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2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Tequila Tasting Seminar

Tequila

“Welcome to La Cava del Tequila!” I was among the first group of taste-testers for the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival’s inaugural Tequila Tasting Seminar today, and I wanted to bring you along with me. So, shall we to Mexico?

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

The line was a little out of hand prior to the event, but sooner or later we were all checked off the list and seated in our assigned seats in the Cava.

Cava Seating and Mural

Cava Seating and Mural

Epcot’s Tequila Ambassador, Hilda Castillo, expertly led us through an informative and interesting seminar.

Hilda Castillo Leading the Seminar

Hilda Castillo Leading the Seminar

Hilda first described the background on Tequila, including its origin (Tequila, Mexico, where Hilda’s from), its source (Agave), its process, and its categories. There is a brilliant mural on the side wall of the Cava that depicts the life cycle of Tequila processing, including the growth of the Agave plant, the cooking down of the plants to create Agave juice, the fermentation into Agave wine, and the distillation of the Agave wine into Tequila.

A Section of the Cava del Tequila Mural

A Section of the Cava del Tequila Mural

From there, Hilda told us that we would be going through the tasting focusing on the following: Look (Sight), Aroma (Smell), and Flavor (Taste). She explained that different types of Tequila get their distinction based on the amount they’re aged. New Tequila, called “Blanco,” is very clear and very strong — think “gas fumes in your mouth,” because that’s what I tasted when we swished the Blanco Tequila! “Reposado,” or “rested” Tequila is a shade darker and significantly smoother than Blanco. Finally, the “Anejo,” or “aged” Tequila is a dark gold color and has a more “oil-like” consistency. This has the smoothest flavor of all.

Tequila Tasting Setting

Tequila Tasting Setting

Blanco

Reposado

Anejo

From there, Hilda led us through an aroma exercise. Because each type of Tequila had a specific aroma associated with it (lime with Blanco, cinnamon with Reposado, and coffee with Anejo), she had us smell a sample of the aroma before smelling each Tequila sample. Hilda showed us the three different ways to “perceive the aroma” of Tequila in order to gather the three different scents — sweet, alcohol-strong, and spicy/sweet — that are emitted.

Items to prime our noses for the Tequila aromas

Items to prime our noses for the Tequila aromas

Demonstrating one of the aroma techniques

Demonstrating one of the aroma techniques

Finally, we got to taste. Hilda began with the strongest of the three and moved on to the richest of the three. The Blanco Tequila exploded in my mouth. We were supposed to swish for five seconds, and that was practically impossible. This alcohol was so strong my tongue went numb.

The Reposado and Anejo went down much smoother, but based on my experience with the Blanco, I took MUCH smaller sips!

Once finished with the Flavor segment of the event, we were served three small appetizer tapas — shrimp cocktail, a crab tostada, and a chicken tostada — to complement our Tequila.

Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken Tostada, and Crab Tostada with corresponding Tequilas

Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken Tostada, and Crab Tostada with corresponding Tequilas

Overall, the event was lovely. Hilda is extremely knowledgeable and did a fantastic job as presenter, teacher, and adviser. I know that many of these are already sold out for the remainder of the festival, but if you get the chance, make a reservation (407-WDW-FEST). It’s a great experience!

I’ve copied out the Epcot Tequila Bar menu here. Happy perusing!

For more photos, links, and information from the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit our Food and Wine Festival Page!

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16 Comments

  1. Jackey says:

    Sounds like a great time! The place looks gorgeous. Sounds like that first tequila was super strong. Thanks for fantastic article. I have been dieing to hear about this. I want to visit this tequila bar area so much.

  2. Kelly says:

    I decided not to book this, and now I’m second guessing myself… I’ll at least stop by for a margarita!

  3. AJ says:

    Jackey: That Blanco tequila was powerful, to be sure! But I’m glad she started with this, because it made the other two seem calm in comparison.

    Kelly: Try the avocado margarita! I got a chance to sample one a couple of days ago and it was wonderful!

  4. Gray says:

    Oh my God, this looks like so much fun! I would love to go to something like this. I wish they did this year-round. The food looks amazing, too.

  5. CONSUELO LEON says:

    HILDA CASTILLO ES SENSACIONAL!!!!!!!!!! ES LA MEJOR ANFITRIONA!!!!!!!!!!!!
    LOS FELICITO POR TENER UNA PROFESIONAL TAN VALIOSA Y GRAN CONOCEDORA DE TODO EL PROCESO DE LA ELABORACION DEL TEQUILA.
    ES LA MEJOR!!!!!!!!!!!
    GRACIAS POR ESA DEGUSTACIÓN SENSACIONAL EN LA “CAVA DEL TEQUILA”

  6. AJ says:

    Consuelo, I understand very little espanol, but from what I can tell, this is a positive comment about Hilda Castillo! ;-) Hopefully I’m correct. We thought she was fantastic!

  7. CONSUELO LEON says:

    AJ
    I THINK THIS IS EXCELENT TOO. THE GREAT WORK OF HILDA IS WONDERFUL !!!!!

    HILDA CASTILLO IS SENSATIONAL !!!!!!!!!! HOST IS THE BEST !!!!!!!!!!!!
    I CONGRATULATE YOU SO HAVE A BUSINESS AND VALUABLE PERSON
    AND VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT ALL THE PROCESS OF PREPARATION OF TEQUILA.
    IS THE BEST !!!!!!!!!!!
    THANKS FOR THAT TASTE SENSATION IN “THE TEQUILA CAVA”

  8. AJ says:

    Ha ha! Perfect! Thank you for the translation…I agree 100%. Thanks for reading!

  9. Liss Bernacchi says:

    Hello! yeeeah Consuelo, I was there too and it was fantastic! miss Hilda: my husband and I thank u for all that you did for us, you´r the best!!! We love tekila !

  10. CONSUELO LEON says:

    AJ AND LISS
    TOAST CUPS WITH ABUNDANCE. TEQUILA AGED IS THE HOST. THAT IS THE NEXT TIME

  11. Gabrielle Maqueda says:

    Miss Hilda Castillo is an excellent host…. Very professional and skilled. I was very pleased to have attended the tasting in The tequila cava. Congratulations Miss Hilda. And Tank you. I discovered that Tequila is delicious…!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Jaime Camacho says:

    Hola estoy completamente de acuerdo con los comentarios acerca de Hilda, yo no he estado en la cava del tequila, pero la conozco de Tequila Cuervo en donde trabajamos juntos, es la mejor!

  13. AJ says:

    Thanks for your comment, Jaime! Again, I don’t understand everything, but it looks like this is another positive comment…right? ;-)

  14. Jairo Rosales says:

    Si, Hilda es la mejor y sabe de verdad de lo que esta hablando porque trabajo en una de las mas famosas fabricas de tequila “TEQUILA CUERVO” sigue asi Hilda, nunca borres esa sonrisa. Saludos desde Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

    Traslation.
    Yes,Hilda is the best and she really knows what is talking because she worked in one of the most famous factories of Tequila “Tequila Cuervo” ” it’s true. Hilda, never erase that smile. Greetings from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

  15. [...] Get Tipsy on Tequila OK, not really. But sort of! I can highly recommend the Festival’s new Tequila Tasting Seminars, which are held in Epcot’s premier Tequila Bar, La Cava del Tequila. These are extremely [...]

  16. Susan says:

    How long was the seminar? It was sold old last year when we tried. Looks lovely.

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