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Guest Review: Epcot Food and “More Than Just” Wine Festival

As we all gear up for the 2012 Food and Wine Festival, welcome Heather Jones with a fun exploration through last year’s events!

I was so excited to experience the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for the first time. But I was thinking that Disney might be doing the festival a disservice by calling it “Food and Wine,” because there are so many more drink choices than just wine.

Don’t get me wrong I love a nice chilled Chardonnay or a spicy Shiraz. But there’s also a huge variety of beer, cocktails, and sake to be had as well. I guess they can’t call it the “Food and Booze Festival.” That wouldn’t sound very Disney!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Signage

Beer Review

Let’s start with some beer, shall we? Our first stop was the brand new Hawaii booth for the Kalua Pork Slider and the Tuna Poke along with a Kona Longboard and a Pipeline beer.

Kalua Pork Slider

Tuna Poke

The Pipeline is dark and flavorful porter (I just love a dark beer!) and the Longboard is a tasty, light lager that paired well with the Poke.

Kona Long board and Pipeline Beer

Another favorite beer for me was the Leffe at the Belgium booth.

Leffe and Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream & Baguette

I broke my own self-imposed rule by getting the Leffe because I had already tried it before. I discovered this beer on a trip to Belgium and fell in love with the spicy clove notes. It’s also available at my local beer and wine purveyor; I’m not so sure that this is such a good thing!

OK, next I broke that rule again by having my ultimate dark beer, Guinness, at the Ireland booth. It was really good with the Fisherman’s Pie, but the dark chocolate notes paired even better with the Lava cake.

Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie and Guinness

Lava Cake with Bailey's Irish Cream Ganache

Cocktail and Spirit Review

I don’t usually go in for slushy, fruity drinks, but by the time we reached France, the Cosmo slush was calling out to me.

Parisien Cosmo Slush (Ciroc Vodka, Grand Marnier, and Cranberry Juice)

I’m not so sure it paired well with the escargot or coq au vin, which were our family favorite dishes, however, it sure hit the spot on this hot afternoon!

Escargot

Coq au Vin

Also on my list of things to try was the Xante liquor. You can have this in the Xante Sunshine cocktail or just on ice. I wanted to taste this on it’s own, so I had it over ice.

Xante pear and cognac liquor

This liquor is similar to a Grand Marnier. It’s supposed to be pear, but I tasted more of a butterscotch flavor. This is good if you like your liquor very sweet.

Another of the festival’s offerings is the Singapore Sling. When I approached the Singapore booth and saw the concoction bubbling in a drink dispenser I assumed that it would just be a fruity drink with barely any kick.

Ladies and gentleman, this is not the case; this drink packs a real punch. I suggest Disney transportation after sampling this one.

Singapore Sling

Rice Wine Review

My favorite new discovery was the BEK SE JU (Herbal Rice Wine) from South Korea. I tried this purely to diversify my experience and ended up absolutely loving it!

BEK SE JU Herbal Rice Wine

It’s served chilled and tastes almost like a sweet Riesling with a dry sake finish. It was a perfect pairing with the lettuce wrap.

Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw

So, as you can see there’s certainly a beverage to please anyone looking to imbibe at the Food and Wine Festival, and not just the wine lovers. However, if all else fails, there’s always the tequila bar at La Cava!

La Cava del Tequila

Cheers!

Have you sampled any of these “more than just” wine beverages? Let us know your favorites and what you’re looking forward to at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Heather is a wife and mom of two teenagers who loves to travel, Disney being their ultimate destination. As a foodie, dining is always the most memorable part of her trips. She also enjoys sharing her travel adventures in her blog, Maybe Someday.

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11 Comments

  1. Frank says:

    Food and Wine is our favorite time at Disney.. No wait, Christmas time is,,,, no wait Not So Scary Halloween Party with HalloWishes… hee hee.. anyway, why do we need to decide anyway….. we love Food & Wine. This will be our 10th in a row. Something we look foreword to annually.
    Frank

  2. Alan says:

    Talk about retro cocktails; the Singapore Sling is a pre-World War I cocktail, literally developed in Singapore. What most bars serve now is not the original but it is a nice thing to know that they thought to serve such an iconic drink at the festival. Just another reason to salute the Disney folks for their fabulous Food and Wine (plus) Festival.

  3. Heather says:

    @ Alan, I loved the Singapore Sling and have since ordered at a couple of places. None have compared to the F&W version (too much sour mix!). Guess I have to go back!

  4. Glenn says:

    We had an amazing time last fall at the F&W Festival as well. And I must say that the Singapore Sling is the best bang for your buck! You only need one, and you’ll be dancing at all of the Eat to the Beat concerts.

  5. Grace says:

    How about calling it the “Food and Libation” Festival?! :D

  6. Steven says:

    my wife & i made our kids mad a couple years ago by going to f&w, & we’re going to make them mad again this year! we feel guilty by leaving them at home for a long weekend but not quite that guilty! will definitely have to try that singapore sling but with all the different beers there—don’t know how i will fit it in!
    great post! must review this before our trip! thx!

  7. Kelly says:

    We also love F&W, last year my husband and I “sampled” 23 different beers. We didnt realize how many we tried until we got home and wrote all of them down. My husbands favorite was the Longbow Cider in England and mine was the Widmer Hefewiezen. We found both at home. I also liked the Boddington in England. We cant wait to see what they offer this year.

  8. Wendy Snelgrove says:

    Your title includes “gearing up for Food and Wine”… is it really time for that? It is May. Food and Wine is in the autumn… c’mon, don’t wish the summer away.

  9. AJ says:

    Frank — Ha ha! That’s exactly how I feel when someone asks me about my favorite Disney restaurant! ;-) So glad you don’t have to decide and can just enjoy all of those great seasons.

    Alan — Hear, hear! Great to see you in the comments, my friend.

    Glenn — Dancing, indeed! I had a Singapore Sling in 2010 and knew immediately that I was done for the day!

    Grace — Love it!!

    Steven — This is DEFINITELY worth the guilt! Don’t forget to keep an eye on our 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Page; we’ll be sharing the menus for the World Showcase booths when they’re available in the next couple of months!

    Kelly — Ba ha ha!! I love that you got through 23 of them!

    Wendy — Very good point (though I live in Dallas and kind of wish the summer would be over already — TOO HOT!) ;-)

  10. Amy Daniels says:

    I second the comment about how strong the singapore sling was! I was a bit wobbly after that! Was great though! Love the festival!

  11. Heather says:

    I don’t drink, but I love food & wine. Though last year I got the Frozen Dragon Berry Colada from the Caribbean, and the year before the Cherry Colada from Puerto Rico, and both were really good and refreshing. I’m hoping to go down for a few days this year again!

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