Sunday, February 9, 2014

Revisiting The Food & Wine Festival

A snowy day always makes me want to go through photos from a warmer & sunnier time. Today I found pictures from the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and was immediately reminded that I never shared any photos or reviews after my trip.

My first taste of the F & W was actually the last weekend of the event. I was at WDW for the Jingle Jungle 5K, part of  the runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend- so being able to catch the final weekend of the festival was a big bonus! Prior to my visit, I wrote this post back in October, sharing some of the dishes I was looking forward to. I had been stalking the menus and reviews in the weeks leading up to my visit, so I had a good idea of what I wanted to try.

As expected, there were a lot of hits- as well as a few misses.  Below are some of the highlights, along with a few that didn't quite make the "best of" list...

Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and Singa Sauce
I liked this quite a bit- firm, flavorful, and spicy, with well-cooked rice. 

From the Cheese kiosk:
 Artisinal Cheese Selection, including Wyngaard Goats Gouda with Craisin Bread, Beecher's Flagship
Reserve with Honey,  La Bonne Vie Triple Creme Brie with Apricot Jam.
I loved this- but I'm a sucker when it comes to cheese. Good variety between samples, 
and a decent portion for sharing.

Hops & Barley kiosk:
Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter
A bit of a disappointment- tasty, but too small and too hard to get out of its shell.

Hops & Barley kiosk:
Lobster Roll with Lemon Herb Mayo
Light on the mayo, heavy on the lobster. I  found this very appealing, and it was a decent sized taste- but 
those looking for more of the traditional New England-style roll- with a more traditional amount of 
mayo- might be disappointed.

Refreshment Port:
Pineapple Fritters
One of my all-time favorites. Hot pineapple, crispy fritter batter, a touch of powdered sugar? 
Absolute winner for me. 

Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle, and Rapini
One of several dishes that were...just ok. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either- not memorable.  

 (toasted mushroom, carmelized onion, and cheese bread, with housemade ketchup)
This one should have been a winner for me- I love all these components. It was actually one of my least favorite dishes. It was not at all fresh, and the ketchup seemed straight out of a bottle- and definitely out of place on the dish. Probably the biggest disappointment for me, as I was really looking forward to this one!

Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties
(griddled vegetable cake w/ rutabaga and mashed potatoes)
Delicious- one of my favorites of the festival. Excellent texture, hearty, spiced in a really interesting way. 
I wish this dish was available someplace on a regular basis.

Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress, and Malt Vinaigrette
Another hit for Scotland- moist, flavorful salmon, perfectly cooked, and the cauliflower puree was heavenly.

Shrimp Taco with Purple Cabbage
Tasty, with the just the right amount of kick.

Spinach & Paneer Cheese Pocket
Disappointment here. I've had several spinach & paneer pockets at various restaurants, as well as from the frozen section of my local market- and all were better than this one. The filling was bland, and dough had an off texture.

California Roll
A good quality roll, but with decent California Rolls available nearly everywhere, 
I wouldn't go for this again at the festival.

Escargots Perssillade en Brioche
(Garlic & Parsley Snails in Brioche)
Messy presentation started me off with a negative impression, and it didn't get too much better upon tasting. The snails had a good flavor, but they seemed like they had been sitting around a while. The brioche was soggy, and without the bread caps that originally came with the dish (see end of post for more info).

Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee, and Maple Vinaigrette
Very tasty- fresh and well-cooked, but I would have preferred a skinless piece of fish. 

Brewer's Collection kiosk:
Schofferhofer Grapefruit Beer
I LOVED this beverage. It was the most refreshing beer I've ever had- ice cold, citrusy, light, yet
full of flavor. It's a hefeweizen, and it's made
 with grapefruit juice. The juice is actually blended into the beer 
during the production process, resulting in an alcohol content lower than regular beer.
 It's perfect for strolling the World Showcase on a hot day, and it's delicious. 

The Scottish trio- a winner!
photo includes Seared Salmon, Vegetarian Haggis/Neeps & Tatties, 
and the dessert- a Scottish Banofee Tart

Here's an interesting thing I discovered: the presentation of dishes sometimes varies greatly. My Pineapple Fritters- while delicious- were not at all as visually appealing as some of the photos I had seen of the same dish. There could be several reasons- how busy it is, how far along into the festival we were, etc... but some lost a lot of their appeal on visual aspect alone. Case in point: the Escargots....

               @Mousechow's Escargots, from 
             the early part of the festival- 
they look so good!
@PlustheMagic's Escargots,
 from the last day of the festival-
a mess, and no brioche caps!

(Mental note: hit next year's festival prior to the final weekend!)


Just a sampling, from my first Food & Wine Festival. Did you attend the festival this year? What were some of your favorites? Tell us about it in the comments....

1 comment:

  1. Ah, what great memories you are bringing back for me...wish I was there again right now! Luckily....I'll be going back for the Flower and Garden show and I hear there will be food kiosks there this year...hooray!

    My absolute favorite booth was Scotland. I agree with you 100% on that review. I surprised myself - I never would have thought Scotland would take the cake - but all three tastes you pictured above were AWESOME!

    Thanks for the great post!