We continue from Australia.
Refreshment Port is located on the right side of World Showcase as you walk towards the Canada Pavilion or on the left side after you pass through our neighbors to the north. During the Food and Wine Festival, the Australia Marketplace situates itself across the way. Miss you Orange Bird and General Citrus Lobby. I still waved.
Refreshment Port has become a bit of a Festival poutine headquarters in recent years, offering a new take for most Festivals. As far as strongly-worded letters from the citizens of the great country of Canada go, I don’t name the dishes, so please send hate mail in Disney’s direction as it’s been five or six years and they seem to think that putting anything on top of fries qualifies as Poutine. There will probably just be a hamburger on top of them next year. “It’s not a Hamburger Combo! It’s Poutine, which comes with a $2 upcharge because it sounds fancier than ‘Old Hamburger Recently Found in the Electric Umbrella Rubble.'” The kiosk did go decidedly non-bougie this year as they’ve served “Lobster Poutine” and “Duck Confit Poutine” among others over the years. The very good Maple Boursin Cheesecake moves over here, as the company had to move booths since their old one is in a construction zone I’d still risk death, or at least some minor scratches, or sending in an assistant, for that Cheesecake though. And we have a new wine and beer. Note that only the regular Poutine is a snack credit and not the specialty version, unlike most other Festival dishes. We’ll see why in a moment.
Beef Poutine: French Fries, Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce, Cheese Curds, and Gherkin Relish – $9.50
This dish, which doesn’t differentiate itself much from last year’s gob of pulled beef made into a rich beefy gravy. These “Poutines,” in addition to being a farce to our northern neighbors,” “feel” like the antithesis of what the Food and Wine Festival is all about, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on your scenario. I don’t think the immense size of the portion is evident from the picture, but this is a large cardboard boat absolutely stuffed full of fries and then topped with what must be a combination of 8+ ounces of Boursin Cheese, Poutine Gravy, Cheese Curds, and a whole lot less of the Gherkin Relish than they were using earlier in the day.
As if the Poutine isn’t an insult in and of itself, most of us here in North America are just fine calling a pickled cucumber a pickle. Looking at the tub of fries here, I’m not sure you’re fancy enough to be talking up gherkins. It’s just hot it works. I didn’t really care for the relish, which is why there may have been about 10% as much on top as earlier in the day. But some people may prefer the acid helping to cut the richness of everything else going on. But I’m a man. You can always order it on the side. Dipping fries into pickles isn’t a usual hobby of mine, but it’s never too late to pick something new up. After covering this and similar Epcot events in full each of the last eleven years, trying well over 550 different items in the process, I have a pretty good idea about what to expect from the various Festival offerings. But if you’ve never been to the Food and Wine Festival before, I feel like you’re probably handed your first couple of items and inevitably wonder when they’re going to give you the other half.
Well, here it is, even if it’s pickle fries with cheese.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend these if you’re looking to snack around the Festival unless you have 18-25 people in your group. This is an overwhelming portion for one person and should keep two people stuffed for several hours. You’re not going to find this many calories for this little money at any of the other Marketplaces, so you may want to keep that in mind if you spent your last $7,500 on a single ride on Test Track via Premier Access and the ‘Ohana shrimp casserole is now out of your price range.
Taste: If you want to hate yourself, it’s a 9/10
Value: 6/10, largely on quantity
Maple Boursin Cheesecake with Whipped Boursin Maple Bourbon Cheese and Candied Pecans – $4.50
There is not a word in this description that I don’t like as Boursin’s cheesecake migrates to Refreshment Port.
You may remember CHEESE and this look from a few years ago. Now put it out of mind as only Earth Eats remains standing and it’s over in the Wine and Dine Studio section as a sad little kiosk.
The Cheesecake was one of our favorite items from the 2018 Festival and it returned again in 2019 before going into hibernation, just like we probably all should have. Making a triumphant return in 2021, the Cheesecake base is soft and plump, but sturdy enough to stand tall underneath a generous scoop of deliciously sweet, lusciously-maple bourbon cream with plenty of crunchy candied pecan pieces and then finished with a rich caramel sauce. Words don’t do it justice. You want to try it.
Just look at it again. $4.50.
Playalinda Long Fruit Beer Name 9 $9.75
The Luna Lemonade Ale actually comes in at a respectable 4.8% with a nice, semi-sweet tart lemon flavor up front backed up by a surprising amount of marshmallow with a crisp wheat finish. I’d recommend trying one to start as it is a little out there. Someone at Playalinda knows where the bodies are buried or is getting quite the kickback to push these through.
Numanthia Termes Tinta de Toro Red Wine – $7
This is actually a pretty good deal on a rarer wine that would cost you about $20 a bottle if you could find one. The aroma is intense berries that aren’t as strong as on the palate with a clean finish. Always say it’s medium-bodied. If you’re in the mood for a red wine, this is a good choice in the area and the one I would pick up.