Review: Belgium 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Belgium returns in its home in between the Brazil and Morocco Marketplaces and France and Morocco Pavilions.

The food items offered are identical to last year, though each is up 25 cents. The Beer Flight and Chilled Coffee make triumphant returns.

Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes – $5

Belgium switched out the waffle for the mashed potatoes last year and I initially had some mixed feelings. But I think the creamy, cheesy, salty potatoes do complement the stew a little better than the sweet waffle. On the other hand, the flavor profile is relatively straightforward now, which makes this an easier skip. But you might still elect to attach it to an order if you’re not in the mood for something sweet, but stopping to pick up a beer or the coffee. But at almost $5, there are only a couple bites of tough beef and a small dollop of potatoes. It’s mostly stew.

Taste: 5/10

Value: 4/10

Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream – $4

I really like these waffles, which are freshly pressed inside the booth and served seconds after, here sweetened up with quite a bit of whipped cream and the decadent warm chocolate ganache. It’s very sweet.

Taste: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – $4

If you’re after something that at least “feels” slightly healthier, you might go the fruity route with the berry compote and what is typically a smaller spoonful of the same whipped cream. I personally favor the chocolate, but at $4 each, you might as well pick up both.

Taste: 9/10

Value: 8/10

Hoegaarden Witbier – $4

  • Store price: 15 cents
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
  • ABV: 5%
  • Value: Below average

Hoegaarden (who-garden) is a light and refreshing 4.9% witbier, better than the Kronenbourg Blanc in France, with lemon and orange notes. It’s still not much of a value and your local grocery store probably carries a 6-pack for around $9.

Leffe Blonde Belgian Pale Ale – $4

  • Store price: 15 cents
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
  • ABV: 6.6%
  • Value: Below average, but best in this area

Leffe Blond is 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 others 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.

Stella Artois Hard Cidre – $4

  • Store price: 16 cents
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Value: Poor

Cidre arrived stateside five years ago to compete with the other macros launching lines under various names, including MillerCoors who owns Crispin/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.

Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur – $10

The Chilled coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur is back. The drink was too chocolaty 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.

Overall, the food items offered are among the biggest crowd-pleasers at the Festival and although the beers are common grocery store brands, they should also be met with an approving nod.

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