The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is well underway, and we’re hearing from lots of you that you’re really enjoying this year’s offerings!
Today, we’re taking a closer look at those little outposts of deliciousness, the Marketplace Booths found throughout World Showcase. Up to this point, we’ve focused on international flair, but this time out, let’s visit two uniquely American spots — Farm Fresh and Hops & Barley.
These two spots include some of our most beloved festival offerings this year.
(Get the bacon hash. Get. It.)
The Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth
The Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth is sort of something old and something new at the same time. The marketplace actually debuted as Florida Local in 2012.
This year, Festival chefs wanted to expand the scope of the food served here. Rather than source ingredients from Florida only, they looked to showcase regional flavors. But the emphasis is still farm-to-market-fresh.
You get the sense that they’re taking a back-to-basics approach. Dishes are homespun, but are executed with attention to detail and bold flavors.
For example — the Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash. This thing is just off the charts. I seriously ate it in, like, 30 seconds while I stood there like an idiot taking up space. It includes Nueske’s Bacon, plus lots of fresh ingredients like Sweet Corn, Potatoes, and Pickled Jalapeños. But the best part? The Hash is topped with creamy Hollandaise. Shazam.
The Griddled “Yard Bird” is another fun dish. It’s pretty straightforward, actually. Chicken Thighs are seasoned and then pressed on a griddle to render the skin crispy. Served with a side of Braised Greens and House-Made Habanero Sauce, it’s pretty much just fancy version of what I eat pretty much every night for dinner when I’m at home — grilled chicken with hot sauce. ;-D
So while this wasn’t as flavorful as I wanted it to be, it’s still a good-enough dish. (Though it pales in comparison to that hash.)
To wash down the bold flavors, you have a ton of drink offerings. We’ve tried the Key Limen Key Lime Wine. It’s a fun flavor profile if you’re looking for something uniquely Sunshine State. You can also enjoy a hand full of well-known wine offerings, like Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, or St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel.
But the really interesting option here is the Beer Flight. Four, four-ounce pours of locally brewed beers make this a fun choice for guests who are looking to try something new. Sample I-4 IPA, Ba Ba Black Lager, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Florida Cracker White Ale. We enjoyed them all.
I guarantee you I’ll be visiting Farm Fresh again before the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is in the books!
The Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth
You’ll find more American-inspired flavors at the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth. The double-sized booth is located near the America Pavilion.
Hops & Barley has been around for a while now, having debuted in 2005. The booth began life as sort of an homage to craft beer and flavors of New England. But these days, there’s more of an upscale, classic American vibe, with a nod to food and beverage pairings.
And it’s a big menu! With four dishes to sample plus lots of beverages, you could make a couple trips or even a meal out of a stop here.
Begin your visit to Hops & Barley with an Artisan Cheese Plate. With the “Cheese” Booth missing from this year’s Festival, the cheese plate was moved over here.
From left to right, this year’s selection includes Purple Haze Chèvre, Cabot Cloth-Wrapped Cheddar, and Caveman Blue Cheese. The flavors and textures offer nice contrast, and we love the classic accompaniments of Crostini, Craisins, and Marcona Almonds. (Though, sadly, I do miss the honey that’s been served at past festivals.) All of the cheeses were delicious, but we especially loved the Cabot Cloth-Wrapped Cheddar with its sweet, nutty flavor profile.
We also continue to see a Lobster selection here, which has been a hallmark of the Hops & Barley Booth throughout the years. In 2014, Baked Lobster Alfredo debuts.
The Pasta Dish features chunks of Lobster Meat in a Creamy Sauce under a crunchy crust of toasted Panko Breadcrumbs.
The Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider made its first appearance in 2013 as part of the Florida Fresh Booth’s menu. It found a new home this year at Hops & Barley with a new topping — Pimento Cheese. And it’s great!
We didn’t love the dish last year, since the leaner Grass Fed Beef tends to be a little on the dry side. But the creamy Pimento Cheese Topping is the perfect answer to this.
But you’re definitely going to wanna save room for dessert. Because the Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing is tops!
It sounds so simple, right? But this is some of the best Carrot Cake that I’ve had — and I love Carrot Cake.
Served warm, the moist cake is full of fruit and spices. And the warm, poured Cream Cheese Icing makes it unbelievable. This cake is one of the surprise highlights of this year’s Festival.
(Be sure to ask for extra cream cheese icing!)
But we can’t forget the beverages! To enjoy the most variety, it’s always fun to try a Beer Flight. The Hops & Barley flight includes Sam Adams Octoberfest, New Belgium Snapshot, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, and Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy, which is Orange Shandy this time of year.
Wine drinkers can enjoy La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay or Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.
And we couldn’t resist opting for the plastic souvenir stemless wine glass!
Want More Details About the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?
We are always working to bring you all of the latest and most important news and updates on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival right here, so stay tuned for details and check out all of the info below!
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News! The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available!
Start planning NOW for your trip with our expert advice, plus information on all of the Special Events, Low Cost Seminars and Demonstrations in a handy take-along format.
Use code Chefs at check-out for a $3 discount!
Tell us which of the dishes you look forward to trying at Farm Fresh and Hops & Barley by leaving a comment below!