International Food & Wine Festival is a delight for the senses
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 13:10
This year, as Epcot celebrated its 30th anniversary, it also celebrated the 17th anniversary of the annual International Food & Wine Festival.
The International Food & Wine Festival, which runs from Sept. 28 to Nov. 12, features 29 booths from various countries offering unique food and beverage selections from each region. With a plethora of tapas-like dishes that are all cooked to order, the Food & Wine Festival is one of the most popular tourist and local attractions during the fall.
“The Food & Wine Festival was fantastic,” Vanessa Rivera, a UCF graduate student, said of her first Food & Wine experience. “You get to sample foods from around the world, and it’s the perfect time of year, weather-wise, to be out in the Florida sun. I will definitely be visiting the Food & Wine Festival again this year.”
In addition to the food kiosks, Epcot’s Festival Center is one of the most appealing parts of the Food & Wine Festival. The Festival Center holds various seminars that park-goers can sign up for. Individuals can attend cooking seminars and wine tastings, which start at $14 per person. There is a wine cellar for park-goers to shop at, and there is also a Disney-inspired chocolate sculpture exhibit called From Bean to Bar. At the Festival Center, park-goers can get a Marketplace Discovery Passport, which features all of the booths’ menus and allows attendees to get stamps from all of the countries they go to.
Despite Disney’s notoriety for overpriced snacks, the dishes and drinks available at Food & Wine are all reasonably priced, starting at just $5.
France once again offered its Escargots Persillade en Brioche, which features three brioche buns filled with garlic and parsley escargot. These tiny snacks are perfect for eating while walking around the theme park.
Other great on-the-go snacks came from Argentina, which had flaky beef empanadas and grilled beef skewers that were drizzled in chimichurri sauce and a potato puree. In terms of a good wine pairing, Epcot employees referred guests to the Terrazas Reserva Malbec with its nutty and fruity flavors.
One of the most popular booths, Italy, featured Salsiccia e “Papacelli” Napoletani, which is Italian sausage with caramelized onions and peppers on a slice of crusty Italian bread. The sweet, tangy quality of the sausage pair perfectly with the spices of the onions and peppers, and the dish is made even more appetizing paired with the Prosecco Zardetto wine that is offered alongside.
Other dishes of note include South Africa’s spinach and paneer cheese pocket, Mexico’s crispy shrimp taco, and Belgium’s steamed mussels. Moreover, the mimosas in Morocco and the Soju Slushies in South Korea are not to be missed.
One of the most refreshing aspects of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is that there isn’t the usual air of theme park stress and exhaustion. Instead, the people who attend Food & Wine slow down to enjoy the dishes and meet the locals. The park-goers who attend are looking to culturally evolve by learning about other countries and people. The park also features an “Eat to the Beat” concert series with a varied lineup of musical guests.
“Fall isn’t complete without a visit to Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival,” said Lindsey Neumayer, annual pass holder and UCF senior. “I love having the opportunity to taste dishes that aren’t always around the park. You won’t find a better time to meet people as everyone is there to expand their horizons, both culinary and socially.”