Italy returns across from the rest of the Pavilion now with cash registers on both sides.
On the food front, only the cannoli makes a return appearance. The wines, beers, and cocktail are mostly the same as the last few years.
Pennete alla Parmigiana: Baked Ziti and Chicken Parmigiana, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese – $6.25
While Italy is perennially one of the most popular Marketplaces, I think they are also one of the weaker ones as nothing is made fresh at the kiosk. The food is made elsewhere and then wheeled over to the booth where it’s kept in warmers until someone orders it. Because of that, the pasta in our dish was virtually inedible – cold, gummy, overcooked, and frankly, had the texture like it had been recently microwaved. The chicken was a little better, but pretty much no matter where else you’ve had chicken parmesan, it’s better than what’s served here. You might do a little better, but even if the pasta was cooked perfectly, there isn’t a tremendous amount of value here.
Spezzatino alla Toscana con Polenta: Tuscan-style Stew with Carrots, Mushrooms and Crispy Polenta – $6.25
Compared to the Ziti, a still-frozen Lean Cuisine would look pretty good in comparison, but the beef in this stew was tender and flavorful without being fatty and there was a decent amount of it compared to other offerings. The polenta tasted largely of corn and retained some amount of crispness despite stewing in the sauce for however long. It’s not good enough to hunt down specifically, but it’s the better of the two savory options. That’s not saying much, particularly as it’s one of the higher priced items.
Cannoli al Cioccolato: Chocolate-covered Cannoli filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate and Candied Fruit – $4.25
The cannoli in Italy are frozen, defrosted, and served, making for another lousy dish. The chocolate is typically bitter and while it looks like the filling is overflowing, there isn’t a tremendous amount inside. It’s at least a less expensive proposition if you “have” to order something at every Marketplace.
Moretti Lager – $5.50
Just know that I am shaking my head violently just looking at this picture.
Store price: CHEAP
Festival price: EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE THIS YEAR
ABV: WHO CARES
Value: NOT GREAT BOB
La Rossa is at least 7.2% ABV, but paying $11 for what amounts to a 12-ounce draft is nuts. You could Uber to my condo, drink six bottles, Uber back to Epcot, and the cost would still be less than buying the equivalent of three drafts at Epcot. Even if I charged you twice as much as I paid for the Moretti!!!
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.
Frozen Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila – $10
The $10 Italian Margarita is refreshing and a good value for the money (sadly), 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.