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Epcot's Food and Wine Festival Archives

September 1, 2017

A Taste of Italy during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Deb's Digest Blog
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Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival is in full swing and at least one of the pavilions is offering new food and beverage items for you to enjoy -- Italy! In addition to the traditional Food and Wine Festival kiosk on the World Showcase promenade, the Via Napoli Donkey Cart and the Pizza Window have new items for you to try.

But first, let's talk about this year's offerings at the Italy Marketplace. There are four food samples ranging in tastes from Crispy Calamari to Cannoli al Cioccolato for dessert.

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The Crispy Calamari is served with spicy pomodoro sauce for $8.00.

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My favorite is the Spezzatino con Polenta - beef stew with creamy Parmesan polenta for $7.50. The beef was tender and the polenta nice and cheesy.

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The Absolut Penne is served with vodka sauce and two nice-sized shrimp for $7.00

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Last but not least is my other favorite, the Cannoli al Cioccolato - a chocolate covered cannoli shell filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate chips and candied fruit at $4.25. The crunchy cannoli shell and luscious ricotta filling are just like my grandmother used to make -- really!

Italian wines and beers are also served at the booth to accompany your food choices.

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A stop at the Donkey Cart will refresh your palate with such familiar beverages as sweet Rosa Regale wine, a Bellini cocktail, and bubbly Prosecco. There are also two new tasty cocktails made with the sweetly tart Italian liqueur known as limoncello and it's orange-flavored counterpart, orangecello. I had the opportunity to try the flavorful "Orangecello" cocktail made with orangecello, orange juice, pineapple juice and strawberry puree. Very tasty and not overly sweet!

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And wait, there's more! The Seasonal Pizza Window at Via Napoli has reopened for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

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Among the offerings you will find there is Pizza Bianca, served room temperature with pomodoro, prosciutto, arugula, and mozzarella. I was hesitant at first -- I mean, room temperature pizza? But it worked! The flavors all blended perfectly without one single ingredient overpowering the taste. You get a large serving for your $8.75, enough for lunch or to share as a snack.

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You can also savor the Polpette e Mozzarella Parmigiana, made with hand-crafted beef and veal meatballs, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmigiana, and sprinkled with fresh basil, served with crostini.

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To accompany these rich dishes, enjoy an Italian beer or try the brand-new cocktail, the Limoncello Mule (also available in the restaurant). It's a tasty blend of Wild Sardinia vodka, limoncello, orange juice, pineapple juice, peach puree, lime juice and ginger beer ($14).

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Plenty of "delizioso" new options for you to experience in Epcot's Italy!

Disclaimer: I was an invited guest of Tutto Gusto and Via Napoli, however my opinions are my own.






October 3, 2015

French Family Meal Traditions - Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Deb's Digest Blog

New this year at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival is a dining experience entitled: French Family Meal Traditions, held in Monsieur Paul (France Epcot). This has replaced the long standing French Regional Lunch.

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"For the past few years our team from Monsieur Paul has been delighting you with delicious French Regional Lunches. This year, take a trip back home where each week one of our chefs will prepare a favorite meal from their childhood."

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Eric Weistroffer, Director of Operations, Chefs de France, shared that on Sundays, most everything is closed in France and families get together to cook and eat and share. This new Festival event, French Family Traditions, reflects that age old tradition.

Let me start by saying I"m not a huge fan of either traditional French cuisine or French wines. For me, the cuisine is very heavy and relies too much on sauces. That said, I do love the lighter fare and desserts that can be found at Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles and of course L'Artisan des Glaces. I wasn't expecting to be wowed at lunch but I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it.

Our French Family Meal was served at a wonderful, enjoyable pace. We dined from noon to 3:00pm and never felt rushed to finish a course. All the while, the wines kept flowing!

Our meal began with Alluette au fromage, Cheese Stick ...

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... accompanied by a Cocktail La Pressee - Grand Marnier Titanium, lemon juice, simple syrup, raspberries and sparkling wine.

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Everyone at the table agreed the cheese sticks were light and tasty and the cocktail was flavorful. It went down way too easily!!!!

We also had lovely warm French rolls to accompany our meal.

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Next was Quiche Lorraine - traditional Quiche Lorraine with ham and cheese.

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This was paired with a 2014, Vouvray, Val de Loire.

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You might be thinking, big deal, quiche, but as each of us savored the first bites we all commented on the lightness and flavorful blend of the Gruyere cheese and ingredients. We were all pleasantly surprised how much we enjoyed the wine. The side salad had a delightful light dressing of mustard, oil and vinegar. The Vouvray was an excellent choice with the quiche.

Our main course was the Blanquette de veau en cocotte Le Creuset - White veal ragout served with rice, carrots, mushrooms and baby onions. It was paired with a Chinon, Le Haut de Presle, Marquis de Goulain, 2014.

Eric likened the Blanquette to a stew and said this is a very old family tradition. He encouraged us to simply add the rice to the mixture before we began tasting.

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The Blanquette, served in a hot Le Cresuset (pot), was very rich and creamy. The veal and the vegetables melded together in a most delicious ragout. While I enjoyed the flavors, I stopped eating long before my table-mates due to the heaviness and richness; most of them ate the entire dish.

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Eric explained that since most people in the room enjoy red wine, he paired the Blanquette with a Chinon. He described it as light, crisp and full of ripe fruit. Personally, I didn't care for it at all, though it tasted a bit better with the Blanquette. I don't think any of us were fans and no one finished their glass. The earlier Vouvray would have paired much better.

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Next up our Fromage or cheese course. We we served a creamy wedge of Brie, accompanied by walnuts, grapes and a walnut raisin bread (which takes 2 days to make). The bread and grapes really went well with the Brie, which I spread on the bread, and enjoyed.

This was paired with a Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau de Ricaud, 2012. I and my tablemates enjoyed the Bordeux.

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Finally Dessert! Oh my, all of us were so full and weren't sure we would have room, but surprisingly we all managed several tastes. The Macaron a'l'ancienne was a light almond macaron that sandwiched a bitter chocolate mousse; a side of hazelnut ice cream which was on top of a thin layer of crushed hazelnuts, all plated with a vanilla and chocolate sauce.

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The dessert was paired with a sparkling wine, Cremant de Bourgogne, JCB21, N.V. The wine was a perfect refreshing finish to conclude our French Family Meal.

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The entire Kitchen and Server team gathered at the conclusion of our meal and they all received a hearty applause.

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The Verdict: I enjoyed the lunch. Sometimes it is good to step out of your comfort zone. In my opinion this event is well worth the $95+ price and I highly recommend it. Everyone at the table agreed!

As of the time of this writing, there are still tickets available on most dates for the French Family Lunch.

WHERE: Monsieur Paul, France pavilion in Epcot
WHEN: Select Fridays and Sundays from noon to 3:30 p.m.

MENU Each weekend has a new menu, however the Friday and Sunday meals are the same menu.

PRICE: $95 per person plus tax, gratuity included

DISCLOSURE: I was an invited media guest of Walt Disney World at this event, but this did not affect my review. My opinions are my own.

September 27, 2014

Eat to the Beat Dinner Package - Info and Review

Deb's Digest Blog

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New to Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival this year are the Eat to the Beat Dinner packages. Available on select nights, for a set price you dine at a select Epcot restaurant and get a guaranteed seat in a reserved area for the concert.

THE FACTS

When you book this package, you will choose your restaurant, dining time and concert time from what is available. For your meal you will received an appetizer, entree, dessert, non-alcoholic non-specialty beverage, or a full buffet. At the conclusion of your meal you receive your "ticket" to the reserved seating area at the American Gardens theater.

For those who have done the Candlelight Processional package, it is very similar. You do NOT have to book a package to see the show. You are still able to line up for a seat, to the right of the theater as you face it.

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Dining Plans: While the Magic Your Way Quick Service package is not eligible, the other dining plans can be used as follow:

-- Magic Your Way Plus Dining: 2 Table Service entitlements
-- Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining: 2 Table Service entitlements
-- Magic Your Way Premium Package
-- Magic Your Way Platinum Package

You can book either a lunch or dinner. Lunch is less expensive. The price includes tax but not gratuity.

Lunch prices for adults range from $34.99 (Biergarten) to $59.99 for Les Chefs de France, Tokyo Dining, and Teppan Edo. Children's meals are considerably less and range from $12.99 to $15.99.

Dinner prices for adults range from $49.99 at Nine Dragons and Restaurant Marakesh to $74.99 at Les Chefs de France. Again, children's meals are much less ranging for dinnerfrom $16.75 to $28.99.

We have all the prices listed on our Eat to the Beat Page.

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OUR EXPERIENCE

I'm not usually a dinner package person, but since this is it new in 2014, I wanted to give it a try. The reason I typically don't do the packages is because it is way too much food for me and so I don't feel as though they are a good buy, again, for me.

Even though I booked the package on the first day of reservations, Via Napoli was not available as a dining location for the first night of the Pointer Sisters. So, we opted for Tutto Italia.

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There was a special check-in kiosk right next to the regular check-in desk at Tutto Italia. We were told to return to the kiosk after our meal with our paid receipt and we would receive our "tickets" for the reserved seating. You get a sticker to put on your shirt to identify you for your concert time.

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The price for this location is $66.99 per person including tax but NOT gratuity.

The food was very good except for the Sole. Linda felt while the flavors were very good, the fish itself was undercooked. We both agreed the winner of the evening was the Tortino di Zucchine. In fact, we would go back just for that! Our server was very good and the manager that assisted with my food allergy went over the top. All in all a very good dining experience.


My meal came to: $55.00

Appetizer: Fiori di Latte Calda - House-made whole milk mozzarella served with warm roasted pomodorini, extra virgin olive oil and focaccia $18.00

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Entree: Pollo al Forno - Roasted chicken, rosemary, lemon, farro risotto, Pancetta $26.00

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Dessert: Mocha Tiramisu
- Mascarpone, Espresso, Savoiardi biscuits, chocolate $11.00

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Linda's meal totaled: $52.00

Appetizer: Tortino di Zucchine - Baked zucchini, pomodoro, mozzarella, Parmesan $13.00

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Entree: Filetto di Sogliola - Filet of sole, cream sauce, white asparagus, lemons, capers $30.00

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Dessert: Cannoli - Crisp pastry filled with sweet Ricotta, chocolate, candied orange $9.00

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For two persons our bill was $142.69 before gratuity. Our server was quite good so we tipped $25 bringing our total to $167.79 or $83 and change each.

The food at Tutto Italia was very good however we wouldn't have had the same items were we paying with cash. We would have never ordered dessert and probably would have just ordered one salad appetizer to share. In fact, given that it is Food and Wine time, we would have just noshed at a couple of the marketplaces for dinner. Or perhaps eaten lighter at a quick service location. It was too hot out for such a heavy meal.

The reserved seating in the American Gardens theater was REALLY nice. We were in a great location, about 5 rows back, left of center stage. We were under cover, also very nice since it had been pouring rain off and on most of the evening.

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Folks were in line for the package seating a good 45 minutes or more prior to the concert. For us, it was very nice to arrive about 20 minutes before show time, the line for reserved seating had already emptied into the theater and we still had good seats.

Also, if you are a Disney Chase Visa holder, stop by the lounge. Sometimes there are reserved concert seating tickets you can get for the day of on the weekends. Those seats are the last 2 rows of the front section.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Just like everything else, it is all about what is of value to you and what are your priorities.

Once you purchase the package you are locked in. There are no refunds. If we didn't have the package we may have skipped going to the show we did and probably would have tried the following night. As I said, it was raining, at times quite hard.

So the question is, how much are you willing to pay for a reserved seating area that is under cover.

If there is an act you have been longing to see and don't want to miss them, then this package may work for you.

If you are concerned about the weather (rain), then perhaps this package is for you.

If you don't want to wait in the standby line for a fair amount of time, then perhaps this package is for you.

However, for the first week of concerts, the standby lines have not been bad. The only thing has been the unpredictable rain storms.

Let us know what you think about the package. Worth it or not?!

October 27, 2012

Lasseter Family Winery Beverage Seminar Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Deb Wills

The Culinary and Beverage seminars held during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival are a great way to try new foods and wines at a reasonable price. For $11-$14, you can taste 3 wines at the beverage seminars, or 2-3 foods at the culinary seminars and see what you think. I've been surprised at some seminars, things I didn't expect to like, I did; and things I thought I'd love I didn't. A visit to the Food and Wine Festival should include at least one of these seminars.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The seminar on October 17 and 18th were, The Lasseter Family Wines, Sonoma California. As soon as I saw them announced I signed up for both sessions. It was clear that Nancy Lasseter would be the presenter (no expectations John would attend). I had enjoyed one of their wines at the Carthay Circle restaurant at Disney California Adventure earlier this year, and knew I would want to sample more.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

All Lasseter Family Wines are blends and at both seminars we would be tasting the same three wines, Enjoue, Paysage and Amoureux. (I should note that they did change their presentations from one day to the next. Some but not all information was repeated.)

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Imagine our delight when we arrived and saw John Lasseter on the stage with his wife Nancy.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Together they shared the story of the winery and their wine making philosophy. "Our wines are crafted in an Old World-style, using Bordeaux and Rhône varietals to create unique blends. Estate-grown and bottled, our blends incorporate Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and grapes grown on our 27 acre vineyard property in Sonoma Valley, CA."

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

John joked at one point that he keeps his day job so Nancy can keep her day job!

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The Lasseter Family Crest - on a trip to Europe they visited with Roy Disney's family and saw that they had a crest. Nancy and John decided to create their own family crest. The bee is John, the Rose, Nancy, the 5 grapes represent their five sons.

It is abundantly clear that the Lasseters have poured their hearts and souls into their winery.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Each wine has a unique name that is personal to an experience they have had.

The first wine we tasted was a rose blend called Enjoue. "Our love of the dry rosé wines of southern France began while dining at a café terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Memories of that afternoon were the inspiration for our rosé. The name, Enjoué, a French word meaning "joyful; playful; lighthearted; sunny; buoyant; cheerful" captures the essence of this experience. "

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The website says: "The zesty acidity, supple texture and a long, lingering finish allow this rosé to boldly pair with a wide variety of foods,seducing even the most skeptical red wine drinker. To us, it is a refreshing taste of summer and sunshine even on a winter's day."

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Indeed it got the attention of this red wine lover! Initially I dismissed the wine as I am not a fan of blush wines. However, I was greatly surprised to taste this refreshing flavorful wine, so much so I purchased a bottle. Perfect for summer evenings or really anytime! The wine has three red varietals Syrah, Grenache and Mourvadre.

The second wine we tasted is the Paysage. "Paysage, a French word meaning 'landscape painting' or 'countryside', evoking fond memories of St. Emillion's beautiful terrain and scenery and the blended wines made there. As our inaugural wine, it signifies the inspiration for Lasseter Family Winery. To us, this wine represents a painting of estate grapes nurtured on a rocky bench in the heart of Sonoma Valley and epitomizes how the family views different elements blended into a plein air painting, or in this case, blended into a Bordeaux-style wine."
The Paysage is 2% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Suvignon, 27% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc.


Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival


Finally the Amoureux "We chose the name Amoureux, a French word meaning 'lovers', because this Malbec blend is reminiscent of when we first fell in love. We discovered Malbec while honeymooning in Sonoma; to this day, it holds a sentimental place in our hearts and delights our palates."

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

I totally enjoyed each of the three wines, all very different and unique.

Soon the wine tasting was done and it was time for wine and Pixar trivia. The prizes were logo items from the winery

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

And all too soon, the hour was past and time to head to the bottle signing.

Bottle Signing - after a wine presentation, the winemaker/owner is sometimes avaialble to sign bottles of their wine purchased at the Festival Center Store. I have never had a bottle of wine signed before and learned a lot. Read up so you don't make the same mistakes I do.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The first day I carefully took the 2 signed bottles and placed them inside the box provided by Disney. By the time I got home (about half hour later) and opened the boxes the writing was smeared! ACK! But quickly remembered I'd be returning the following day.

The next day I purchased 2 bottles and carefully let them air dry for about 20 minutes. I lightly brushed one with my finger and it seemed dry. This time I wrapped them in tissue paper and put them in the box. Again, when I got home, there was smearing, but not nearly to the extent of the first day.

Then today, I was getting ready to put one of the empty signed bottles on display and didn't realize my hand was still wet, and there went a few more letters off the bottle.

Anyone out there have some tips for me ?????


Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival


Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

A special thanks to both Nancy and John Lasseter. They are so gracious and wonderful to meet! I hope to one day visit their winery in Sonoma California (visitors must make an appointment in advance.)


October 23, 2012

Italian Regional Food and Wine Luncheon - Epcot Food and Wine Event

Deb Wills

Italy is hosting three Food and Wine special events this year and any one of them is worth a try.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

First, the Italian Food and Beer Pairing at Via Napoli which Linda already blogged about,

Then there is the Italian Food and Wine Pairing, also at Via Napoli, which we have yet to blog about.

Finally, brand new this year, is the Italian Regional Food and Wine Luncheon at Tutto Gusto.

"The new Tutto Gusto wine pairing event will showcase a variety of regional Italian wines. These wines have been selected to pair perfectly with freshly prepared Italian dishes. The pairings will be presented in the new Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar that has been modeled on an authentic rustic Italian wine cellar."

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Our luncheon featured the wines of San Giuseppe, located in NE Italy! Owner Bob Musso was at the event and I so enjoyed talking with him. Bob not only spoke to the entire group about each wine, but worked his way around to each table several times chatting about his wines and answering questions. His enthusiasm and knowledge really added to the event.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The staff at Tutto Gusto was also excellent and kept our bread plates full of the yummy focaccio and our glasses filled with our choice of still or sparkling water (Pelligrino).

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Once I saw the menu, I alerted one of the Cast Members about my shell-fish allergy. Soon, Dan, the restaurant manager, was over to explain what alternatives they were able to offer. I was thrilled!

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Let's get started with the food and wine:

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Gamberi al Miele di Castagne Shrimp, Artichokes, White Wine Chestnut Honey
Served with San Giuseppe, Presecco, 2010

The artichokes were fried and had a light crust, the shrimp steamed and complemented by the chesnut honey.

The Prosecco, a single vintage brut, was perfect for our opening wine with it's light crispness.

My substitute was a fresh green salad with a light Italian vinaigrette. I was happy to start off light knowing what was in store for us.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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Next .....................

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Risotto alla Milanese Carnaroli rice, saffron, sweet Italian sausage
San Giuseppe, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010


Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


The risotto - OMG (oh my gosh!). It was done al dente, perfect for my tastes (although several at our table wished it were cooked a bit more). Creamy and luscious, the flavors melted in my mouth. The red sauce was very light and the sausage turned out to be a small touch blended in the red sauce. I don't think any of us tasted the sausage, but we didn't need to. Each person at the table finished their bowl and most of us wanted to pick it up and lick it! Yes, it was THAT good. I asked if it were served in any of the restaurants and learned it is available with seafood in Tutto Italia.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The risotto was paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, which should have worked well. However, of all the wines we tasted, the Sauvignon Blanc was my least favorite. It was very earthy, grassy and almost, well, gravelly.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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Course number 3.....

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Caciucco Livornese con "Fett'Unta" Fish and Seafood Soup, Garlic Crostini
San Giuseppe, Chicco D'Uva, 2008
Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The soup was light with a slightly sweet taste. There were scallops, mussels, clams, white fish and a light broth.

My substitute was Zucchini Parmesan. Another OMG, it was SO yummy. Paper thin slices of zucchini layered with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese, topped off with fresh basil. More please?

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Chicco D'Uva wine was medium bodied and dryy' it went well with the food.


Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


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Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Parmigiano Reggiano - Grapes and Parmesan Cheese
San Giuseppe, Ripasso, 2008

While the Parmesan cheese didn't excite too many at my table, I LOVE it, especially with a good red wine. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself.

The grapes for the Ripasso are from the Negrar Hills of Verona Italy; 70% Covina Veronese, 15% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella

Loved the Ripasso, the most full bodied of the wines we tasted. " San Giuseppe's master craftsmen place the grapes of this Valpolicella through a double process to ensure its rich, velvety smooth taste. After an initial fermentation, the young wine is mixed with just-pressed Amarone skins to undergo a second fermentation or ripasso. This process enriches the wine, adding body, rounded texture and a complex bouquet. The wine is then matured in oak barrels to obtain exceptional balance and harmony."

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And our final course

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Zabaglione Freddo al Cioccolato Marsala Wine Custard, Strawberry, Capri Lemon Liqueur
San Giuseppe, Moscato, NV

The dessert was light and flavorful. A perfect ending.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Moscato was a pleasant surprise. We were all expecting a heavy sweet wine, but it had a soft sweetness and tiny light bubbles that made it refreshing and a nice complement to the dessert.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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Some of the San Giuseppe wines can be found in local stores, Publix for those in Florida.
The prices are reasonable (all estimated under $20/bottle except the Ripasso around $25) and the wines are worth a taste.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The event started a bit late but once the food and wine began to flow, I don't think anyone cared. It was nicely paced and lasted about 2 hours. I do wish the Chef had come out more often to talk about the food. I enjoyed myself and will return if offered next year.

You may still be able to sign up as the lunch is offered Wednesdays and Saturdays, Noon-2:00pm for $75 plus tax (gratuity included). You also need your own theme park admission. A "regular" told us each week has the same food, so Wed and Sat will serve the same and then it changes the next week.


October 22, 2012

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Deb Wills

The Discovery of Chocolate is offered on select Sunday afternoons, during the Food and Wine Festival. Billed as "an opportunity to learn and taste more about chocolate from professional "chocolatiers," the tastings include chocolate samplings, chocolate savory and dessert, with spirited beverages and/or paired wines." Price: $75 per person plus tax - Theme Park admission required and lasts about 90 minutes. I had heard mixed reviews about the Discovery of Chocolate seminars which began last year. Some folks said they were awesome, others were "eh" with their review so I decided to see for myself.

I attended the first one of this year's festival on October 14: Chef Sarah Kosikowski hosted by Valrhona.

As with most of the events, this one takes place in the Festival Center (old Wonders of Life building).

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Our tables were pre-assigned and each had 4 small containers with several "feves"inside. The feve is a small oval shaped chocolate perfect for baking or tasting.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event


Also at our seats was small glass of Chocolate Liquor. While the aroma was heavenly, unfortunately for me, the taste wasn't. This particular liquor had hot chili in it, too spicy for me!

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

The seminar was hosted by Pam Smith, RD, LDN, a regular host at the Epcot Food and Wine seminars.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

She introduced the guest presenter, Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski. Chef Sarah's resume already resembles a "who's who" and includes: a 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards nomination in the "Rising Star Chef" category; previous executive pastry chef at Michael Mina at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas; worked as executive pastry chef at the four-star Fleur de Lys in Las Vegas under the direction of Chefs Laurent Pillard; worked at The French Laundry in Yountville, California, and the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room, in San Francisco. She is also the first female Corporate Pastry Chef for Valrhona Chocolate.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event


Today's tasting would include 4 types of chocolate, 2 beverages and 2 desserts.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Sarah gave a great overview of the Valrhona Chocolate company , established in 1922 in the Rhone Valley of France. Many machines in the factory are still original machines.

The company is committed to the creation of unique artisan quality chocolates with complex and balanced flavors. This commitment to quality is matched only by the brands devotion to sustainable business practices. Its tradition of creativity, expertise in taste, and a strict adherence to traditional chocolate-making methods make it the standard bearer in the industry.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Our chocolate tasting included:

Guanaja - 70% Cacao - Guanaja develops extraordinary bitterness, revealing whole aromatic range of warm notes.

Manjari - 64% Cacao - Fresh, acidic, sharp bouquet with red fruit notes.

Caramelia - 36% Milk Chocolate Caramel - caramélia uses genuine dairy-based caramel (from real skim milk and butter) as a main ingredient.

and Ivoire - White Chocolate - smooth and milky, gives a fresh and vanilla sensation.

At some point a glass of Rosa Regale was poured for each of us as well.

Chef Sarah shared that like wines, chocolates are also affected by different climates and soil profiles.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

I learned a great deal about chocolate during this seminar including that some people actually let the chocolate melt between their tongue and the roof of their mouth to taste the complexities of the morsel ( Don't most of us just bite, chew and swallow? :) We learned that as the chocolate warms, the flavors really emerge.

Soon it was time for cooking and Chef Sarah made a Smoked Guanaja Ganach that went between to shortbread like cookies and a Coconut Raspberry Transparence.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Both were served to us to enjoy:

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Overall impression: This was my first Discovery of Chocolate and originally I was a tad leery of the $75 price tag. That said, I enjoyed myself and learned a fair amount about chocolate too! I"m really glad I attended this seminar but don't think I would do it again. For me, I'd rather spent the money at a wine tasting :).

There are 4 Discovery of Chocolate seminars still to come during this year's festival:

And the others still to come are:
October 28: Lauren Deitsch hosted by Lake Champlain Chocolates - Burlington, VT
November 4: Julian Rose, Moonstruck Chocolates, hosted by Barry Callebaut
November 11: Julian Rose, Moonstruck Chocolates, hosted by Barry Callebaut

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event


October 8, 2012

Epcot Food and Wine -- Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars Wine Tasting

Deb Wills

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One of the less expensive events to attend at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival are the beverage and culinary demonstrations held daily in the Festival Center.

The beverage seminars are either $14 or $11 and advance reservations are recommended. The popular beverages and culinary demos will sell out! Tables in Wonderland members, Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Golden Oak residents are able to purchase a $2 discounted ticket for these events Monday through Thursday ONLY. Discounted reservations must be made via telephone at 407-WDW-FEST.

Today I attended the Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars tasting at $14 per person.

Upon entering the Festival Center turn left and look for the "Check-In" area. You'll need photo ID to pick up your tickets for the day (beverage and culinary seminars).

TIP: You can only pick up tickets for the current day. Be sure to bring your list of what seminars you reserved and pick up all the tickets at one time.

After getting your tickets, continue left to the vineyard stage and wait to be seated, or if you have extra time, visit the marketplace and cafe. We decided to get a fruit and cheese plate to nosh on before the tasting. At $5.39 plus tax, it was plenty for the 2 of us to share.

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Our presentation today was given by Charlie Campbell, National Sales Manager at Silver Oak/Twomey.

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You never know until that day who will be presenting. Sometimes is the owner, winemaker or in this case, a member of the sales team.

TIP: If it is the owner or winemaker doing the presentation, they are sometimes available for a bottle signing after the talk. Check at the wine store prior to your seminar to find out.

Traditionally, three wines are poured at these tastings. There is a pitcher of ice water and small cups as well as a few (and I do mean few) crackers.

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Also provided is a page with the wines you are tasting and a pencil to take notes.
TIP: The pencil is hard to read on the front of the page, flip it over and you'll be able to read your notes much better than I did! Or bring a pen to take notes with.

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The three wines we tasted: 2011 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc, Twomey Merlot, and the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Silver Oak is an American family owned winery and has been in business for 40 years.
Twomey and Silver Oak are owned by the same family. Silver Oak focuses solely on Cabernet Sauvigon, while Towmey produces Savignon Blanc, Merlot and 4 different Pinot Noirs.

I had never heard of Twomey Cellars before so I was glad to learn about them. We really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc (which actually was much better than the Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc we had the night before at dinner). The Twomey wine was crisper and filled the mouth with lots of flavors. The Duckhorn was lighter with a short finish.

It was explained to us that "Twomey's founding winemaker, Daniel Baron, developed his passion for Merlot during the early 1980s while working in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. For the Twomey Merlot, made at the winery's Calistoga location, Daniel uses a method known as soutirage traditionnel. Refined for centuries in Pomerol, soutirage traditionnel is a slow, careful process of decanting the wine from one barrel to another. At Twomey, this racking is done six times during the 18 months of aging. It is considered the ideal way to clarify red wine to crystal-clear brilliance while drawing its fruit characteristics forward and softening its tannins."

We enjoyed the merlot (which sometimes is blended with up to 10% cabernet franc). It had soft tannins and you could taste chocolate and dark fruits.

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Last, but not least, we tasted the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Two types of Cabernet are produced by Silver Oak. The first is from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma, the second from Napa Valley.

"Our 2007 Napa Valley, a blend of wine from vineyards throughout the appellation, is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2008 and transferred the wine to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us to achieve a balance of the wine's primary elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine was then aged in barrel for approximately 25 months and another 20 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release."

The 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (100% cabernet) is a dark, rich full-bodied wine with great tannic structure and mouth-feel. It has a garnet color and a nose of ripe boysenberries, cherry liqueur, dark chocolate, sandalwood and a hint of roasting meat. On the palate, it is mouth-coating and incredibly rich in umami. It has a very long, savory finish with the slight grip of fine-grained tannins. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2030.

TIP: If you are a fan of Silver Oak and want to add a bottle to your collection... The Festival Center sells the 2007 Alexander Valley Cab for $55; this is about $20 less than retail or anything you'll find on the internet.

I highly recommend these beverage seminars as a great way to taste and learn about the various wines and winemakers!

NOTE: Some information has been taken from the website for Twomey Cellars and Silver Oak. If you are visiting California and wish to tour the winery, you must make advance reservations.

August 12, 2012

DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

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Make sure you make the most of your time at Disney World's Food & Wine Festival!

Now is the time to make plans for Epcot's Food and Wine Festival and the best resource in e-book format, is the DFB 2012 Mini-Guide to Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This great e-book debuted last year to great reviews (including ours).

Festival Booking Begins Tuesday, August 14th! Be Prepared!!

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The DFB Guide e-Book is 160 pages of in-depth information, including significant updates and 35 pages of brand new information! If you were one of the many who bought the guide last year, you know how important these details are.


We've noted all of the new marketplace booth menu items, new events, and more! Plus, we've added a brand new FAQ section and even more bonus items (including new booth crawls and touring strategies)!

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Don't get shut out of popular events, and don't wait in winding lines! We've had years of experience with the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and we're excited to share our most exclusive information!

Remember, if you only have a few days (or less) to spend at the Festival, you want to be sure you're making the right choices!


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Special Features in this edition!

Each World Showcase booth has its own page, complete with photos of the booths AND food as well as a full menu.

Full chapter on What's NEW at the 2012 Festival is great for veterans and those who have been to the festival before.

Brand new FAQ section answering broad and not-so-broad questions like "Are the booths open in the rain?", "Are the booths open during Extra Magic Hours?", and "Is there a way to pay one price for an all-you-can-eat option?"

Eleven themed booth crawls, including one for kids.

Customized touring strategies that let us do the planning for you! These include visiting for one day, two days, half-days, with kids, on a budget, and more.


Click on our link and receive a $3 discount when you enter the code ALLEARS!

September 30, 2011

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise

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The 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine festival officially opened today. Deb Koma and I are here to attend events and dine at the food booths and bring you the latest coverage.

Since we were at the First Bites reception last night, I got a chance to look around at some of this year's merchandise. Lots of fun stuff, some new, some repeats of years past - but all sporting this year's logo.


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise


2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Merchandise

November 19, 2008

Incredible Strength Act at Party for the Senses

I attended the last 2008 Party for the Senses in November. This year, as others have reported, the Cirque entertainers were replaced.

Here is one of the entertainment groups. These 2 gentlemen were AMAZING! I couldn't stop watching them. The photos won't do their strength justice, but at least you'll get a flavor of their performance.

If anyone knows their name, please let me know.

Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment

Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment


Party for the Senses 2008 - Entertainment

October 14, 2007

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Souvenirs

Every year the Food and Wine Festival sports new logos and merchandise for you to purchase, this year is no exception.

There is plenty of merchandise to choose from, both with and without Food and Wine logos. Here are just a few of the items I found in the Festival Marketplace in the Wonders of Life pavilion.

Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise

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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Chef Mickey Plushes cost $9.95 plus tax.
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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Festival Aprons

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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Mugs cost $12.00 plus tax.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trivets
Trivets cost $12.00 plus tax.

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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Wine Store - if you see something you like, get it! They do sell out of popular wines as the Festival goes on.

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Epcot Food and Wine store
Wine Store
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Epcot Food and Wine Limited Edition Pins
Limited Edition pins

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Poster
Festival poster is $16 unframed. Artist does signings off and on during the festival.

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About Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Epcot's Food and Wine Festival category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival is the previous category.

Harambe Nights is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.