We continue from The Masterpiece Kitchen.
“The Art of French Cuisine” returns to France’s usual spot in front of the Pavilion for this year’s Festival of the Arts.
A Stuffed Tomato replaces last year’s Salmon Terrine and a Trio of Macarons also joins the lineup. The Frozen French Martini is a more expensive departure from what we usually see, and the wines are new.
Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl – $7.75
A freshly-made, chewy Sourdough Bread Bowl surrounds the Warm Creamy Brie cheese in the center, which is more like a thick spread than a cheesy soup. We found ourselves taking small bites of the cheese, and then when space allowed, tearing a little piece of the bread away from the bowl. Size probably comes into play here – the bowl would be an absolute no-brainer at five dollars, and even at six dollars, you’ve got a strong contender compared to the quality and portions available elsewhere. At just 25 cents shy of eight bucks, it’s a bit tougher of a sell, but any guest who enjoys cheese will fall in love with the comforting flavors. I wouldn’t hesitate to order another, even if I wished it was $1.75 less. It’s sure to continue being a guest favorite.
Tomate Farcie Faҫon Paul Bocuse: Tomato Stuffed with Braised Ribs Paul Bocuse-style – $7.50
Chef Paul Bocuse lends his name to the signature restaurant in the France Pavilion, Monsieur Paul, and his family’s company still operates the majority of the dining around the Pavilion at Epcot.
The tomato was soft and juicy and the tender beef inside was seasoned nicely with thyme, onion, parsley, and a variety of other herbs and spices. The texture might not be for everybody – it’s on the oily side, and if the tomato isn’t served fresh, it’s probably going to be a lot squishier, with the potential that it’s downright soggy. This is a lot more of a gamble than the Cheese Dip, but you might want to give it a whirl. I enjoyed it more than anyone else in our group. I give France credit for trying something that’s going to be a little out there for most Festival-goers, but it doesn’t seem like consistency is going to be on their side in the Epcot Festival booth setting.
Moelleux Aux Chocolats Valrhona: Molten Chocolate Cake with Pure Origin Valrhona Chocolates – $7
The Molten Chocolate Cake takes a page out of Ireland’s Food and Wine Festival playbook.
Here’s what that looks like for $4.50. The flavors here aren’t going to be much different. They’re both very rich, very decadent chocolate cakes surrounding an irresistibly warm, creamy chocolate center. But you can see how much prettier the Festival of the Arts version is with the dollops of colorful sauce leading the way to the Molten Chocolate Cake that sits on an elegant bed of chocolate sauce and is then finished with powdered sugar.
Perhaps with the exception of the flour, all of the ingredients are so much better quality, and the attention to detail is infinitely greater than just about anything you’d find at Food and Wine. That’s what Festival of the Arts is bringing to the table. But you do end up paying for it. With that said, I think this presents the most value at Cuisine Francaise this year and is sure to please any chocolate lover.
Trio de Macarons: Assortment of Three House-made Macarons in a Gift Box – $9
Macarons are expensive, for whatever reason, but dropping nine bucks on these served up in a generic plastic to-go box doesn’t seem particularly intelligent. If the gift box was printed with Epcot’s logo or something tying it back to the Pavilion, or if the cookies were served with the fruit pictured on the menu, then you might be able to convince me that I’m looking at something that’s worth more than five dollars. From left to right, you’ve got chocolate, strawberry, and lime. Each Macaron is appropriately crispy with a nice chewy center, but I don’t see paying nine dollars out of pocket on these too often. Maybe if they said Epcot.
Frozen French Martini: Grey Goose, Vodka, Chambord Liqueur, Pineapple, Orange, and Grape Juice with Lemon-Lime Foam – $14
The French Frozen Martini might be their best yet. The drink is surprisingly complex and well-balanced, with the raspberry flavors of the Chambord mixing elegantly with the Grey Goose and assortment of juices. The Lemon-Lime Foam adds some citrus and helps cut some of the sugar from the juice, which eases the burn of the alcohol without taking away any of the taste. At $14, the price is getting up there, but I think it’s worth the premium.
Veuve du Vernay, Brut N°1, Limited Edition: French Sparkling Wine – $7.50
This French Sparkling Wine is served out of an elegant black bottle with gold accents with a crisp acidity and a pleasant, fruity character with a light finish. It’s also among the best wine values at Epcot, so you might consider picking up a glass along with the Brie in particular.
Vouvray, Marcel Dubois, 2018 – $8.25
As far as Loire Valley white wines go, this is right around average at a price that’s far too high to make trying it at the Festival palatable. The usual flavors are there – lemon zest and ripe fruit with a crisp mineral finish in an all-too-forgettable plastic cup. It’s here if you want it, but the sparkling wine provides more value.
Bordeaux, Château Malbec, 2015 – $9.50
The fruit is ripe and bright with dark cherry and black currant showing past an initial spiciness. The price is still pretty rough, but it’s a higher-quality wine than the Vouvray. You might explore the many wine options around the Pavilion instead, a couple of which are priced much lower and still taste like wine.
Overall, L’Art du Cuisine Francaise offers several very good options for anyone looking to pick up a couple of the better food and drink items at the Festival. The Tomato is a little iffier and I’d only consider the Macarons and non-sparkling wines if your pockets are particularly deep. (Or you’re at least using a snack credit on the macarons, which may be part of the point of the offering.)