Frozen sugar cane cocktail featuring Ron Barceló Blanco Rum
After about an eight year hiatus, Dominican Republic returns with an all-new menu.
- Loaded mac n’ cheese with Nueske’s® pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions
- Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider
- Wyder’s Dry Pear Hard Cider
- Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider
- ACE Hard Pumpkin Cider
- Florida Orange Groves, Key Limen Wine
- Tom Gore Chardonnay
- Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon
The cider flight will be interesting this year, in addition to two new wines and mac n’ cheese replacing last year’s hash with similar ingredients
- Griddled “yard bird” with braised greens ($4.50)
The $4.50 Griddled “yard bird” with braised greens and house-made habanero sauce is a larger piece of chicken than it probably looks like with crispy skin and a healthy dose of salt. Fortunately, the habanero sauce has a nice pepper flavor and a lot of spice. The overall flavor profile is not unlike spicy buffalo wings. There’s a few bites of crunchy, salty (in a good way) braised greens underneath. While it’s a straightforward dish, it’s executed well and a large portion. Recommended, particularly if some of the other items are a little too exotic.
- Croissant aux escargots with garlic and parsley
- Crème brûlée vanille chocolat: Vanilla & chocolate crème brûlée topped with caramelized sugar
- Ice Pop Pomme: Apple juice, vodka, and St. Germain liqueur
The first two items are just a little different than the past. The escargots last year were part of a tart and the creme brluee was caramel.
The ice pop sounds similar to the peach version offered during Flower and Garden.
- Boeuf bourguignon: Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes ($5.75)
- Beer, Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 ($3.75)
- Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, Vielles Vignes Mommessin ($5.75)
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet ($5.95)
- Sparkling Pomegranate Kir ($7.75)
- La Passion Martini Slush: vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice ($9.95)
Unfortunately, 2014’s Boeuf bourguignon — Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes disappointed on two different occasions over two days. The potatoes underneath are atypically dense and the beef on top is stew quality. The Potato and Leak Waffle with Braised Beef upcoming in Belgium is $1 less and a more satisfying dish.
I don’t want to talk about it.
Wine pricing is always insane in France. La Crema at Hops and Barley is $1.50 less and significantly better, but if you want a white from the booth….this is it.
A bottle of Chateau Bonnet cost $18, compared to $5.95 for 2.5 ounces at the booth. This is medium-bodied with blackberry and cherry notes backed up by some oak.
A $7.75 Sparkling Pomegranate Kir is about 3.75 ounces of lousy sparkling wine topped with pomegranate liqueur – not really a compelling value, but what is?
This year’s $9.95 La Passion Martini Slush — Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice is sweeter than previous iterations with less of an icy texture. Is there any alcohol in it? Probably not much, but it doesn’t seem to matter considering the number of people walking around with them.
- None, though the apple strudel was replaced last year.
- Schinkennudeln: Pasta gratin with ham and cheese ($3.50)
- Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll ($5)
- Apple strudel with vanilla sauce ($3.50 in 2k13)
- J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett ($2.75)
- Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese ($4.75)
- J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese ($3.50)
- Kallstadter Kobnert Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Spätlese Dry ($3.00)
The $3.50 Schinkennudeln — Pasta gratin with ham and cheese is one of the most accessible items at the Festival, potentially perfect for kids (and dads) that have turned their noses up at the thought of peirogi goulash. It’s a nice portion for the money, though it is now available all year at Sommerfest. Hearty and cheesy. Very good.
This year’s $5 Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll features what should be familiar flavors for anyone that’s ever enjoyed a brat. The pretzel roll is amusingly short considering the long, thin sausage, but the rolls are fresh and it’s a decent portion for the money. There are certainly more interesting items abound, but this is a tried and true Festival dish.
The $3.50 Apple strudel with Werther’s Original Karamel and vanilla sauce is also excellent and an above average value. The apples maintain their texture without being mushy and the crust is soft, but not at all soggy. The vanilla and caramel sauce is decadent and provides additional sweetness. A real treat.
The $4.25 Riesling Flight was unexpected and it’s a fun way to try three different sweet white wines for not a lot of money. Recommended.
- Greek salad in a cone
- Vegetarian moussaka with Gardein sausage crumbles (“sausage” is new)
Apparently Greece can’t even afford plates for their salads anymore. Kidding. Sort of.
- Chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce ($4.25)
- Spanakopita ($4.00)
- Domaine Skouras Moscofilero ($3.50)
- Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko/Athiri ($3.50)
- Alpha Estate Axia Syrah Xinomavro ($4.25)
- Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS® Natural Yoghurt Liqueur (7.75)
WHY IS THERE NO GRIDDLED GREEK CHEESE? WHY?
This moussaka probably looks gross, but tasted great and is my favorite vegetarian option from the Festival. It has a layer of eggplant and potato on the bottom, then a layer of tomato and other vegetables, before being topped with a thick layer of cheese. Very hearty for the money and highly recommended. 2015’s should be very similar.
The $4.25 Chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce is a skip in my opinion – a chintzy portion and a fairly simple preparation. It does feature relatively plain flavors should you be traveling with someone with limited tastes. You can probably get the sauce on the side.
$4 buys you two spanakopita(s), which are flaky pastries filled with spinach, feta cheese, and other spices and stuff. They are quite good, though it’s not a lot of food for your money. The flaky crust easily breaks open to reveal the savory spinach and cheese inside.
The white wine is the Domaine Skouras Moscofilero – $3.50. This is a fruity white wine with a nice floral aroma. I think it’s a bit rarer than some of the other wines and authentically Greek, making it recommended.
A kind of blurry Alpha Estate Axia Syrah-Xinomavro – $4.25. This authentically Greek wine has a lot going on – spice and plum seemed to be the predominant flavors. I don’t think it pairs well with anything offered here, but it would go well with the Canada Filet.
The $7.75 Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur tastes more neutral than you might expect, almost like water mixed with cucumber. It didn’t seem to pack much of a punch and there wasn’t all that much to it. Best skipped I think.
- Mai Tai featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum
Last year it was a similar “Aulani Sunset”
- Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise ($3.75)
- Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips ($4.50)
- Kona Brewing Company, Big Wave Golden Ale ($3.25)
- Kona Brewing Company, Pipeline Porter ($3.25)
- Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine (Returns after one year hiatus)
Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise – $3.75 is one of the most popular items at the Festival, thanks to its relative simplicity. I like this one a lot. The spicy mayo helps cut the sweetness from the pork and pineapple chutney, making the flavor profile more complex than you might expect. The rolls are fresh and there’s a decent spoonful of pork on each slider. Recommended, though the preparation isn’t particularly unique.
This year’s $4.50 Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips may be the healthiest option at this year’s Festival. Your money buys you just three bites of tuna on top of seaweed with toasted sesame seeds spooned on top. The tuna seemed to be high quality fish with an attractive pink color and the seaweed retained a nice crunch. It’s not a filling dish for the money, but it is nice, light, and unlike most items, nicely chilled. Sort of recommended, but it’s not going to fill you up and it’s probably $1 overpriced, even for the Festival.
Store price: 12 cents/ounce.
Festival price: 54 cents/ounce.
Value: Below average.
Big Wave Golden Ale is a 4.4% American Blonde Ale. It’s a smooth, easy drinking, light option 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. The value isn’t great, but at least you’re not spending $5 on a 6-ounce Moretti!
The Porter on the left.
Hops and Barley
- New England Lobster Roll (a similar version has appeared in the past)
- SweetWater Take Two Pils
- Goose Island® Honkers Ale
- Samuel Adams® Rebel IPA
- Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA
Some good beers and the lobster roll, which will probably be the most expensive item at the Festival and replaces last year’s Lobster Alfredo.
- Florida grass fed beef slider with pimento cheese ($4.00)
- Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins and cream cheese icing ($3.75)
- La Crema Chardonnay ($4.25)
- Cambria Estate Winery Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir ($4.50)
An unattractive look at 2014’s $4.25 Florida grass-fed beef slider with pimento cheese. This doesn’t work as well as 2013’s with the pimento cheese separating from the water and creating a gloppy mess. The dish depends entirely on how well cooked the patty is and quality runs the gamut from perfectly grilled to bone dry. You could theoretically order it without the cheese, but that sort of defeats the purpose. Not recommended, unfortunately, though you may have better luck.
Store price: 59 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.42/ounce.
La Crema Sonoma is a ubiquitous chardonnay and among the safest bets for those unfamiliar with wine. Unfortunately, it’s overpriced here at the booth, but that may give you an opportunity to try something a little more interesting. La Crema is otherwise rich and creamy with some lingering spice. It’s a great wine to have in the fridge, but not a great value here.
Store price: 75 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.50/ounce.
This is one of the best wines at the Festival at a decent price. Earthy with a healthy dose of spice, it has a nice tannin structure.
- Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
Brewed by Guinness, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale is a half-decent (with emphasis on the half) Irish red ale.
- Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie ($6.25)
- Kerrygold cheese selection: Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig ($4.00)
- Warm chocolate pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard ($3.50)
- Bunratty Meade Honey Wine ($5.25)
- Chilled Irish Coffee featuring Bunratty Potcheen ($7.00)
- Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur ($7.25)
The Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie – $6.25 is one of my favorite dishes. It looks deceptively small, but it’s packed with hearty potatoes, cheese, seafood, and the ingredient list is something like 30 things long. It is one of the more expensive items, but I’d budget for it if you can. It is quite filling, so you may want to share.
The Kerrygold cheese selection: Reserve Cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout, Skellig – $4 and served with soda bread and a chutney. We enjoyed these cheeses far less than what’s served at Hops and Barley, though I’m not sure I could tell you why. The flavors may have been a bit more foreign than we’re used to. If you like cheese, it’s hard to fault the options here and I don’t regret the purchase – it just wasn’t for us.
Warm Chocolate Pudding with the $7 Chilled Irish Coffee featuring Bunratty Potcheen in the background. Potcheen is largely undrinkable straight and in my opinion, the Belgian coffee upcoming is an easier-to-drink proposition. It does pair nicely with the couple bites that is the incredibly rich chocolate pudding. The creamy coffee does help mask the alcohol flavor from the potcheen, which comes in at 45% ABV, leaving a sippable beverage.
Bunratty Meade Honey Wine is a very sweet wine that tastes strongly of honey and very little of alcohol, despite having an ABV of 14.7%. It should be available in stores for around $17/bottle (and it’s available at the Festival Center for $22). Purists would tell you that it’s not a traditional mead, which would be fermented honey wine. This is a white wine with honey and spices added to it. Assuming you start drinking around the World in Mexico (and for most, even in Canada), you won’t care. Honey Wine is otherwise sweet with little flavor from the alcohol showing through.
- Corbinello, Montegrande
- Moscato Fior d’Arancio, Montegrande
- Ravioli alla caprese: Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil ($6.00)
- Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala: Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread ($5.75)
- Cannoli al cioccolato: Chocolate-covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit ($4.00)
- Moretti Lager Beer ($5.00)
- Moretti La Rossa Beer ($5.00)
- Pinot Grigio, Placido ($6.50)
- Chianti Classico, Placido ($6.50)
- Prosecco, Bosco del Merlo ($9.00)
- Frozen margarita with limoncello and tequila ($10.00)
A pretty lousy picture of the Ravioli alla caprese — Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil, which is five or six smaller ravioli hidden underneath a layer of cheese. This is not a revolutionary dish, but it’s easily accessible for those with limited tastes and adventurous eaters should also be satisfied. While $6 is getting up there, it’s a lot of food. Recommended.
The $5.75 Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala — Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread. The marsala sauce is on the watery side, the chicken is light on the seasoning, and the dish is made long in advance and served out of a steamer box. Best skipped.
You could do worse but we preferred the ravioli.
The Cannoli al cioccolato (chocolate- covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit) – $4 is a decent way to finish your sampling if you’re planning to stop for another item, but I’m not sure I’d wait in line specifically for it. The chocolate tends to be bitter with only a little filling inside. You may have better luck, but I’d bet the password to the website that these are defrosted and served.
Considering I already threatened physical violence if you order the Puerto Rican rum over the scotch, I’m not sure what I can say if you order a 6-ounce Moretti for five bucks. Maybe force you to follow TouringPlans recommendations on your next vacation?
Store price: CHEAP
Festival price: EXPENSIVE
ABV: WHO CARES
Value: NOT GREAT BOB
La Rossa is at least 7.2% ABV, but paying $10 for what amounts to a 12-ounce draft is nuts.
I won’t waste your time going into detail about the other wines, but paying as much for a glass of Placido as you would for a 1.75 liter bottle is not great.
The $10 Italian Margarita is refreshing and a good value for the money, even if the alcohol content may not be high. It’s a lot more drink for your money than the French “martinis” and has a nice tart flavor. While it’s not at all Italian, it is tasty if you’re looking for something of this variety.
- Miso Udon: steamed shrimp, vegetables, and noodles in a spicy broth
- Pineapple Fuzed Sake
- Sake – Komatsu Tateaki Samurai
- Sake – Suigei Drunken Whale
- Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce ($4.95)
- Teriyaki gyoza bun: Steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki sauce ($5.50)
- Kirin Draft Beer ($3.75)
The $4.95 Spicy Hand Roll — Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce is about the same quality as the sushi Katsura Grill and the various resort quick services offer year around. You may order it without the volcano sauce if you don’t want the slight kick that it offers. Your money and stomach space are probably better spent elsewhere, but this is a good opportunity to try likable fast food sushi if you’re unfamiliar.
The $5.50 Teriyaki gyoza bun — Steamed-bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki may be a more interesting prospect, if for no other reason than we haven’t seen anything like it in the past few years, though China offered a similar vegetarian version for the last Flower and Garden Festival. This is a substantial dumpling stuffed mostly with chicken in a not-too-sweet teriyaki sauce as the description stipulates. I’m not sure it’s different enough to be highly recommended, but it’s a decent portion with nice flavor, particularly for someone looking for something a “little out there” without delving into kimchi dogs or something.
Store price: 10 cents/ounce.
Festival price: 63 cents/ounce.
Probably the worst value we’ll see outside of Moretti in Italy, Total Wine will sell you a 25-ounce bottle for $2.49 or a 6-pack for $6.99. This is otherwise the Budweiser of Japan at Coedo prices with a grainy, malty, corn-y flavor. Most people will want to wait for Hops & Barley or pick up a larger Kirin draft elsewhere in the Pavilion for around $8.
- Tacos de camarón: Battered shrimp, pico de gallo, pickled onions, and chipotle mayonnaise
- Chilaquiles de pollo: Corn chips layered with seasoned chicken, queso fresco, sour cream and cilantro
- Guava margarita
- Dos Equis Lager Beer with Floater (from Flower and Garden)
Last year’s shrimp taco was “Fried shrimp, pickled habanero pepper and onions on a flour tortilla.” Guava replaces the Mango-Strawberry margarita and the corn chip thing replaces the beef taco.
- Pastel de elote con queso: sweet corn cheesecake ($3.50)
- Mexican sangria ($6.75)
- Tequila Flight ($12.50)
Lisa enjoyed the Sweet corn cheese cake, which has a pronounced, rich corn flavor, more than I did. It’s semi-sweet with the whipped cream and caramel sauce adding another element of flavor. It’s otherwise interesting and a “little different,” while still playing it safe. I don’t think it’s worth waiting for on its own if lines are long, but you might want to attach it to the end of an order.
$12.50 buys you three 1-oz cups of unnamed tequila. With the sheer number of Festival “sponsors,” it’s surprising that Patron or Milagro or something hasn’t come to the rescue of the Mexico Pavilion. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things this is a decent value if you’re looking to get your drink on. There’s easily twice as much alcohol here than in the $8.50 margarita.
- Kefta pocket: Ground seasoned beef in a pita pocket ($5.00)
- Harissa chicken roll ($4.95, appeared in 2013 but not 2014)
- Baklava ($2.95)
- Casa Beer ($4.00)
- Guerouane White ($4.00)
- Sangria ($5.00)
- Mimosa Royale ($7.00)
The $5 Kefta Sandwich is basically a Moroccan meatball sandwich with the beef further back in the pita and the vegetables stuffed closer to the opening. The pita is on the bland side and I think most people will prefer the lamb meatball at New Zealand.
Baklava is horrendously time consuming to make, which is one of the reasons why it’s usually expensive. At $2.95, Morocco’s is reasonably priced. Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of stacked layers of phyllo dough in between layers of melted butter and filled with chopped nuts (along with whatever else). The baklava here is sweet and moist with a distinct nutty, cinnamon-y flavor. Fortunately, the baklava doesn’t tend to be dried out here at the booth like it does at Tangierine Cafe. Recommended, especially if you haven’t tried it before.
Morocco’s Harissa chicken roll is basically a Moroccan egg roll with chicken, roasted corn, cilantro, harissa, and cheese inside. Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce made primarily from red roasted peppers. I would have liked a bit more kick. For the money, it’s not a ton of food, but it is one of the more unique and authentic dishes available.
Store price: ?
Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
Total Wine at least doesn’t sell 6-packs for $7.49 like the Belgian beer, but four bucks for half of somebody else’s bottle is pretty rough pricing on what is basically a Heineken.
The “Juice Bar” that doesn’t actually serve juice on the opposite side of Spice Road will sell you a 12-ounce bottle for $7.45 after tax, which is a little less expensive. Casa is otherwise always available in Morocco.
Zniber Guerrouane Blanc is probably going to be difficult to track down outside of Epcot and Morocco tends to fill the cups to the brim, unlike most booths that have pour stoppers that only allow two to three ounces. It’s still a $4 cup of a $14 bottle, but you could do worse.
The $5 Sangria is on the left and the $7 Mimosa Royale on the right. Morocco serves a sweet Spanish sangria that tastes more of sugar than alcohol. It’s pre-made from a bottle and isn’t anything special, but it’s sugary and here if you’re in the market. The Mimosa Royale is what you would expect from champagne and orange juice. Neither is a compelling value, but they’re both here if you’re in the market.
- Seared venison loin with wild mushroom marsala sauce and kumara dumpling
- Brancott Estate Flight Song™ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
- Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir
- Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs ($3.50)
- Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney ($4.25)
- Kim Crawford Chardonnay ($3.50)
- Kim Crawford Pinot Gris ($4.75)
“Green Lip” seems like an unfortunate name for a food item, but the turquoise edge is indeed pretty. Otherwise, $3.50 buys you three Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Bread Crumbs. These were grit free and tasted like garlic butter with a crunch from the bread crumbs. They were really quite good and come recommended in front of the other items at this booth. Also easily shareable.
The Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney – $5.25 is exactly the same as last year’s. Despite advertising a spicy tomato chutney, I thought it was a bit on the bland side. But the various spices do give the meatball a bit of character.
A fairly substantial meatball hides underneath, wrapped up inside an airy bread bowl. The meatball itself was spicier than the chutney on top. I enjoyed this one too and it’s a reasonable portion for the money. I’m not sure it’s special enough to go out of your way for though.
Store price: 63 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.16/ounce.
Kim Crawford wines are from New Zealand and the Unoaked Chardonnay is a bit different than most, with no woody flavor from the typical oak barrels used in the fermentation process. That leads to more of a pineapple, fruity flavor than your typical chardonnay. Lisa and I didn’t care much for it, but it is a little different and potentially worth trying.
- Undurraga Sparkling Wine Brut
- Calle Ocho Chardonnay
- Kaiken Torrontés
- Beef empanada ($4.50)
- Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée ($5.50)
- Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri ($4.75)
- Terrazas Reserva Malbec ($3.75)
2014’s $4.50 Empanada may be the least exciting looking item at any Marketplace.
And it’s about what you would expect with a flaky fried crust leading to spicy beef, onions, and pepper inside. As I’ve mentioned in past years, I’d love a dollop or two of sour cream to liven things up even more. This is otherwise a relatively “safe” dish for the unadventurous, though kids may stick their noses up at the presence of onions. There are certainly more interesting flavor profiles out there.
The $5.50 Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato purée is a Festival favorite and one of their biggest sellers, but I haven’t had as much luck. On my samples, I’ve only received a couple bites of overcooked, shriveled beef. It’s a pretty safe item though.
The $4.75 Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri.
The salmon is expertly roasted, but the arugula didn’t add much to the dish other than color. The quinoa underneath is refreshing and soaks up the flavor from the salmon nicely. There are more interesting dishes out there, but this is a reasonable value and the dishes are generally executed very well.
Argentina used to offer several Terrazas varietals, but the single offering left is their best. Aficionados will want to spring for the extra cost over the Cono Sur Pinot Noir, which is a good value compared to the $20 bottle price.
- Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream ($5.25)
- Sauerkraut pierogi with pork goulash ($5.25)
- Okocim Brewery, Okocim O.K. Beer ($3.50)
- Donausonne® Blaufränkisch Hungarian Wine ($3.25)
- Frozen Szarlotka Apple Pie featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka ($8.75)
This year’s $5.25 Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream.
I saw the size of the pierogi and laughed, thinking that Mrs. T’s must have come out with mini pierogi and lo and behold, here they are. The presentation is considerably better than past years with a heaping scoop of onions and two nicely grilled slices of kielbasa, in addition to between two and four bites of pierogi. I’ve never considered these to be much of a value, particularly for their freezer quality, but they remain popular. The sausage is nicely spiced and the pierogi have an approachable quality. I’d recommend it for four bucks, but $5.25 is rough.
The $5.25 Sauerkraut pierog (interestingly, pierogi is the plural of pierog) with pork goulash comes with one large pierog(i) (Mrs T’s doesn’t make a sauerkraut mini) bathed in a thick, hearty goulash with several large bites of tender stewed pork. While traditional, the sauerkraut filling was new to me and the flavor complemented the subtly spicy goulash well. It’s still pierogi from a freezer, but this dish has some cool things going on, elevating its value.
Okocim’s O.K. Beer might have the most honest label of all time. Of all time. This 5.6% Euro Pale Lager is “literally” okay with a clear, crisp flavor with very little aftertaste, making it perfect for afternoon drinking here during the Florida fall. There is virtually no hoppy bitterness or sweetness to speak of.
Store price: 14 cents/ounce.
Festival price: 58 cents/ounce.
It’s not a personal favorite, but it is an easy drinking beer and I’ve never seen it on draft anywhere else.
Can’t help on the pronunciation of the Donausonne Blaufränkisch Hungarian Wine.
Store price: 39 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.08/ounce.
Low on alcohol content and high in price compared to $10 for a bottle at the store, Donausonne is the brand and Blaufränkisch is the grape variety, popular with Eastern European countries where it’s predominantly grown. It has a fruity, jammy quality to it and is sweeter than most of the wines we’ve sampled thus far. It’s definitely different and you may want to pick a cup up because of that, even if the monetary value is poor.
The $8.75 Frozen Szarlotka (Apple Pie) featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka was my favorite frozen drink last year. I liked it so much I picked up a bottle of Zubrowka at the store (about $25 for 750ml) and it mixes great with apple juice all year around. The Szarlotka tastes much like an apple pie with a pleasant texture and a subtle kick from the alcohol. Very good.
- Haggis with neeps and tatties: Traditional Haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes
- The Tipsy Laird: Whiskey-soaked cake with lemon cream and toasted oats
- Innis & Gunn Cask Oak Aged Beer
- Brew Dog Punk Ale
- Citrus Thistle featuring Hendrick’s Gin
- Fresh potato pancake with Scottish smoked salmon and herb sour cream ($4.25)
- Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon ($4.50)
- Glenfiddich Single Malt 12-Year Scotch ($5)
- Glenfiddich Single Malt 15-Year Scotch ($6.50)
- Glenfiddich Single Malt 18-Year Scotch ($7.75)
The $4.25 Fresh potato pancake with smoked Scottish salmon and herb sour cream pairs a fluffy, lightly pan-fried potato pancake with a thin layer of quality cold smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream with chives. This is one of the simpler dishes we’ll run into and a nice “safe” bet, so long as you like smoked salmon. Recommended.
Seared Sea Scallops are a Festival mainstay, this time served on top of spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon for $4.50. This is my favorite presentation thus far, with several bites of creamy, cheesy greens and a pile of bacon aiding the subtle flavors of the scallop. It’s a solid seven or eight bites and recommended.
A 750ml bottle of 12-year Glenfiddich is $30, compared to $100 for the 18-year. And if you’re going to go, you might as well go big, so I recommend the 18 year. You may want a 12-year (and okay, get the 15-year too) to compare and contrast the flavors.
- Korean Barbecue Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi
- Soju Banana Milkshake featuring The Ginger People® Ginger Soother®
- Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw ($3.75)
- iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew ($3.50)
- Myungjak Bokbunja Raspberry Wine ($4.25)
The Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw. This one is milder in flavor than the dog with a nice scoop of pork on top of lettuce and then topped with vegetables. It’s difficult to eat without a fork, but it’s a lot of food for the money and offers a nice refreshing flavor, particularly in the afternoon heat. Also recommended.
Bokbunjajoo — Bohae black raspberry wine is sweet up front and tart on the back end, not unlike raspberries. At 15%, there’s more grain alcohol presence than most of the other wines we’ve sampled, in addition to the graininess that comes with it. There’s also a heavy artificial sweetener presence. It’s worth a taste if you’re looking for something a little out there, but it’s not a great wine or a great value.
- Trio of artisan cheese
- Karst cave-aged cheese served with honey
- La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin® bread
- Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote
- Sweet goat cheese panna cotta with guava gellé
- Cheese fondue with sourdough bread
- Robert Mondavi FuméBlanc
- Still River Winery Apfel Eis (apple ice wine)
- Sterling Vintner’s Collection Cabernet Sauvignon
- Trio of artisan cheese
- Karst cave-aged cheese served with honey
- La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin® bread
- Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote
- Avviato Pinot Grigio, Oregon
- 14 Hands Chardonnay, Washington
- Franciscan Equilibrium White Wine, California
- Acacia Pinot Noir, California
- Dry Creek Zinfandel, California
- Spellbound Petite Sirah, California
- Clayhouse Malbec, California
- Line 39 Cabernet Sauvignon, California
- Olive oil poached salmon with fresh corn, bacon and pepper jam
- New York strip, parsnip silk, balsamic glaze and arugula foam
- Liquid nitro chocolate almond truffle with warm whiskey caramel
- Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley
- Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
- Smoking Hibiscus featuring Montelobos Mezcal Joven