Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Epcot's Food and Wine Review and Tips

This past week I got to enjoy one of the best things that go on in Epcot each year. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This is one of my favorite times to go to Epcot. I am a foodie. I love food and I love trying new and exciting things.

 If you're not sure what the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is, it is where you get to eat small portioned items from each country and then many from around the world. Small items cost 3-9 dollars each and most alcoholic drinks cost 4-12 dollars. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is included in your ticket to Epcot. As you walk around the world showcase and into Future World, you will see small buildings serving small plates and drinks.

 This year's festival did not disappoint. We chose to go on opening day, which we have never done but had the chance to do this year. The crowds were really low, even around 3 pm. We didn't have more than a 5 minute wait for anything. 

 The weather was brutal. it got to 100 degrees that day and it was hot. However, we braved through it and still had the best time.

 When you enter be on the lookout for the Food & Wine Festival Passport. That will show you what each booth is serving. A cool new feature this year is instead of the usual stamps your used to get, (you used to have to take the book up to each booth and get a stamp if you wanted) this yearbthey included some cool stickers so you can add them yourself. Saves on time and makes the lines a bit shorter. I think that was a great idea.

 This year we wanted to try some new things that we had not tried yet, so we just chose to focus on those items; but some of the past years' items were too yummy to pass up. Each year the menu changes a bit, but usually they tend to keep people's favorite dishes.

 First on our list was Craft Beers. This is a must do for some really unique beers and some cool food. We had the Piggy Wings; you got 2 small "wings", these were amazing! We also had to get a drink to wash it down, so we tried the Shipyard Midnight Snack Milk Stout. This is something we had never even heard of, let alone tried, so we got that. I never had a beer that tasted like you were eating, well, drinking an Oreo cookie! That was an strange yet amazing beer. Even better was knowing the place that makes it is local to me, so I can have it whenever I want now!

 Next item we had was from Australia. Now this is something we have had, but it's just too good not to re-try: the Grilled Lamb Chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies. This is one of the best meat items they have. This is my husband's favorite.

 Then we were off to New Zealand, to try the Seared Venison with Wild mushroom marsala sauce and Kumara dumpling. My husband loves his deer and said it was awesome!

 On to my favorite booth of the day: the Farm Fresh booth. They have comfort food! My favorite! We got the Loaded mac n' cheese with Nueske's pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions and the Chicken and dumplings stewed chicken with mushrooms and spinach. I believe these were the two best items I had all day. I could have eaten a few more, but I had more food items to go so I didn't want to stuff myself. This booth served a nice helping of food.The items were amazing.

 We had a Fastpass for Soarin' so we had to go back up the other way and decided to run over to the Chocolate studio to get the Liquid nitro chocolate almond truffle with warm whiskey. This is a nice cool touch to a warm day. It's amazing to watch them make this item with the CO2, and then they break it open for you. It's amazingly good. It's kind of like a melted candy bar, but its still holds it shape.

 After that we headed over to China to try a new drink this year. It was called the Happy Peach with Dekuyper peach liqueur and Meyers dark rum. This drink was perfect for a hot day. It is kind of sweet, and can sneak up on you. It was like you were drinking a fresh peach.

We then made a quick stop in Poland to get this thing everyone was talking about called a Frozen apple pie. I had heard so many people saying you have got to try this drink. The name of it is Szarlotka and it is Apple pie filling and Bison grass Vodka.This was pretty strong, but to have a drink that requires a spoon too is just special to me. The bottom of this drink had a layer of real apple pie filling, the drink was super cold and on top were these crumbs like you would find on an apple pie. It was one of the most amazing drinks I have ever had, and I was definitely feeling the buzz after that one.

 We ended the day off with a stop in Ireland and picked up a warm chocolate pudding with Irish cream liquor custard. This was the perfect ending to a perfect, yet hot day.

 So,what are some tips?

 Come hungry! You don't want to come to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival after having a big meal somewhere. There is plenty of food to make this your meal.

 The heavier crowds are always on the weekends. For shorter lines try and avoid going on the weekend if possible.

 Make sure you see the other events going on, like the eat to the beat concerts that take place in the evenings. Go to the seminars at the Festival Center and be sure the check out the other things going on. Some are free, some you have to pay for, but make sure to check them all out. They have classes, seminars, demonstrations, everything! There are also events at some of the resorts this year.

Set a budget. The small meals and drinks tend to add up at the end of the day, so my tip is to put that set amount of money on a food and wine gift card. They are these neat little cards that you can wear on your wrist,= and they are a nice little token/souvenir to bring him when you're finished. They can be activated with as little as $15.00 to start.

 My next tip would be to get to the showcase earlier in the day. The food booths open at 11am, by 4-5 pm they tend to get a little busier.

 Last tip would be if you're a Chase card holder take advantage of the Chase lounge. It's located in the upstairs of the American paviilion. They have free drinks from the Coke Freesyle machines and places to sit and cool off and has places to charge your electronics. 

Here are some of the Menus: