We return to Epcot for the 2020 Festival of the Arts with reviews of every single food and drink item offered at the Festival.
Decadent Delights takes over in what was once Promenade Refreshments as the first Food Studio that you’ll see on the right as you walk towards Canada.
If you’re a dessert-first kind of person then you’re in luck if you start on this side. For those beginning on the Mexico side, Decadent Delights may mean a sweet end to your trip around World Showcase. Every item on the menu returns from last year and we also see the addition of the White Chocolate Figment Puzzle, which has migrated over here from the Odyssey Building for this year’s Epcot Festival of the Arts.
White Chocolate and Purple Sweet Potato Mousse, Caramel, Coconut and Maple Meringue – $6.50
The Purple Sweet Potato Mousse is much sweeter and fluffier than you might be expecting with a pleasant light quality to it. The couple little bites of cake help add some texture and we enjoyed some surprisingly complex flavors in the brown sugar and sweet molasses from the maple meringue finished with the chewy, sweet, aromatic coconut. It’s definitely on the small side for $6.50, but an awful lot goes into the recipe and presentation. I don’t think it’s a compelling buy, but these Festivals are all about trying something a little different. This version is a lot better than the original that debuted four years ago, so don’t let a poor initial go-around sway you from a return visit.
Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Pretzel Crunch – $6.50
The description on this one is not particularly…descriptive…and under some amount of duress, I would admit that I was expecting something with a little more crunch. What you’ll actually receive is a pretty dense piece of cake with a distinct, albeit initially subtle, peanut butter flavor. There is none of the creamy or crunchy quality that you would expect from something that you’d spoon out of a jar of Jif – the peanut butter flavor is entirely contained within the walls of the cake that surround the sweet, fruity coulis.
The sauce is carefully poured into a shallow hole and underneath it, you’ve got more of the peanut butter cake. While 60% of the words in the name of the thing refer to Chocolate, Pretzel, and Crunch, almost all of that is found in the single pretzel topper that’s been dipped in chocolate with another thin piece pointing down towards a few more spheres of sauce.
Overall, it was certainly a proficient example of what ends up being Peanut Butter Cake. And now that you’re expecting Peanut Butter Cake, you may be a better informed judge of it than I was. At $6.50, I don’t think this ends up standing out against a lot of very good desserts served around this price point at the Festival. But if you’re fiending for some Peanut Butter Cake, and appreciate a modern art look to said cake, then I have very good news.
Lemon and Blood Orange Tart – $6.50
Again, there is very little description of what this is and no mention whatsoever of the blueberries, meringue, chocolate pieces, crispy pearls, or crunchy sugar, not to mention the fact that there’s a layer of very tart orange sauce encased inside.
Fans of tart desserts are in luck here, though this particular version strays from my own experiences with tarts that typically see colorful layers of fruit on top.
The flavors you pick up are going to depend a lot on which of the toppings make their way onto your fork. As far as the Tart itself, there’s a thin layer of crust that’s almost indecipherable from the thicker layer of lemon curd that ends up being the base of the dessert. It has a very strong, very lemon-y, very citrus-y flavor that isn’t far off of what you’d find if you bit into a slice of lemon. The flavor is that strong. My estimation is that the lemon is supposed to be sweetened up from some sugar in the orange sauce, but that didn’t show through in our early experience. On the plus side, the plump, bright blueberries helped offset some of the tartness and the crispy meringues, soft white chocolate, and crunchy piece of sugar helped keep things interesting considering the Tart itself was one-note citrus. Overall, I’d give this one a shot if you really like tart citrus desserts, but steer clear if you don’t because you’re going to end up picking off the toppings and discarding most of the Tart itself.
Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie – $5.50
This is a large, crispy, typically hard cookie packed with chocolate chips and then topped with thick colorful icing. It may prove popular with the kids that aren’t connecting to the thought of Purple Sweet Potato Mousse for one reason or another, but most people are going to find more interesting flavors elsewhere.
White Chocolate Figment Puzzle on an Artist Palette – $6.50
This may be a fun little activity for the kids, but you’ll want to make quick work of it. Even on a day that barely broke 75 degrees, our white chocolate Figment piece had basically melted to the cardboard with a few minutes, and there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to spread out the few sprinkles we were provided or the four unbranded chocolate pieces that accompany the three thin colors of frosting. It’s certainly not the worst way to spend $6.50 at Walt Disney World, but there are certainly tastier desserts around.
Neapolitan Beer Flight – $9 – 3 Daughters Strawberry Nitro, Breckenridge Nitro Vanilla Porter, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
The Neapolitan Nitro Beer Flight is a nice lineup. The 3 Daughters Queens Court Strawberry Blonde Nitro, brewed in St. Petersburg, Florida, adds local Plant City strawberries at the end of the secondary fermentation process, giving it a surprisingly light and fruity flavor. Usually I find these sorts of beers to teeter on medicinality (not a word), but this one is easily drinkable, light, and fruity.
The nitro process is meant to create a much smoother, creamier liquid than your typical beer brewed with carbon dioxide and that difference is most notable in the Breckenridge Nitro Vanilla Porter. Here, you get a much thicker mouthfeel than you would with their regular Vanilla Porter, but it still brings the same roasted malts and chocolate backbone that is typical of the style. It’s definitely worth trying on tap either by itself or as part of the trio.
Finally, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is a world class beer – even thicker and more velvety than the Breckenridge entry with more of a bitter chocolate flavor. Very good.
Biagio Moscato d’Asti – $6
This is exactly what you would expect from an Italian Moscato served at this price point at an Epcot Festival. Potentially on the positive side, the sparkling quality is very light, making it easy to drink with the desserts served here. It’s also sweet, but not too-sweet, which is a nice quality when pairing it with an assortment of potentially-sweet desserts. At around $12 a bottle, it certainly doesn’t demand a purchase, but those looking for a mildly sweet, entirely-inoffensive sipper are in good hands.
Florida Orange Groves Winery Black and Blue Port– $8
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Disney contract alone keeps this St. Petersburg winery in business. And that would probably be a great thing if we didn’t find ourselves trying the wines time and time again at these Festivals at the typical 500% Disney upcharge. Historically, we’ve seen a variety of very sweet, very artificial-tasting wines in a multitude of flavors that arrive both sparkling and still. The Black and Blue ends up being a mixture of the winery’s Blackberry and Blueberry Wines that are fortified and aged in oak. At the time I tried this, I had no idea what the Alcohol by Volume percent was, but I assumed that it was absurdly low given the thin mouthfeel. The bottle says it’s 18%, which seems hard to believe given the fact that there’s virtually no presence of alcohol on the palate whatsoever. It’s very smooth and fruity, but the mouthfeel is very similar to water, almost as if Decadent Delights is watering down the Port. This seems incredibly unlikely and potentially illegal, so I’m not sure where I would go with my review. As an aged port that’s gone through the oxidation process inside wooden barrels, it’s terrible. As an easy-drinking spirit that will get you trashed in a hurry, it seems like it would be very high on my list.
As with most Ports, the serving size is on the small side, but given the $8 cost here and the $50/bottle price at the winery, I feel like this is actually a pretty reasonable value. At an 18% ABV, which is a little less than half of your standard 40%/80 proof vodka, you’re packing a pretty considerable punch. As a bonus, it basically tastes like a very watered down Fruit Punch Capri Sun. Talk about a throwback opportunity, in more ways than one.
Cold Fashioned Coffee Cocktail – $9.50
Get it…like an Old Fashioned…But that’s about as much as we’ve got to go on here given the fact that there’s no other indication of what’s in it.
The orange slice sort of points to an Old Fashioned. As does the ice. And the brown color. And the cherry. And what ends up being a very bitter, very coffee-forward cocktail. There’s no whiskey flavor whatsoever, perhaps because it’s so watered-down with what I’m guessing is cold-brewed coffee. The mouthfeel is very thin and I think my recommendation would be to instead seek out a Joffrey’s stand if you’re looking for a boozy coffee. The Sidecar at the nearby Masterpiece Kitchen is also less expensive and more-boozy if you’re looking for a classic cocktail. But if you’re looking for a bitter, watered down coffee cocktail then there is this also.
Overall, I feel like these desserts would be stronger if they were attached to menus elsewhere. As a standalone house of desserts, each is pretty good in its own way, but you’re still going to find yourself standing in line specifically to try one following what may be stops at a lot of other Food Studios that have desserts that, at a minimum, are just as good, and oftentimes, better. I don’t see much of a point on skipping desserts elsewhere just for a shot at one of these. But if you are a completionist or one of the desserts sounds particularly auspicious, then I think you’ll be pleased with whichever you choose.