Thursday, November 9, 2023

Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival 2023 - 2023/11/08

Happy November! We're finally back in Florida from our travels all over the country (and all over the world for that matter) and are starting to get settled back in! We got here just in time for Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival! It'll end on November 18th!

The kids were particularly excited to be trying all sorts of foods. In the days leading up to our trip, for their daily reading, we let them read the Disney Food Blog about all the different foods that were available, along with pictures and reviews. They made a list of their favorites that they for sure wanted to try. 

With 5 people here, we're going to be able to get quite a variety of food and split it up so that we're not overly full after the first few booths. 

Our walk around Epcot starts just outside the World Showcase near Test Track. The Fry Basket was at the top of Ian's list along with their Fry Flight. When talking about it earlier this week, he had the hardest time pronouncing it, constantly saying how he was excited for the Fly Fright. We'd ask him if he thought it would be just a single fly or multiple flies, and if he'd really be scared of getting flies to eat. 

The Fry Flight consisted of Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar fries, BBQ Bacon and smoked Aioli fries, and Sweet Potato Casserole fries with candied pecans, toasted marshmallow cream, and maple bourbon glaze ($7.50). Along with those, Jacob also picked up Adobo Yuca Fries with garlic-cilantro aioli ($5.50). 

Our favorites were the Yuca fries and Sweet Potato fries. Both came out hot and fresh with a great crispiness. The garlic flavor with the yuca was delicious, though some thought it was too much aioli. Theresa doesn't usually care for sweet potato fries but thought these were great! They seemed to be dusted with cinnamon and sugar. All the glaze had sunk to the bottom of the cup, so I had to pour it out to get to it, but these were amazingly tasty. 
There were a couple disappointments. The malt vinegar fries had an okay taste, but not texture. Taking crispy fries and then overly soaking them in vinegar made them soggy. The BBQ bacon fries had such a strong BBQ potato chip flavor that it was overpowering, along with the smokiness. 

Next on our journey was the Brew-Wing Lab at the Odyssey. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker have taken over to bring us all sorts of crazy creations. 

One of those being the talk of the festival Pickle Milkshake ($5.75).

Theresa - You're not really going to get that, are you? 
Joe - Yes, I am. 
Alli - Daddy, why would you get that? 
Joe - Because it's different. 
We are out here to find new flavors that we've never tried before, aren't we? 

A cast member asked Ian if he thought we was going to like it. Ian guessed a 1 out of 10. Aww, the cast member was hoping it would be at least a 3 out of 10. 
The milkshake itself is beautifully presented. A plastic jar with the label on it, a light green frozen concoction with whipped cream. Topped with fresh dill and crisp chocolates that look like pickling spices. 

There's also a whole bunch of different flavor chicken wings. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sticky wings, Garlic Parmesan wings, Orange-Cardamom wings, and Traditional Wings. But none of those are the ones we're getting. No, we're getting the Unnecessarily Spicy, Yet Extremely Tasty Scotch Bonnet Pepper-Curry Wings ($7.50). When I ordered them the cast member took a few moments to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into. 
Cast Member - What heat level can you tolerate? Your tongue will likely go numb for a few minutes. Your lips will be tingling for a while. Your stomach might be upset later... Still good? Alright. One order of Spicy wings coming up!
Luckily I have Jacob here to eat them with me! 

But first, the pickle milkshake. Dig in kids! 

Both of them like regular pickles, but neither of them cared for the pickle milkshake. Just a bite or two. 

I don't particularly care for pickles, but both Jacob and I thought this pickle milkshake wasn't half bad. It's creamy and had a light dill flavor. Jacob pointed out a bit of mint flavor, and I can see that too. It's not going to replace Chocolate any time soon, but I'm happy I tried it. Speaking to another cast member, she loves the pickle milkshakes and would have them all the time if they were available!

And now on to the Spicy Wings! There were 7 tiny wings in the tray, but it's the flavors we're really after. Did they really bring the heat? Turns out that they really did! I didn't get a strong curry flavor, but the spicy scotch bonnet flavor is there. It hits your tongue and starts building. Oddly enough, my mouth can handle spicy foods just fine, but my head likes to break out in sweat. These defintely caused my to start sweating. Jacob had no particular reaction to them. Both of us felt the heat, but by the time we were leaving the Odyssey, all spiciness and tingling had gone away. I've had hotter wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. 

Our journey through the Odyssey took us right to the Mexico pavilion where Theresa had two items on her list. 

The Tostada de Carnitas: Braised Pork on a Fried Corn Tortilla with Black Beans, Avocado Mousse, Queso Fresco and Chives ($7.75) and the Taco de Costilla: Slow-braised Beef Short Rib on a Corn Tortilla with Salsa de Chile Morita, Avocado Mousse and Spring Onions ($8.00).
Smile Theresa!
Theresa - I'm having a hard time smiling for a single $8 taco. I don't care how good it is.  

Our main complaint, which would carry throughout the festival, was the temperature of the food. Many were lukewarm instead of piping hot. The corn tortilla in the taco for instance would have been much tastier if it were heated up (reminiscing of the days when we tried hot corn and flour tortillas in DCA from the Mission Tortilla Factory). 

Sharing a single taco between 5 people was not easy. 

Along with sampling foods from around the world, we're trying to get ideas of what foods we can add to our regular rotation to make at home. Pork Carnitas is definitely going to be added to the list. That meat is so good! The taco was only okay. 

Next we head to India for their Curry-Spiced Crispy Cheese with Mango-Curry ketchup ($5.25). 

All of us like curry well enough, but Jacob loves curry! 

Sadly the Crispy part of it was lost, as these weren't particularly fresh. The cheese inside wasn't mozzarella, but a cheese that is more dense. If they were hotter, maybe it would have been more melty and stringy. Even I would have liked a stronger curry flavor to these cheese sticks. 

At Kenya, we sampled the Kenyan Coffee Barbecued Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato-Corn Mealie Pap and Kachumbari Slaw ($6.50). Theresa likes coffee so why not have her pose with this one? 

But... I didn't taste like coffee at all. We pushed all the roughage aside and tasted the meat and potatoes alone. For being a coffee inspired beef, it was very sweet. Like a sweet bbq sauce had been mixed in. Sadly it wasn't our favorite. 

What is that smell? 
There's no escaping it. It wafts into the walkway all the way from the booth in the back. 
At the Alps, they are serving warm Raclette cheese (heated under a lamp and scraped onto potatoes). 
Despite the odor, Ian has something he's wanting to get from here that outweighs the discomfort. 

Chocolate fondue! Dark Chocolate Fondue with Berries, Pound Cake and Meringues ($5.75).

Along with the cup of chocolate, you get a sampling of different fruits and cake. 

He was not disappointed. The chocolate isn't overly sweet, which goes well with all the sweet fruit. Only problem, if you could call it a problem, is that there's way more chocolate than there is toppings to cover. Theresa pulled out a bag of fruit and we started dipping grapes and other things into the chocolate to use it up. In the end, I finished it off with a spoon. 

On the way through Germany, Ian had to get himself a Salted Caramel Gingerbread cookie. They are so good. 

Our next stop is the America pavilion with their Flavors of America. Theresa read lots of good things about their Chilaquiles. 
Chilaquiles: Corn Tortilla Chips tossed in Salsa Verde with Ranchero Chicken, Queso Fresco, Cilantro-Lime Crema and a Soft-Poached Egg ($6.75). 

The poached egg is interesting to throw in with all those other mexican flavors. I don't think I've ever had this before. Jacob said he's mostly had it as a breakfast item. 

And it was a surprise hit! Lots of good flavors coming together. Jacob and Ian who don't particular care for egg, didn't object when it was mixed in with everything else. Even though we're starting to get full, Theresa was seriously considering going back for another! Of all the things we've had so far, this has been the best value. A good sized portion of a tasty food! 

In Belgium we had the Beer-Braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes ($6.00). 

The meat was fall-apart tender and the gouda mashed potatoes were flavorful. It's inspiring Theresa to make her own braised meats again. Those turn out really tasty. 

Just next door to Belgium (at least on the World Showcase) is Brazil! We've got to try the Brazilian Cheese Bread! Jacob likes it so much, he keeps a bag of frozen cheese bread at home in his freezer. 

Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread ($5)

Unfortunately, these seem to have been sitting around for a little while. They were lukewarm, which made the texture gummy. It's a light cheese flavor, which is still good, but Jacob said he prefers the airfryer version he can make at home. 

As we finish making our way around the World Showcase, Ireland has called to Jacob with its warm pudding cake. 
Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake with Irish cream liqueur custard ($4.75).

They don't skimp on the custard. It's swimming in it. 
The cake was a very soft pudding consistancy and still very warm. The custard was also delicious. 

After splitting the cake into 5ths, Alli ate her entire portion in one bite! 

We end our world tour at something I know everyone should enjoy. The Canada pavilion has two delicious menu items We're sure to love. 
There's the Canadian Filet Mignon and the Cheddar and Bacon soup. 
Canadian Filet Mignon served with mushrooms, Boursin Black Truffle & Sea Salt mashed potatoes and a Boursin Black Truffle & Sea Salt whipped butter ($9.75)
Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup served with a pretzel roll ($6.00)

The filet is delicious, especially when you spread truffle butter across it. There was a heaping pile of mushrooms that Theresa and Alli loved. 
I think the Cheddar Bacon soup is the best thing here, but it would have been a little better if the pretzel bread was actually warmed up instead of cold. I want to use hot bread to dip into my soup. 

Having gone all around the world, and getting a few stamps from a previous visit, we've earned enough stamps for Emile's Fromage Montage. Once you buy 5 qualifying items, you earn a free "completer prize". 

And we've earned enough to get two of them! 
Walking directly to the window at Shimmering Sips to claim it. 

And what is it? 
Strawberry Cheesecake Soft Serve topped with a Mini Cheesecake and Graham Cracker Crumbs
The strawberry cheesecake soft serve ice cream was actually pretty delicious! Even Theresa who doesn't love cheesecake thought it was good. 

We got to try so many different foods, and everyone liked something a little different. It was great to be able to share so we could try lots of things. 
Epcot Food and Wine
Fry flight (Theresa's Favorite)
Yuca fries (Ian's Favorite)
Pickle milkshake
Unnecessarily hot scotch bonnet wings
Taco de costilla
Mexico Tostada
Crisp Curry cheese 
Kenyan BBQ beef
Dark chocolate fondue
Chilaquiles (Alli's Favorite)
Gingerbread Cookie
Braised beef with Gouda mashed potatoes
Brazilian Cheese Bread
         Chocolate Pudding Cake (Jacob's Favorite)
Filet Mignon (2)
Cheddar Bacon Soup (2) (Joe's Favorite)
Completer Strawberry Cheesecake (2)

Tonight has been a fantastic trip around the World, trying lots of new flavors. We're inspired to add some new creations to the meals we make at home. 

1 comment:

  1. That was an international tasting feast experience!...some great ideas for home meals and renewed/new inspirations for making them. I'm sure some of the items would have tasted much, much better if they were fresh off the stove/grill/oven...the flavor is just yummier at that moment! The sweet potato fries from the "Fly Fright :-) " sounded yummy...always having some fruit for snacking came in handy for that extra Chocolate fondue! What a big forewarning on the "Unnecessarily Spicy Wings", only to not quite "burn" either you or Jacob up. That was a fun reading assignment, the Disney Food Blog...great way to further motivate and excite the young readers. EOM