It’s no secret that Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is my favorite time of year….seriously, my FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! How can you go wrong with food, drinks, friends and Disney? You can’t. Period.
Last weekend when I was in WDW for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, I spent quite amount of time at the festival enjoying my old favorites and some awesome new dishes. Come on, let’s look at some awesome food porn together…
There are two dishes that I MUST always get or else my trip to Food & Wine will not be complete. First is my all time favorite Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from South Korea. Yum, Yum and Yum! It’s such a simple dish, yet full of flavor and probably one of the healthiest dishes at the festival.
Last year I became obsessed with the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies from Australia. I think I ate about six of them. Well I was beyond happy to see that they hadn’t changed it this year and it was better than ever!
One thing I love about the Food & Wine Festival are all the new dishes that are introduced every year. Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann takes great pride in creating innovative dishes and bringing the flavors of the world direct to Epcot. I had the pleasure of meeting him and picking his brain a bit last weekend…what a treat!
Chef Jens’ favorite dish of the festival and one that he takes the most pride in is the Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro from Brazil. This dish takes 3 days to make and really is delicious. But I may be biased because pork belly is by far my favorite food ever!
There was a new addition to the Canada booth this year and that was a Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette. Ever since this was announced I was looking forward to trying it. Top something with bacon and I’m sold! As expected, this dish was wonderful and the bacon combined with the maple vinaigrette was the perfect salty, sweet combo.
New Zealand added quite a few new dishes this year. After Sarah from Eating WDW raved about the Gratinated Green Lip Mussels with Garlic and Herbs I had to give them a try, along with the Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction that had caught my eye immediately. Both were great, but that sausage was out of this world. I am definitely going back for another one of those over Wine & Dine Weekend!
A new addition to the festival this year was Scotland. Being a Scotch lover, I couldn’t wait to try the beverages. I was actually more excited about that than the food there. The Loch Lomond featuring Glenfiddich 12 year was delicious as expected and has the potential to be very dangerous. The Glenfiddich Scotch Flight was a really fun way to experience the flavors of the different ages as you experience the 12, 15 and 18 year varieties. It was a tough choice, but I think the 15 year won for me. But the surprising favorite was the Innis & Gunn Original. Oh. My. Chef Jens filled me in that this beer is matured in scotch barrels, giving it a very unique flavor. I think this might be my favorite new beer!
So the drinks held up to my expectations, but surprisingly the food in Scotland greatly surpassed them! I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word haggis I’m instantly nauseous. Too much offal for my taste. But here they have Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties translated to a Griddled Vegetable Cake with Rutabaga and Mashed Potatoes. This was surprisingly delicious and I actually went back and got it a second time. I was also surprised that I actually enjoyed the Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette considering I don’t like cooked salmon. Although the highlight of the dish was the cauliflower puree…just give me a big plate of that please! And then the dessert, Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scottish Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles and Sweet Cream…chocolate, shortbread, bananas and whiskey, really?! It’s like heaven on a plate! Overall, Scotland NAILED IT!
There are still a TON of new dishes I’m dying to try, so be sure I will be stuffing my face over Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November! Is it November yet??
What are your Food & Wine favs?? What new items are you looking forward to trying??