Friday Five: 5 x 5 for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival 2017 & 2018

40347632_686479751712198_1256641477291802624_nYesterday, was opening day of one of my favorite events at Walt Disney World, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.  This is the time of the time of the year where I unleash my inner foodie and throw out any kind of diet plan. One of my favorite things is to pour through the menus of each Festival Booth and stalk all the great Disney Food Facebook pages, dreaming of all the yummy sips and bites.  The menus were released a few weeks ago and I already have my list ready for my trip in 35! But before I look ahead to next month, let’s take a moment to look at back at some of my favorites (and misses) from 2017…

5 Top Bites from 2017

1 & 2 Piggy Wings (2nd year of my list) & Chocolate Picante-Dark Chocolate Mousse & Yellow cake with Cayenne Pepper, Chili Pepper and Raspberry Dust

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Roasted Pork Wings with a Korean BBQ sauce…sticky, sweet and just little after burn to remind you that you are at Flavors from Fire)  I love chocolate and heat, a yummy combination!

3. Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with a Warm Whiskey-Caramel from the Chocolate Studio (2nd Year of my list)

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Yummy and refreshing, love the cold treat on a hot day, and paired with a beautiful red dessert wine…AMAZING.

4. Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread from Ireland

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I was a little scared to try this combination, considering I am not a beer fan but I love Irish Brown Bread.  The flavor of the bread, cheese and beer together was the perfect bite of Ireland

5. Traditional Spanish Paella with Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Chicken and Crispy Chorizo from Spain

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How they managed to get every component on the plate is beyond me, plus the rice had that crispy chewy bite that normally you would be fighting to get at home.  

Top 5 Sips from 2017

1. Lenotti Recioto della Valpolicella (see picture with Nitro Truffle)

A sweet red dessert wine, probably the best red dessert wine I have EVER had and a perfect complement to the truffle.

2. Kim Crawford Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

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It was the perfect wine slushy and took the edge off of a family who decided that they wanted to ATTEMPT to crowd me out of my spot for illuminations that I had staked out for over an hour.

3. Red Moscato from Italy

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This must be the year of the sweet reds for me.  Another great vino!

4. Twinings Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka (2nd year)

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My favorite drink from 2016 did not disappoint…pumpkin, chai, caramel vodka fall in a glass!  I will not even admit to how many of these I drank this year. I was EXTREMELY disappointed when I was reading the menu for Ireland’s Festival Booth for 2018 and found this missing…thankfully I did not have to cancel my trip over this as has just been moved to another booth.  

5. Dragon Berry Refresher featuring Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum from the Refreshment Port

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A refreshingly light frozen cocktail, that given the opportunity I would have had more that I needed.

5 Misses from 2017

1. Bleu Spectrum (Blanc de Bleu Cuvee Mousseux with Boba Pearls) from the Light Lab

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I wanted to love this, but after 3 sips I threw it away.  It was bitter with an odd aftertaste. Light Lab is such a fun festival booth, mad scientist lab that glows in the dark.

2. Crispy Calamari with Spicy Pomodoro Sauce from Italy (see picture above on Italy’s Red Moscato)

The appearance turned me off as it seemed under fried, however the calamari was crispy but it lacked any sort of flavor at all.  The Pomodoro sauce was good, but not good enough to make up for the calamari.

3. Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce from Morocco

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Another favorite bite from 2016 that was a HUGE disappointment in 2017.  This year the fries were wet and soggy and lacked the spice in spicy.

4. Teriyaki Ginger Pork from Japan

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I guess I was expecting another version of the Piggy Wings, but this was not that.  It was dull and flavorless.

5. Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun with Hoisin Sauce from China

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I was so excited that this was on the menu again for 2016, but after the first bite I was extremely disappointed.  This year’s  lacked the deep rich flavor I remembered and the duck was chewy and greasy, so instead of being on the top again the duck moved to the bottom.

Looking towards the 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival…

So, what I am looking forward to eating and drinking in 2018 (based on menu only)? Of course, I am going for the Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle, the Pumpkin Chai with Vodka and the Piggy Wings, plus I might give a few past disappointments another chance but here is what is topping my list to try…

Top 5 Eats to Try For 2018

1. Maple Bourbon Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel & Pecan crunch (Cheese Studio)

2. The Steakhouse Blended Burger (blended beef and wild mushroom slider with brie cheese fondue, arugula, truffle and blue cheese potato chip on a brioche bun) from Earth Eats

3. Bougasta (warm phyllo dough strudel with sweet vanilla custard, lemon honey syrup and cinnamon) from Greece

4. Sweet Potato Poutine (sweet potato fries with caramel sauce, mini marshmallows and pecans) from Refreshment port

5. Korma Chicken with cucumber tomato salad, almonds, cashews, and warm naan bread from India

Top 5 Sips to Try For 2018

1, Caribbean White Sangria from Islands of the Caribbean

2. Chateau Des Charmes Vidal Ice-wine from Canada

3. La Passion Martini Slush from France

4. Fiji Apple Cocktail from Japan

5. Blood Orange Mimosa from the new Mimosa Bar

I have decided that this year, I do not have to try to eat and drink something at every booth.  Instead, I am going to get as many dishes and pours at a Festival Booth that catches my attention (and my stomach as room for).

Follow this link to the 2018 Menus…

2018 Epcot Food & Wine Market Places

What would make your list?  Share your lists in the comments!

Friday Fives: 5 (+5) Favorites from 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

x1Okay, I admit it…I did a little happy dance this week to burn off a few calories anticipating one of my favorite things to do in Epcot’s World Showcase, Eat & Drink Around the World because Disney released the menus of the Festival Marketplace Booth menus for this year’s International Food & Wine Festival.  During most visits to Epcot my quest to experience the flavors of the World is done in 11 eat & drink stops, but from August 31 to November 13, Disney adds 35 new stops during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.

Guests visiting Epcot this fall will be treated to an amazing culinary adventure exploring a wide array of cooking techniques and flavors from chefs from all over the world.  This is a “foodie” paradise with tasty dishes both savory & sweet, fine wine, craft beer, spirits and other beverages.

In honor of the menu release, I am looking back at my 5 favorite flavors & sips from 2016 (and a few I will get to experience again this year in addition to all the new yummies)…

Favorite Flavors

  1. Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel from the chocolate studio
  2. Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Hoisin Sauce from China
  3. Piggy Wings (Fried Pork Wings) with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds from Craft Beers
  4. Duck Confit with Creamy Polenta and Fire-roasted Salsa from Greenhouse Guru
  5. Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce from Morocco

Favorite Sips

  1. Twinings Pumpkin Chia Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka from Ireland (Bonus flavor- Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard from Ireland)
  2. Caposaldo Peach Moscato Sweet Sparkling Wine from Italy
  3. Frozen Spiked Chai Latte with Baileys Irish Cream
  4. Frozen Brown Elephant from Africa Outpost
  5. Frozen Szarlotka Apple Pie featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka from Poland (not sure that was a favorite but it was certainly interesting…like drinking literally an apple pie, chunks of apples and all)

DISCLAIMER:  I ALMOST ate and drank at every Marketplace Booth…BUT I did run a 5K, 10K and Half Marathon this weekend plus this food was consumed over the course of several days, so my rolling and teetering Around the World in a Food Coma doesn’t seem so bad.

It is NEVER too late to plan a Food & Wine or even run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon (5K or 10K) this year…I can help you with your booking and plans just email me or respond in a comment to this post!  I would love to help you discover your inner foodie. 

For more information on Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, follow this LINK