Now that the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is under way, Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer, put out her top 10 new tastes for this years Festival.
All sorts of special events, cooking demos and parties make the 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival worth the trip, but for us, it’s the simple pleasure of noshing and sipping our way around World Showcase that is one of the most memorable parts of the 53-day festival (the longest ever) that debuts Friday, September 19, and runs through November 10.
This is the seventh year that Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann has been at the helm, and every year he gets a little more authentic, a little more creative. Thirty-five new food offerings debut this year, requiring multiple visits to truly savor each taste.
And while it may be nearly impossible to appreciate every single dish paired with tasting-sized servings of wine, beer (and non-alcoholic beverages) at the 25+ Marketplaces, we’ve done a little homework and are suggesting the Top 10 new, “don’t-miss” dishes for 2014.
Here, in no certain order, are 10 of the new dishes worth a taste, even if you have to share to make it all the way around:
- Lobster Alfredo at the Hops & Barley Marketplace, a bowl with warm macaroni noodles, generous bits of lobster and a crunch topping. Add a 6-ounce pour of crisp Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat.
- Eat dessert first: you don’t want to miss the rich, velvety caramel crème brûlée with fleur de sel at the France Marketplace. Pair it with a flute of Sparkling Pomegranate Kir.
- A hearty, healthful dish is Patagonia’s Verlasso salmon, served with quinoa salad and a flourish of garlicky arugula chimichurri. Add a pour of the fruity Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier.
- At the Farm Fresh Marketplace, there’s the perfect taste of Southern comfort food: griddled “Yard Bird” (chicken thigh) with collards and a dollop of the house-made habanero sauce. Just for fun, add a Florida wine (yes, Florida), the Key Limen-Key Lime Wine from Florida Orange Groves.
- Also at Farm Fresh, the Florida grass-fed beef slider with a scoop of kicky pimento cheese melting over the warm burger was another don’t-miss. We added the Beer Flight (four 4-ounce servings): I-4 IPA, Ba Ba Black Lager, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale.
- Even if the idea of snails is not for you, give it a try. They’ve jazzed up the escargot in France, now served with three tender snails in pastry with lots of garlic, spinach, bacon and Parmesan. Be elegant and pair with a cool Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche.
- The Greece marketplace has added hearty Vegetarian Moussaka, made with eggplant and potatoes and a rich béchamel sauce. Try it with Domaine Skouras Moscofilero, a white wine with rich flavors of citrus and tropical fruits. (We also loved sipping the Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur.)
- For a taste of the tropics, it’s the Ensalada de Carrucho, Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro at the new Puerto Rico Marketplace along the Rose Walk leading to World Showcase Plaza. Pair it with Medalla light beer.
- Canada’s Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette deserves a pour of the Canada Mission Hill Family Estate Syrah.
- Desserts & Champagne Marketplace is always our final stop, and we can recommend this year’s trio: Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll and Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake. Best of all, they’re now serving Dom Pérignon Champagne. Life is good.
And we still have to make room for a few returning favorites: the grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and crunch potato chips in Australia; crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro in Brazil; Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise in Hawaii, and the kimchi dog with spicy mustard sauce in South Korea.
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