Category: Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Friday Feast: Culinary Demonstrations at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Reservations for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Culinary Demonstrations opened this week and I can’t decide what to go to!!!!   Last year I attended two demonstrations and had an amazing time.  The first demo I attended was with Iron Chef Cat Cora of Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort (best breakfast on property!) and then Chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road, one of my fav restaurants!

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Chef Kevin Dundon

Chef Kevin Dundon

I will be in the World twice this year during the Food & Wine Festival and I’m hoping I will have time to attend at least one demonstrations.  So here are the options for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend:

Thursday, October 03, 2013
1:00 PM Bruno Vrignon, Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion, Epcot®, WDW Snails
3:00 PM Bob Getchell, T Rex Café, Downtown Disney® Area, WDW Pork
5:00 PM Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant, Orlando, FL Shrimp
Friday, October 04, 2013
1:00 PM Ruth Van Waerebeek, Concha y Toro, Santiago, Chile Scallops
3:00 PM Noah French, HoneyCrisp, Denver, CO Pastry
5:00 PM Rock Harper, FatShorty’s, Arlington, VA Mussels- contains Pork
Saturday, October 05, 2013
1:00 PM Kenneth Gilbert, Cook Like the Big Dogs LLC, Jacksonville, FL Seafood
3:00 PM Jerome Brown “Chef Rome”, Hot Grits LLC, Knightdale, NC Bison
5:00 PM Alisa Malavenda, POSH salt, Cliffside Park, NJ Scallop
Sunday, October 06, 2013
1:00 PM Noah French, HoneyCrisp, Denver, CO Pastry
3:00 PM Tim Hockett, Nacional 27, Chicago, IL Beef
5:00 PM Alisa Malavenda, POSH salt, Cliffside Park, NJ Shellfish
Monday, October 07, 2013
1:00 PM Jason Stefanko, Gardein, Richmond, Canada Vegan
3:00 PM Dr. Wendy Bazilian, RD & Pam Smith, RD and Author of The Energy Edge Pastry
presented by Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™
5:00 PM Joe Bonanno and Damon Lauder, Park Event Operations, Epcot®, WDW Duck

I think my top pick out of this group is the demo with Alisa Malavenda.  As a Jersey girl and a shellfish fan, this might be the perfect way to celebrate finishing the race!

And then at the tail end of the festival, I will be down for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (my favorite!) and here are the demos for that weekend:

Thursday, November 07, 2013
1:00 PM Bill Clark, Grand Floridian Bakery, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Pastry
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
3:00 PM Thomas Massey, Sunshine Seasons, Epcot®, WDW Mahi Mahi
5:00 PM Mike Dillard, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, WDW Rabbit
Friday, November 08, 2013
1:00 PM Ingrid Hoffmann Presented by Coca-Cola® Savory
3:00 PM John Hardman, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, Magic Kingdom® Park, WDW Chicken
5:00 PM Phillip Ponticelli, Cítricos, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Shrimp
Saturday, November 09, 2013
1:00 PM Ben Sargent, Author, The Catch: Sea-to-Table, Stories and Secrets, New York, NY Lobster
3:00 PM TJ Sudiswa, Grand Floridian Café, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Turkey presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
5:00 PM Pam Smith, RD, Author of The Energy Edge Savory
presented by Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™
Sunday, November 10, 2013
1:00 PM Michael Klinger, Pioneer Hall, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, WDW Oysters-Contains Pork
3:00 PM Javier Pareja, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, WDW Vegetarian
5:00 PM Michael Gonsalves, Golden Oak Club, WDW Sausage-Contains Pork
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
Monday, November 11, 2013
1:00 PM Geraldine Randlesome, Creative Cutters, Ontario, Canada Pastry
3:00 PM Dylan Schauwecker, The Wave… of American Flavors, Crab & Shrimp
Disney’s Contemporary Resort, WDW
5:00 PM Michael Gonsalves, Golden Oak Club, WDW Sausage-Contains Pork
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries

Ooohh doesn’t that Ben Sargent demo look good?!  The Catch: Sea-to-Table, Stories and Secrets with NY Lobster…yes please!  That sounds like a good pre-race meal right??

These demos are a great bargain at $14 a piece.  You get a fun demonstration PLUS a tasting of what they are cooking!  Win-win in my book.  You can find all of the demonstrations listed on the Disney Food Blog.

What are demonstrations are you looking forward to at the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?? 

Friday Feast: Looking Ahead to the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

To say that I’m getting excited for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is an understatement.  It is by far my favorite time of year.  I mean really, combining Disney with food is my idea of paradise!

A few weeks ago, Disney Every Day reported on some new food items that will be added to the menu this year and there are a few that I haven’t stopped thinking about.  Then earlier today, The Disney Food Blog announced four more new items…yay!  There are also a few old favorites that I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into again, so let’s take a look…

Old Favorites

Well my number one favorite item at the festival has to be the Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from the South Korea booth.  This dish is so flavorful and is incredibly filling for a small plate.  It’s actually also pretty healthy among all of the items available at the festival.  I’m a little nervous that it won’t be making a return this year because a Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi has been announced as a new item there.  I will be devastated if this is the case…

Lettuce Wraps

Last year I discovered the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies at the Australia booth and fell in love.  Now I’m not a big lamb fan, but this was out of this world.  The combination of the mint and the salty potato chips was incredible.  I think I probably had at least 6 of these over the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend…they were the perfect post-race snack!!

Lamb Chop

The Florida Local Booth was new last year, but it had two wonderful dishes that I also had multiples of.  First was the Florida Shrimp Ceviche with Fire Roasted Vegetables, Fried Plantains and Cilantro, which was both refreshing and spicy. I also really enjoyed the White Corn Arepa with Mangalitsa Pork Rilette and Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad.  This wasn’t a hit with a lot of people, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think I’m just a sucker for anything that has pork in it.

Arepa Delicioso!

New Deliciousness

Since they like to change up the menu at the festival, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I might not be able to get all of my favorite dishes again this year 🙁  But thankfully, some of the new items that have been announced look amazing.  First thing I’m dying to try is the Seared Trout with Frisee, Bacon and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette from the Canada booth.  Whoa…what is not to love about that?!?

Austraila looks like it’s going to have another winner on its hands with the addition of Garlic Shrimp served with what looks to be broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.    Well all of that is sure to go very well with the Grilled Lamb Chop and maybe a nice glass of Pinot Noir.

The newly announced Lemongrass Curry Chicken from the Singapore booth sounds very promising, as long as it’s not overpoweringly spicy.  Also, the new for 2013 Scotland booth has a cocktail that I must try.  The Loch Lomond Cocktail which is Scotch, Drambuie and Dry Vermouth sounds delicious!

Well now you know what I’m most looking forward too…can you blame me?  Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival starts in only 77 days, but who’s counting?? 🙂

What is your favorite item at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival?  What new items are you looking forward to trying?


Friday Feast: Wine & Dine Half Marathon After Party

I don’t know about you, but when I’m finished running a half marathon I’m HUNGRY!  I think this is why the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is right up my alley…after the race you have access to all 26 booths of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  Race registration comes with a drink voucher for the beer tent at the finish line, admission into Epcot for the Wine & Dine After Party, and a $10 gift certificate to use at the festival.  Can it get any better?!?

I was starving after running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and couldn’t wait to get some food in my belly!  Once I got my medal, I grabbed my backpack from bag check and my first priority was to get my sneakers off and change into my compression sleeves and flip flops…a race recovery combo of champions!

The line to go through bag check was LONG…it took about 15 minutes to go through.  Hopefully next year they will add a few more security guards to accomodate for the crowds.  Once in the gates, I found my friends John and Sid and we made our way into the park.

**Quick tip: if you’re looking to change after the race, all of the bathrooms near the entrance will have long lines.  Walk farther into Future World and you will find bathrooms with no lines**

So once I changed out of my nasty, sweaty clothes we made our way over to World Showcase.  On the way over we passed the Ocean Spray cranberry bog and they were jamming out!  This just put a HUGE smile on my face 🙂

A Rockin’ Bog!!

My first stop at the Food & Wine Festival was Australia.  I’m not a big lamb fan, but the lamb chop at the Australia booth this year was probably my favorite dish at the whole festival.  It was simply grilled (usually to a perfect medium rare) and topped with a mint pesto and potato crunchies.  I actually ordered 2 of these as there were the perfect salt and protein combo for after the race.

Yum Yum & Yum!!

My next stop was going to be at the Mexico booth for some tacos, but the line was super long.  So I decided to pass that by and move along down World Showcase.  Here is where I left my friends and ventured off on my quest for food.  They had to make their way back through Future World to get back to their hotel, but I only had to go to the International Gateway since I was staying at the Boardwalk.  I was determined to make the most out of my gift card (and then some!).  Hugs all around and I was off.

Making my way around World Showcase

I made my way over to the Scandinavian booth across from the Norway pavilion  which had a very small line.  Those Swedish meatballs with the lingonberry sauce is to die for. Interesting though…that night I only received 2 meatballs with my order, whereas the day before when I visited the booth during the day I received 3.  Were they purposefully cutting back or low on supplies?  We may never know…

Next stop was my favorite of all the booths…South Korea.  The Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw is probably one of the best things I’ve ever had…ever.  There are so many flavors going on here – sweet, spicy, smokey…yum!  I only had one that night, but I think I had at least 4 over the course of the weekend 🙂

Lettuce Wrap Goodness!

Once I hit Italy I found a group of friends there (Jenn, Daniel, Danielle, Pat, Katherine…and more) and stopped to chat for a bit.  I was fading fast so I decided to keep moving towards to Boardwalk and my comfy bed.  But I couldn’t leave without stopping at my favorite new booth this year, Florida.  Here I got the corn arepa filled with pork and served with a sweet corn salad.  I’ve heard many conflicting reviews about this dish, but I LOVED it!  I paired this with a Florida Beer Company Florida Lager, which was much needed after 13.1 miles.  Not sure why I waited so long!

Arepa Delicioso!


By this time it was close to 3:00 am and I was starting to fade.  My feet hurt and my bed was calling me.  While I would’ve liked some Cheddar Cheese Soup from Canada, I just couldn’t do a full circle of World Showcase.  So I headed out the International Gateway and back to the Boardwalk Inn.

Having access to the Food & Wine Festival is such a great way to end a fun race!  You can refuel and enjoy some fun entertainment at the same time.  While I didn’t spend much time in Future World, many of the attractions were open, including Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, Maelstrom and more.  It’s the perfect time to hit your favorite attractions without waiting in line.  Maybe next year I’ll finish the race faster so I have more time to enjoy the attractions AND the festival!  Wishful thinking 😉

Did you attend the Wine & Dine After Party?  What did you think?

Friday Feast: Exploring the Epcot Food & Wine Festival on Travel With Rick

It’s no secret that Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is my favorite time of the year!  Throw a foodie into the middle of 26 international food kiosks and you’ve got one happy camper.  Make that happen in Walt Disney World and you have heaven on earth 🙂

So imagine my excitement when my good friend Rick Howard from Kingdom Magic Vacations and Travel With Rick asked me to be a guest on his show and sample some of this great food.  How could I turn that down?!?  Here are 5 of the episodes I was fortunate enough to be a part of.  I hope you enjoy!



Brewer’s Collection


South Korea – my favorite!!

Now if that doesn’t get you wanting to visit the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I don’t know what will!  Rick picked some great booths for me to try, but my favorite will always be South Korea.  That roast pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw is just to die for!

There are still just over 2 weeks left of the Food & Wine Festival, so hopefully you can make it down there to check out all the delicious things happening this year!  If you’re looking for healthy options at the festival, check out part 1 and part 2 of my healthy picks this year.  And if culinary demonstrations are your thing, you can find that at the Festival as well.  I recently saw Cat Cora & Kevin Dundon give wonderful demonstrations, which were both tasty and a ton of fun!

Oh and don’t forget to pick up your DFB Mini-Guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!  Since this is an e-book, I was able to keep it on my phone and use it as a reference when I was at the Festival a few weeks ago.  So handy!!  It’s also great to help plan your visit so you don’t waste time reading menus or trying to find a booth you really want to try.

I’ll be back to the Food & Wine Festival this year during Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, so let me know if you’re around.  I’d love to grab a lettuce wrap with ya! 😉

Friday Feast: Epcot Food & Wine Festival Culinary Demonstrations

I recently attended two amazing culinary demonstrations at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  This is my 4th year attending the festival and these demonstrations were something I had yet to do, so I made it a priority this year.  Given my love of cooking and how I’m always interested in trying new food, I knew these would be right up my alley.  The culinary demonstrations are relatively inexpensive ranging from $9 – 14 depending on the chef.  DVC Members and Annual Passholders are eligible for a $2 discount, so make sure to utilize that when booking.

I was lucky to be in Walt Disney World when two great chefs had demonstrations back to back, Cat Cora of Kouzzina and Iron Chef fame and Kevin Dundon from one of my favorite restaurants on property, Raglan Road.  Cat Cora was the first for the day and she drew a HUGE crowd.  Not only was the demonstrations area full, but there were a lot of people watching from the preview center.

Iron Chef Cat Cora and Kouzzina Chef Dee Foundoukis

We were seated and immediately given a glass of wine.  Wine?!  Score!  I didn’t know these demonstrations came with a wine pairing.  My $12 investment was now well worth the price.  There was also a menu listing what we would be eating that included a recipe so we could replicate it at home.  From the menu, I found that the wine was a Bloomfield Viognier from Bloomfield Vineyards, which was a nice crisp white.

There was a change to the menu that day and the feta mashed potatoes were being substituted with orzo.  The chefs walked us through the steps of making the dish and shared some techniques on how to prepared the items.  There was a camera set above the cooking station that was being shown on televisions around the room, so we could see just what they were doing….a really nice touch!  This was also when the audience got to ask questions and I was pleasantly surprised to see how fun and down to earth Cat Cora was.  She had a great time conversing with the audience.

Then the carts appeared!  We were about to taste these yummy smelling meatballs.  I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but these were DELICIOUS!!  They were much lighter than regular meatballs and the sauce had a little spice to it to add some additional flavor.  I’m glad that this was served with the orzo because I think that the feta mashed potatoes would’ve been too heavy.

This was a fun and entertaining demonstration and the food was a hit too!  Cat Cora is at the Food & Wine Festival every year and I would highly recommend checking this one out next year if you are in town during that time.

Later that afternoon, we saw Chef Kevin Dundon from Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.  I love this restaurant and it’s upscale pub fare, so I was most looking forward to this demonstration.  Chef Dundon did not disappoint!  He was incredibly funny and lively.  You can see that he is really passionate about cooking and also enjoyed talking with the audience.

On the menu was an updated version of the classic French dish, Coquilles St. Jacques, which is scallops in a heavy cream sauce with mashed potatoes.  Delicious, but rich!  Chef Dundon instead seared the scallops and made a lighter cream sauce infused with apples (YUM!!) and served this over mashed potatoes.  It was to die for…I really would’ve like 4 more of these little plates.

This dish was served with a nice, full bodied Chardonnay that brought out the apple flavor in the sauce.

A surprise bonus of this demonstration was dessert!  In sticking with the classic theme, Chef Dundon prepared Cherries Jubilee   This is always a show stopper because of the flambe aspect in the preparation   We were all instructed to oooh  and ahhh on cue.  This was a very good dessert, but the sauce was a little too sweet for me.

Overall, both of these demonstrations were well worth the nominal fee.  You get about 45 minutes of culinary entertainment, wine, a food tasting and maybe even dessert!  Not bad for $12, but remember that park admission is required.  I’m already looking forward to next year and who I will be able to see!!

Have you attended any of the culinary demonstrations at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival? 

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