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Part 1: A family's trip through Epcot's Food & Wine Festival


As my kids have gotten older, they have come to appreciate, and even look forward to, the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival almost as much as my husband and I do. Here, I'll share our family's favorites. Of course, every child's palate is different, but perhaps this guide will help your family find some new favorites you might not have considered.

Years of experience have taught my family that we need at least two visits to the event to be able sample everything that interests us. No matter which side of the World Showcase we start on -- and even with sharing the appetizer-size portions among our family of four -- we cannot make it past the American Adventure with any room left in our bellies.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Entrance

One thing we always start with is collecting a Marketplace Discovery Passport for each person in our group. My children -- ages 12 and 10 -- enjoy collecting the stamps at each marketplace, and the small books make a handy menu guide for the adults. We also purchase two of the Food & Wine Festival gift cards, so each child can wear one and swipe it for our purchases. Yes, they will fight over who gets the privilege of paying at each stop, so having their own cards works well.

This year, we began on the right and traveled counterclockwise around the promenade. At the first food booth, Scotland, my husband was excited to find the Innis & Gunn Original, Oak Aged Beer ($3.50), which he had sampled in previous years at a tasting seminar. Since that first event, he hasn't found it anywhere in Central Florida and was anticipating its return to the festival. It's his favorite beer selection at the festival, and that's saying a lot for someone who enjoys a range of beers from IPAs to stouts to American craft beers offered at the event.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Hawaii Pork Slider

My son, daughter and I slipped over to the adjacent Hawaii booth for one of our perennial favorites: a Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mustard ($3.75). Everyone in my family loves this item, though the kids prefer theirs "naked" (without the chutney and mayo). A tip: Don't hesitate to ask cast members if you would like an item prepared without some of the ingredients. If it is possible to modify a dish, they are happy to do so.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Puerto Rico

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Tostones Sangriiia

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Braised Beef Lemonade

I persuaded the kids to skip the Desserts & Champagne kiosk early in our rounds with a promise of something sweet later in the night. Instead, we joined the line at the Puerto Rico marketplace, one we all had been looking forward to. There we sampled the Tostones with mayo ketchup ($3.50), which lived up to others we enjoy regularly in the Orlando area. My daughter and my husband tried the Slow Braised Beef with Puerto Rican-Grown Rice ($4.50), and they confirmed what I thought when I tried this dish at a preview: It didn't have as much flavor as I expected. The kids sipped the non-alcoholic San Juan Breeze ($2.75), a lemonade-flavored drink that they found to be too bitter. The sweet Gasolina Sangriiia Cocktail ($5.50) was a perfect pairing for an adult, however.

We bypassed the Refreshment Port in favor of more international fare, but this would be a good stop for families with picky eaters. Dole is a sponsor, so you will find fried chicken chunks with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce ($8.99), Dole Fruit Squish'ems Apple-Strawberry ($1.39), and Dole Whip Soft-serve ($3.99). Plus, this is the home of the trendy and popular croissant doughnut with cinnamon and sugar ($4.69).

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Fishermans Pie

The Greece marketplace was skipped as my son made a beeline for Canada and its well-known Wild Mushroom Beef Filet with Truffle Butter Sauce from Le Cellier ($7.25). Meanwhile, my husband tried the Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie ($3.25) and a Guiness Draught ($3.50) in Ireland. They both appreciated their selections.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival France Short Ribs

We crossed the bridge and headed into the longest queue of the night in France. There, both children wanted their own servings of the Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes ($5.75), which they sampled more than once last year. It lived up to their memories. While I don't think they would have relished the Escargot Tart, I do think they might like to try the Wheat pasta gratin with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese on another visit.

By this point, we all were on the verge of being pretty full, but we pushed on, saving the Brazil marketplace for the next time. (The Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro ($5.25) returns from last year. It is delicious.)

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Belgium Waffles

As a die-hard Mickey waffle fan, I couldn't wait to get to the Belgium marketplace, where I sampled miniature waffles with Berry Compote and Warm Chocolate Ganache. Both were drizzled with whipped cream ($3.50) and delicious, but the berry topping had more flavor.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Carrot Cake

The other members of my family wanted to reach the Hops & Barley marketplace at the American Adventure, so we passed on Morocco, Japan and Block & Hans. One there, we shared a Fresh-baked carrot cake with Craisins and cream cheese icing ($3.75). I tried this at a Food & Wine Festival preview in July, and the version being sold in the theme park was just as good as the original. My husband sampled the Beer Flight that featured Samuel Adams Octoberfest, New Belgium Snapshot, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat and Leinenkugel's Seasonal Shandy ($9.25). He was happy with all the selections.

At that point, we had to admit defeat, if you could call it that, because none of us could eat another bite. Oh, well, we'll have to go back to eat and drink our way around the other half of World Showplace another time! Luckily for us, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival runs through Nov. 10.

You can see complete menus (and pricing) for the International Marketplaces on the AllEars.Net resource page.


The previous post in this blog was Don't miss this treat: 1-day Memory Maker option at Disney World Halloween parties.

The next post in this blog is At Epcot, Chef Rick Bayless dishes on how to prepare authentic Mexican food.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 16, 2014 5:04 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Don't miss this treat: 1-day Memory Maker option at Disney World Halloween parties.

The next post in this blog is At Epcot, Chef Rick Bayless dishes on how to prepare authentic Mexican food.

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