The Mr. and I had the pleasure of attending the Epcot Food & Wine Festival as part of the runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend. You can read all about the race here. The selling point for most running the race is that the after party includes entry to the food and wine festival. We were so tired and frustrated after the race that we decided to go back to Epcot the day after for the full experience. Our intention was to have lunch at Epcot then hop over to Magic Kingdom for an afternoon of rides, but that didn’t happen. We were quickly too concerned with eating and drinking everything at the festival.
When we visited Disney it was abnormally hot for November and temperatures were in the upper 90s. The Mr. lost his sunglasses on our last trip and didn’t pack a hat for some reason. Epcot has very little shade so the first order of business was to get him a hat. I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day with a squinty eyed cranky husband. We picked up this gem and were headed to get our food and wine passport from the festival center. You can read more about my Star Wars geek out here.
We walked in and immediately scooped up a passport. It was so cool to see all the countries listed out in a pocket guide. The passport guide contained each country, what items they were offering and suggested food and wine pairings. Needless to say, as a foodie I was in heaven. We sat down on a bench and made a quick game plan of where we wanted to go based on what we would come to first. Since Epcot is our favorite and we’ve been there numerous times we already had an idea of where most of the larger countries were located. To read more about our Epcot adventures check out this.
After leaving the information center we went to the right of World Showcase and started with Greece. We wanted a chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce from there the night of the race, but the line was super long. The gyro was delicious and about three bites. Everything at the festival was served tapas style so it was just enough to taste but not so much that you couldn’t try everything. Even the beer, wine and cocktails were small which I loved. Most drinks were a little larger than a bathroom cup. The Mr. and I split most things, but definitely didn’t skimp on the food.
There is no way I can pass up ice wine anywhere so we got two different ice wines in Canada. One was a normal style and the other was apple. If you aren’t familiar with ice wine you can read more about it here. The short story is it is incredibly sweet and has a distinct syrupy texture. They were also offering a chicken sausage served over polenta with onion jam. It was the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
Ireland was all about warm chocolate pudding with Irish cream liqueur custard and honey wine. Yum! The wine wasn’t overly sweet like I was expecting and the honey flavor resonated throughout.
When in France you must do crème brulee. There is something about that sugary crunchy top and rich custard. The crème brulee even had a chocolate surprise in the bottom. It was completely delicious and we didn’t leave a crumb. I passed on champagne, because I knew there were other items ahead I wanted to try more than a glass of bubbly.
In Italy we had the most delicious limencello margarita and chicken marsala. The margarita reminded me of frozen lemonade slush, but still had a distinct margarita flare. The chicken marsala was two chicken tenderloins covered with a mushroom marsala wine sauce served with ciabatta bread.
Japan was pineapple fuzed sake. We were instantly transported to the South Pacific. The flavors complimented each other nicely and the pineapple component was actually juice not just pineapple flavor. The sake was pretty much infused with pineapple juice and we loved it.
Next up was Poland and a frozen apple pie cocktail. The entire day we kept seeing people with these drinks and everyone was talking about it being the best at the festival. I hate to buy into the hype, but it was hands down the best thing we had all day. It literally tasted like a frozen apple pie and was by far the most complex item we had. The bottom of the cup was lined with apple cubes covered in cinnamon, the next layer was the actual drink which consisted of vodka, and then everything was topped with a crunchy nut, streusel mixture. I didn’t share this drink very well. Let me be honest. I hogged nearly the entire thing and it was glorious.
We had already had so much to eat and drink by the time we got to Germany. They had so many beers and brats to choose from, but we settled on apple strudel. It was simply perfect. The pastry was thin and loaded with apples and golden raisins. Ya’ll know I’m not too keen on raisins, but I managed to choke them down. The strudel was served with a vanilla sauce too.
Our last stop was Mexico for Mexican sangria and chicken chilaquiles. It was the perfect ending to our wonderful afternoon. After a long and hot afternoon we headed back to the resort for a little rest before dinner with friends.
We loved the Epcot Food & Wine Festival and will absolutely be back! They also offered so much more than we were even able to experience. There is a concert series, cooking demonstrations, celebrity chef appearances and an entire building devoted to the beer showcase. I also think it’s cool that Disney offers a special weekend pass for this event if you don’t want to pay the price of a park ticket or have an annual pass. The festival also runs for almost two months, so there are plenty of weekends to try and experience everything.
I want to also note that the food prices varied but probably averaged around $5 and the beverages were around $7. I think the prices were reasonable given the fact that it’s Disney and each item is uniquely customized to each country. We have eaten a lot of great food in a lot of different places, but Epcot definitely delivered. I was pleased with their selection of food and drinks at each station. There were over 20 countries represented and each country had an average of 3 food choices and 3-5 beverage choices. Some places even offered vegetarian and vegan choices. There were suggested pairings at each country and specialty food items were noted with a symbol. Some were voted best at the festival and others were noted for being a vegetarian/vegan choice.
Everything at the festival was incredibly user friendly and Epcot did a great job of managing the crowds at each kiosk. We never felt like we were waiting too long for an item and everyone was friendly. Needless to say, the Mr. and I had an amazing time and can’t wait to visit the Epcot Food & Wine Festival again!
Have you ever been to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival?
Do you like tapas style eats?
Are you drooling over the above eats?