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Review: “Best of the Fest” at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Marketplace Booths!

It’s here! The 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is officially underway!

We’ve been super busy over the last couple of days, taking in low-cost demonstrations and special events. I can’t wait to share all of it with you (FYI: Parisian Breakfast = AWESOME!)!

But first, while opening weekend was a whirlwind of activity, we made it a point to check out every Marketplace Booth and try it all! It’s always our goal to do this so that YOU know which dishes are not-to-be-missed and can plan accordingly.

2013 Best of the Fest Marketplace Booth Dishes

While this “Best of” list started out a lot longer than this, we wanted to give you a breakdown of the cream of the crop — our very favorite dishes so far from the 2013 Marketplace Booths. Some of these are returning from past years, and some are brand new! Let’s go with the Best of the Fest for 2013!

Belgium: Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

Belgium features three different waffles in their lineup this year — one savory and two sweet. This Potato Leek Waffle comes with Braised Beef that reminds me of Sunday roasts.

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

The waffle is delicious by itself — but top it with the braised beef and MELTED BUTTER!!!! and it’s heavenly!

South Korea: Kimchi Dog

We’ve been raving about the South Korea Kimchi Dog since we first sampled it at the preview event for this year’s festival. The Spicy Hot Dog (which is specially made for Epcot just for the festival!) is topped with a fresh Kimchi Slaw and drizzled with a Spicy Mustard Sauce.

Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce

It has a bit of a kick, but it’s completely amazing! I’ll be getting seconds here for sure!

Japan: Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll

Japan’s Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll was a surprising favorite of ours as we made our rounds throughout World Showcase! All the flavors of sushi are there, with the Sticky Rice and Nori, but the protein is a nicely marinated portion of Chicken.

Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll

This is a great dish for picky kids or folks in your group that don’t love fish. They don’t have to miss a stop at the Japan booth!

Hops & Barley: Craisin® Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Anglaise

There are lots of sweets to enjoy around World Showcase, but one of our favorites is the new Craisin® Bread Pudding featured at Hops & Barley in the America Pavilion. It’s doused in a generous pour of Grand Marnier Anglaise. The Bread Pudding itself features the fantastic combo of Orange and Cranberry.

Craisin® Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Anglaise

The glaze doesn’t skimp on the Grand Marnier, either.

Scotland: Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette

The Scottish partners who worked with Disney staff to create the menu for the Scotland Booth hit a homerun with this dish.

Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette

The rich Salmon and creamy Cauliflower Puree are going to be very popular with festival guests, I’m thinking! And I love that distinctive Malt Vinegar flavor.

The Outpost: The Brown Elephant featuring Amarula Cream Liqueur

We absolutely LOVED the Brown Elephant, a brand new cocktail that you’ll find at The Outpost! It may look like a coffee drink, but it’s actually a combination of creamy, sweet Amarula Cream Liqueur and Coca Cola!

The Brown Elephant featuring Amarula Cream Liqueur

Since Amarula is the wonderful stuff that gives Zebra Domes their deliciousness, we were looking forward to this a lot. But with the addition of the bubbles from the Coke, this tastes like the best Cream Soda, ever.

China: Strawberry Silky Spun Ice

With intriguing colors, interesting texture, and an exotic name, fans of finding something new and different will want to try the Silky Spun Ice from the China Booth. It’s available in three different flavors — Coconut, Strawberry, and Chocolate.

Strawberry Silky Spun Ice

On this visit, we decided to try the Strawberry, and it was so good! But the texture is what really makes this. Here’s a TIP from the cast members at the booth: skip the spoon for this one and use a fork to make the most of the unique texture!

Cheese Booth: Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Soufflé with Fig Jam

Cheese, glorious cheese — I’m so glad for all of the interesting options that you’ll find at the festival this year. Another new addition is the Almond-Crusted Blue Cheese Soufflé with Fig Jam at the Cheese Booth.

Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Soufflé with Fig Jam

While we weren’t sure what we’d find with this one, the flavors of Blue Cheese and Fig Jam are always a winner. As it turned out, the unexpected texture really grew on us! Weigh in and let us know if you’re happy with this savory soufflé replacing the much-loved Cheese Fondue from festivals past.

Canada: Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee, and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette

Since salmon moved over the the Scotland booth, we were anxious to try a new fish dish at Canada. The Seared Rainbow Trout is topped with Bacon, Frisee, and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette.

Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette

My friend, who is more of a fish fan than I, really enjoyed the dish! The combination of salty Bacon, slightly bitter Frisee, and the tangy Vinaigrette complemented the fish perfectly.

Canada: “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

Introduced just last year, the “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce from Canada instantly became one of the most popular festival dishes of 2012.

“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

This came as no surprise to me — it’s been my favorite meal at Disney for a while now, and so there’s no way I wasn’t having it during my tour Around the World! During my visit, they were heavy-handed with the Wild Mushrooms, which could make the dish even better if you’re a mushroom fan.

Greece: Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey

Cheese makes yet another appearance on our Best of the Fest list! This time it’s a perennial favorite, Greece’s Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey.

Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey

Even though this isn’t a new dish — it took the festival by storm two years ago and has been getting rave reviews ever since — I can’t resist having it at least once every year. The perfect salty-sweet-cheesy dish, it just can’t be topped!

Ireland: Kerrygold Cheese Selection

You know how much I love cheese! And this seems so simple, right? Cheese, Bread, Chutney.

Kerrygold Cheese Selection: Reserve Cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout, Skellig

But the Kerrygold Cheese Selection at the Ireland Booth has a couple of new offerings this year, the creamy Irish cheeses with just a little bit of tang are the perfect accompaniment to that Guinness you’re enjoying! I really couldn’t decide which one I enjoyed the most.

Brewer’s Collection and Craft Beers: Out of the Ordinary Beers

While beer isn’t so much my thing, I really love when I find something new in the world of brews that grabs my attention. One of the standouts for beer lovers at the Food and Wine Festival are the fun Beer Flights that allow you to try different things. (Check out the fun new cards you get to tell you exactly what you’re drinking! And see the “compass” in the center of the tray to tell you which one is which.)

Two beers that piqued my interest were the Schöfferhofer Grapefruit at the Brewer’s Collection Booth, and Leinenkugel’s® Seasonal Shandy at the Craft Beer Stand.

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit is actually available at Sommerfest, Germany’s counter service spot. It’s a light, citrusy-sweet brew, and is seriously refreshing. It’s a great combo paired with the rich German food offerings.

Brewer

Another standout for me among the beer flight options was the Leinenkugel’s® Orange Shandy. While it’s a seasonal offering (i.e. it could change), I really hope you get to try this one. With flavors of orange that don’t stray into sweetness, I loved it!

Beer Flight 1 Leinenkugel’s® Seasonal Shandy, Abita Brewing Company Fall Fest, Dogfish Head Brewery Namaste, Florida Beer Company Devil

And best of all, you can order either of these beers along others to try in flights — or in larger sizes by themselves!

Honorable Mentions!

The following dishes may not have been our favorites, but they were right up there.

Refreshment Port: Orange Dole® Whip with Crème de Cacao White

Pineapple Dole® Whip made its Epcot debut at last year’s Flower and Garden Festival. (We can’t wait to see if it returns for the 2014 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!) It proved to be so popular that we’re now welcoming Orange Dole® Whip to the Food and Wine Festival.

Orange Dole® Whip with Crème de Cacao White

Topped with Crème de Cacao White and a Cherry Man® Natural Maraschino Cherry, this is a creamsicle for grownups. (You can also get it sans liqueur topping.)

Australia: Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll’s Berries and Vanilla Custard)

While I’m no fan of Pavlovas (and meringue in general…you know this), this version from Australia makes our honorable mention list.

Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll's Berries and Vanilla Custard)

Why the sudden change of heart? Because the Vanilla Custard is to DIE for. So I’ll happily carry it to my mouth on a cloud of sugar air!

Africa: Berbere Style Beef with Onions, Jalapeños, Tomato, Okra, and Pap

The Berbere Style Beef with Onions, Jalapeños, Tomato, Okra, is back after a hiatus from the Africa Booth.

Berbere Style Beef with Onions, Jalapeños, Tomato, Okra, and Pap

The braised Beef is really tender, and the interesting Spices and addition of Jalapeños pack a punch! The creamy Pap served with the dish is just right for taming the heat.

Overall

So there you have it! The 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is off to a fantastic start! We thoroughly enjoyed our trip Eating and Drinking Around the World. And judging from the crowds we’re seeing, you are, too!

Want More Details About the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

We work hard to keep you in the know about everything Food and Wine Festival related! Be sure to join our Disney Food Blog Newsletter for the latest information and details. And keep an eye on our 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page for updates.

News! The DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available!

This 190+-page e-Book has everything you need to know — including full-color photos and expert tips — for making your visit to the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival the best Disney trip, yet! We’ve compiled all of our best advice so that you save money, save time, and have a blast.

Use code CHEFS at check-out for a $3 discount!

This list represents our favorites during our first trip around, but we know that you have your favorites, too!

And now it’s your turn. Tell us in comments: What are your favorite dishes so far during the Festival? Or what are you looking forward to trying the most?

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23 Comments

  1. Kristina says:

    I don’t get the hand rolls…handrolls are supposed to have the nori on the outside (and give a nice crisp to the roll). I get that they are a take on dishes, but this is like cheap supermarket sushi.

  2. Cheryl Donofrio says:

    It all looks wonderful; your pictures are awesome! For those of us who won’t be able to go to the festival this year, is there any chance of getting the recipe for the bread pudding with the Grand Marnier sauce?

  3. Susan says:

    Good Morning, Food look outstanding! We will be there this Friday. Can’t wait to try “EVERYTHING”!

  4. Deidre says:

    The Pavlova was my favorite dessert of the festival, with the bread pudding second.

  5. .Chris. says:

    Ah! I can’t wait! I’m going with my partner and my parents this Wednesday, and we are hitting the festival in full force! Drunken Epcot strolling and eating are a few of our favorite things! don’t forget to sneak in a trip to spaceship earth to thank the Phoenicians, a stop at maelstrom and a trip with Soarin at the end of the night!

  6. Arnold says:

    No love for Terra? We went this weekend and it was hands down our favorite booth and we are not even vegetarian!

  7. Jay says:

    We are also going this Wednesday to renew our annual passes as well! I am always so jealous of your pics I know you zoom in or take a close up shot but I got 70% off the items you photographed last year and mine were tiny and lacked toppings. Like the“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce it has a spot of truffle sauce and was about a half dollar size of beef maybe was 3 mushroom slices. The brat on the pretzel bun was really long and tastes so good but left me hungry the girth of this sausage lacked luster and the Dole Whip with the alcohol at the Flower and Garden festival barely filled the cup was mush wasn’t a pretty swirl like I’d make over at the Poly inside Capt Cooks. It wasn’t a hot day but mine look like it had sat out all day and for almost $8 I think I paid it was terrible. So my point is do you tell them you are doing a review or give them an extra tip or something to get the GOOD stuff? I also write a blog and my FB followers call me the Disney Guru. I just wish I knew how to get the food you get! Thank you.

  8. Kendra says:

    One of my annual favorites is the Kerrygold Cheese Plate from the Ireland Booth. That bread looks different. Did they change the bread? IIRC, it used to be darker and heartier. It also was rather dry.. guess I will find out in November.

  9. Carole says:

    Great review, thanks. I’d already got a shortlist of which dishes I was going to make a beeline for, but I’ve had to add a couple to it now.
    First stop is definitely Hops and Barley though for Lobster roll and Bread pudding. Yum.

  10. Sherri Erwin says:

    I have to say that the Strawberry Silken Spun Ice, probably delicious, but it looks like the pink slime that was all over the news last year as an undesirable meat additive. Gave me a shudder when I saw the picture on Facebook (though it did make me come look closer). :)

  11. Tabitha says:

    I had most of everything you recommend, but I also recommend the Crispy Pork Belly from Brazil and the Harissa Chicken Roll from Morocco!!! They are both exceptional :)

  12. Tom says:

    Great food write-up but I can definitely tell you’re a not a beer lover (as stated) based upon the grapefruit and leinie recommendations. Thank heaven that the Unibroue offerings have returned during the festival at the Canada popcorn cart.

  13. Jed says:

    This all looks great!

    The one disappointment (without having actually tried any of it yet) is the use of “Craisins” in the bread pudding. “Craisins” are reportedly mislabeled as containing more cranberry than sugar, and are in fact mostly sugar, with almost no cranberry. Still, I’m sure the bread pudding tastes good.

  14. Holly says:

    Wow! That Almond-Crusted Blue Cheese Soufflé with Fig Jam just made me stop in my tracks! My mouth is literally watering, it sounds sooooo good!! That just might be my first stop when we get to Epcot!!

  15. Sara S says:

    Oh my goodness, I am drooling! I wish I could be there! I have to agree with the others, I would love to get that bread pudding recipe. What kind of chutney was served with the Irish cheese? Some day I’m going for the festival but until then I am going to have to live vicariously through your photos so thanks!

  16. Casey O'Dell says:

    Awesome pics! We were there this past weekend and I really wish I had tried the Potato and Leek Waffle now. That Kerrygold Cheese is wonderful! My very favorite, though, was the Zapiekanki in Poland!

  17. Emily says:

    I was just there last week and went to the food and wine festival on Friday….the salmon from Scotland was soooooo amazing!! I absolutely loved the cauliflower puree also!! So different and good!!! I didn’t get to try quite as many stands as I wanted to due to my son getting overwhelmed with the crowd after a little…but everything I tried was very good!

  18. beth says:

    the silken spun ice was DELICIOUS. i got the coconut flavor, and yes, definitely eat it with a fork! the watermelon juice at terra was super refreshing and the kimchi dog was my favorite savory dish of the festival.
    BUT i have to say that my fave thing this year at the festival is the mango habanero margarita at the Mexico booth. SOOO GOOOOOOD!

  19. Stefanie says:

    I just got back this afternoon & I wish I’d have a chance to go back for the festival before my next planned trip in a couple months. But I was happy with everything I tried this year. My friend got the Seared Scottish Salmon & I had a bite of it & thought it was tasty but overcooked & I enjoyed the cauliflower puree. I preferred the Vegetarian Haggis & the ‘Neeps & Tatties’ were very good as well. I prefer beer over wine & one of my personal favorites was Scotland’s Innis & Gunn. I also enjoyed the Florida local booths’ Sun Shade Organic Pale Ale. But my absolute favorite dish’s are Ireland’s Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie & the pork slider at the Hawaii booth (I usually don’t care for pork!). :-)

  20. Penny from Vermont says:

    The lamb chop at the Australia booth was yummy, so was the salmon at Scotland. My advise is to get to the popular booths early if you are going on the weekend because by the time I got to the Hops and Barley, there were 2 lines and they were so very long I gave up (and it was about 8:30 PM)
    The low cost demos were fantastic though, would absolutely do more of them in the future!

  21. Nelson says:

    My wife and I tried the Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef at Belgium last week and found the beef to be disgustingly salty. I tried to get a taste of the waffle only, but the taste of the beef lingered and overpowered the waffle. On a scale of 1 to 10, we rated this pretty darn nasty. Two bites, one nibble, and into the trash.

  22. Dawn says:

    I could be wrong but I expected the souffle to be a little more…bread-like, I guess? My was kind of gelatinous and slimy. =/ Shame, because the flavors were good, but the texture/consistency was too gross to overlook–and I am *far* from a picky eater!

  23. Jennifer says:

    Blue cheese needed some type of cracker to go with, then it would be amazing. Canada booth is a winner everything is delish. Fisherman’s pie and pork slider also two other favs. Germany and Italy need to step it up food wise, so many dishes they could feature and we get ravioli and Mac and cheese, come on you can do better.

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