Spain returns to the 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival for its second year, positioning itself across from the Germany Pavilion on the Italy side.
The Charcuterie in a Cone and Seafood Salad return the same both in name and description, while the Spanish-style Paella is now served with Chorizo and Roasted Chicken instead of the Shrimp, Mussels, Chicken and Crispy Chorizo that we saw last year for the same money. We’ll see if it’s an improvement. All three wines are new.
- Charcuterie in a Cone with imported Spanish Meats, Cheeses, and Olives with an Herb Vinaigrette – $6.50
- Spanish-style Paella with Chorizo and Roasted Chicken – $5.25
- Seafood Salad with Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar and Smoked Paprika – $6
- Wine Flight – $5.50
Charcuterie in a Cone with imported Spanish Meats, Cheeses, and Olives with an Herb Vinaigrette – $6.50
This is a fun presentation with prosciutto, salami, ham, olives, and tangy cheese stuffed into the transportable cone and then topped with an Italian dressing that gives each bite added zip. I’m not sure if it’s a tremendous value as most people are probably familiar with grocery store meats and cheeses, but everything tasted flavorful and fresh. You can also watch cast members freshly slicing some of the ham inside the Marketplace. It’s not every day that someone hands you a cone of meat.
Spanish-style Paella with Chorizo and Roasted Chicken – $5.25
Here’s what the 2018 version of the dish looks like pictured on the menu. There appears to be quite a bit of sausage mixed in with some thick pieces of roasted chicken, rice, and vegetables.
And here’s what we were served with just one thin slice of “chorizo” that measures about an inch and a half on top of a thin layer of rice with a couple little specks of vegetable and a couple tiny, loose pieces of chicken. It was easily the saddest-looking dish we had been served at this point, perhaps with the exception of that Shrimp Quesadilla in Mexico. On the plus side, the Paella was appropriately seasoned with a surprising depth of flavor considering it looks like plain yellow rice on the plate. Still, it’s hard to find any value here unless the amount of chorizo and chicken is increased significantly.
Here’s last year’s version, which I also poo-poo’d after receiving just one small shrimp and two mussels on top of flavorless rice. If they thought the shrimp were going to be too expensive, then it makes some sense to replace it with chicken. But it seems like you would actually need to add some chicken to replace the shrimp with in that scenario. I think somebody forgot that last part.
At best, this is going to be a proficient rice dish with some mildly spicy sausage and well-seasoned chicken. It’s a pretty safe skip even under the best case scenario.
As it stands:
Seafood Salad with Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar and Smoked Paprika – $6
This dish was one of the prettiest we were served all day with the vibrant seafood glistening brightly in the Florida sun. And everything that was above the oil and vinegar tasted great. But there was so much oil at the bottom of the cup that at least half the salad tasted incredibly greasy as the oil absolutely overwhelmed all of the other stuff. On the plus side, there is a lot of seafood packed in – you wonder why they can be so generous when the seafood is placed in a cup, but be so stingy with the same ingredients in the paella. Maybe the price of rice has gone up to $100 a pound or something.
Wine Flight – $5.50
With Lagar de Bouza Albariño, Casa Castillo Monastrell, and Espelt Garnacha Old Vines
All three wines are intelligent buys at the store with bottle prices averaging about $13. That makes the flight here for $5.50 a relative steal considering the quality of the wine and the variety of flavors. Our pours were also on the heavy side. Anybody that enjoys wine should add one to their order.
On the food front, there isn’t anything here that specifically stands out as a compelling buy. Nothing was so bad that I would swat it out of your hand if you offered me a bite, but “just fine” at these price points isn’t going to cut it. On the plus side, the wine flight is very good and you might attach a Meat Cone or Seafood Salad to enjoy alongside it.