What NOT to Eat at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Can you believe it? We are nearing the halfway point of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival already!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

So far, we’ve shown you delicious dishes — both brand new options and returning favorites — that are featured at the International Marketplaces located around World Showcase. But I’m thinking that leaves another question:

What are some of the items that we would definitely cross off the list?

Of course, in a perfect world, where there would be unlimited time, money, and stomach space, I know you’d gladly try everything on offer. But here in reality, those dollars (and Disney Dining Plan snack credits) must be spent wisely.

So while we’ve told you several dishes and beverages that we don’t think you should miss at this year’s Festival, today, I thought we’d run down the list of items that we plan to cross off. Because, well, something’s gotta give. :-) I’ll also give you some suggestions for what we’d get in place of these items.

Ghirardelli Sundae at Fife & Drum

In the past, Fife & Drum Tavern in the America Pavilion has had Festival success with extra menu additions like the Frozen Red Stag Lemonade. (That one proved to be so popular, it was added to the menu permanently.)

But while the Ice Cream Sundae with Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce on the menu this year is good, it’s not “skip another awesome menu item” good.

The sundae is Vanilla Soft Serve with a few pumps of Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce. There are way more tempting options all over World Showcase.

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice Cream Sundae Made with Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce

Instead, why not go for a frozen treat with international flair? Skip the soft serve, and go for some Kaki Gori at the permanent Japan stand, Kabuki Cafe.

Guylian Seashell Truffles at the Desserts & Champagne Marketplace

So, here’s where we make a bit of a confession. If there were one booth I’d outright skip at the Festival it would probably be Desserts & Champagne.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s just that I find so many more compelling options circling World Showcase Lagoon. Case in point: one of the menu items here is Guylian Seashell Truffles. This is not a dish. This is something that the Cast Member takes out of the box and hands to me.

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Sure, they’re only $1.75. But they can be bought at the grocery store…and when we are Food and Wine Festival-ing, we are definitely passing on this in lieu of more exotic fare.

If you’re looking for a truly satisfying chocolate dish, head to the Ireland Marketplace and try the amazing Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard, which is more than worth the price difference.

Dole Squish’Ems at Refreshment Port

If you want to stop at the Refreshment Port for a Croissant Doughnut, we are totally on board with that.

But one featured Festival food we will not be making time or money for is the Dole Squish’Em. The prepackaged, applesauce-based snack may be a big hit with the preschool crowd.

Dole Fruit Squish Ems

Dole Fruit Squish’Ems

But unless you’re under 3 (or you really, really like flavored applesauce), we wouldn’t worry about checking this box off your passport. If you’re looking for a fruit fix, the Dole Whips served here for the Festival will give you that, plus a healthy dose of that Disney food-loving feeling.

Dom Pérignon at the Desserts & Champagne Marketplace

Aaaaaand we are back to Desserts & Champagne Marketplace. You won’t be surprised to find that they offer a selection of — you guessed it — Champagne, in addition to the sweets.

Now, kudos to Disney. They’ve kept it real here by offering authentic French Champagne — the only sparkling wine that should technically be called by that moniker. But there’s a reason that Champagne is considered a luxury item: its price. A glass of bubbly will set you back here anywhere from $12 to $32. And at the upper price tier, that glass of Dom Pérignon just isn’t worth it to me. Do you know how much Griddled Greek Cheese I can get for $32??

2014 Desserts & Champagne Marketplace Booth Menu - Click for larger image

2014 Desserts & Champagne Marketplace Booth Menu, Featuring the $32 Glass of Dom Pérignon!

I mean, we understand if you must. But if you’re simply looking for something in the bubbly and effervescent category, give the Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé a try for about a third of the price. Better yet, head to the Block & Hans Kiosk in the America Pavilion where they’re serving up a delicious, limited edition Blanc de Noir by Domaine Chandon.

Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

And it will only set you back $6.25.

Filetto di Pollo, con Funghi al Marsala at the Italy Marketplace

On our recent dine around day, we knew we needed to pay attention to the Italy Marketplace, which featured some brand new savory bites. While we were sorry to see the Sausage and Peppers as well as the Cheese Ravioli with Beef Bolognese go, we were hopeful that the new dishes would be just as good or better.

Not quite.

While the latest Ravioli, a “Caprese” version featuring a vegetarian profile, is good, it’s not the must-have dish that the previous version was. And when it comes to the Filetto di Pollo, con Funghi al Marsala, well, we were downright disappointed. Good Chicken Marsala is awesome, but this just didn’t measure up.

Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala

Filetto di Pollo, con Funghi al Marsala

And the Italian Booth continues its odd aversion to salt. Really — we understand that you don’t want to make things too salty. But some salt — any! — would have helped the dish out immeasurably.

Stick with the Cannoli al Cioccolato and the Italian Margarita here, and you’ll be happy.

Selections from Craft Beers

My jury is still out on how I feel about the change to the Craft Beers Marketplace in 2014. Previously, Craft Beers occupied a large Marketplace at the entrance of World Showcase. This year, it’s been moved indoors to the Odyssey Center. Further, a selection of snacks have been added to the menu.

Yay for air conditioning! But not so yay for it feeling out-of-the-way and not part of the Festival.

The Craft Beer Snack Mix is pretty decent — after all, it’s complimentary with any Craft Beer selection. But the House-made Country Pâté with Pickled Carrots and Farmhouse Bread and the Muffuletta Pinwheels with House-Made Pickles didn’t make much of an impression on us (though the pickles are pretty cool).

House-made Country Pate

House-made Country Pâté

Muffuletta Pinwheels

Muffuletta Pinwheels

Sure, this is kind of like a bar, and these are kind of like bar foods. We get that. But there are tastier ways to complement your Craft Beer throughout Epcot.

If you must eat here (i.e. if you go another step without food, you’ll perish), go with the Spicy Pimento Cheese Dip. While I wasn’t thrilled that it was served with generic water crackers, it was actually pretty awesome.

Dessert Trio at the Desserts & Champagne Marketplace

The biggest reason why I’d skip Desserts & Champagne altogether? We aren’t even all that impressed with their desserts.

This year’s options are particularly upscale in their presentation, with three different types of desserts represented — Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll, and Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake. Unlike other years, the desserts are not available individually.

Here’s my problem. The desserts definitely have the feel of something mass-produced (my common complaint with Disney desserts in many spots). And while each name has a lot of words in the title, I just don’t feel like any of them are particularly special.

Dessert Trio: Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, blueberry lime cheesecake roll, and chocolate espresso opera cake

Dessert Trio: Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll, and Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake

I would rather indulge in something I’ve never had before, like the Cocadas, or Brazilian Coconut Candy, at the Brazil Marketplace. And for the same price, I could get two!

Pavlova at the Australia Marketplace

Ok, on this one, a teensy bit of subjectivity might enter into my recommendation. If you’ve been reading Disney Food Blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m not a fan of many desserts that involve egg white and sugar. Meringues are uniformly lost on me; it’s as though chefs have cleverly packaged sugar air and expect me to be excited about it. For that reason, I simply am not going to be a fan of the Pavlova served at the Australia Marketplace, since it’s little more than a baked meringue serving as a dessert cup.

Pavlova

Pavlova

If you feel the same way about pavlovas as I do, but would still like a treat involving berries and cream, check out the Berry Cream Puff at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway Pavilion.

Selections from Intermissions Cafe

Our thoughts about some of the food selections at Intermissions Cafe are somewhat similar. Located in Festival Center, this can be a spot for some interesting beverages, but the food selection, by and large, is a pass for us. We can think of much tastier fare than the Southwest Chicken Wrap. And while snacks like Grapes might be great for picky little ones, we don’t really feel like a stop is warranted otherwise.

If you are looking for vegetarian or vegan options, however, Intermissions Cafe may interest you. Both the Fruit and Cheese Plate and the Vegan Trio are somewhat interesting.

Fruit and Cheese Plate

Fruit and Cheese Plate

Vegan Trio (couscous, tabouleh, and hummus with pita)

Vegan Trio (couscous, tabouleh, and hummus with pita)

Our suggestion? If you’d like to include a stop at Intermissions Cafe in your passport, make it a drinks-only stop. The Caposaldo Sweet Sparkling Peach Moscato is fun, and if you like it, you can purchase a bottle at the neighboring Festival Wine Shop.

And that’s a wrap! We could go down a road of personal preference and make more suggestions, but we realize that our “Skip It” may just be your “Gotta Have it”! And so, we leave you with this solid list, understanding that there will still likely be a difference of opinion.

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!
Be sure to join our Disney Food Blog Newsletter for the latest information and details. And keep an eye on our 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page for updates.

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth and Menu Index — and FOOD PHOTOS!
2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events
2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Low-Cost/Free Seminars and Activities
2014 Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule and Dining Package Information
2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Gluten Free Items
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans Facebook Page
2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Events
2014 Tower of Terror 10-miler Events
2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic: Menus, Booking Info available!

How to Book Epcot Food & Wine Festival Events

To book all special events and demonstrations, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) starting July 31 at 7AM ET. Culinary Demonstrations, Beverage Seminars, Mixology Seminars, and general admission for some special events will be bookable online at www.epcotfoodfestival.com.

Tables in Wonderland members, Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and Golden Oak Residents are eligible for a $2 discount (per person, per event) for beverage and mixology seminars and culinary demos taking place Mon-Thurs during the festival. Discounts are by phone at 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378). Stay tuned to DisneyFoodBlog.com and the Disney Food Blog Newsletter for details.

News! The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available!

It’s not to late to start planning 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!

Return to the Main 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page.

Now we really want to hear from you! What’s on your “Skip It” list? Join the conversation in comments below!

Comments

  1. Pat says

    Pretty much nailed it. Walked right by the Desserts and Champagne booth. Absolutely nothing there was of note. I didn’t mind the craft beers so much only because it was a heat index of 97 and it was air conditioned so maybe that had something to do with it. The snack mix was stale and the food choices left some to be desired. The chicken in Italy was dreadful. A lot of really good items and a few needing some work.

  2. Maureen says

    I agree with just about everything you mentioned-Italy was a total disappointment-the marsala was AWFUL-and we had the opposite problem, it tasted like a salt sauce. No marsala taste at all. We had ours last week, and the cast member in the Premium package area said that people had been complaining earlier in the festival that Italy needed to add salt. So maybe they went overboard?

    My husband surprised me and treated me to a glass of the Dom Perignon-I would never have bought a glass for that much money. My first and last foray into the really expensive champagne, and I was happy to be able to try it.

    We really need to try the griddled cheese from Greece again-we had it once and it was cold and not good.

    Loving your coverage of the Food and Wine Festival-so fun to be reading your posts and actually be at WDW!!

  3. says

    Thanks, some helpful tips! I do love Dom Perignon, but I wouldn’t go for the $32 a glass at the F & W Festival either. Better to buy a bottle (probably not at Disney or restaurant markup prices) and enjoy it at home on a special occasion.

    Maureen, I have had the same problem with the griddled cheese. Everyone raves, but it has only been cold and congealed when I’ve gotten it at F & W. I did have it at Kouzzina when Kouzzina was there, and it was delicious. So, if you can get it hot and freshly made, it’s worth it.

  4. says

    Ha! I love this post. But yeah, if it’s plated like I could have just picked it up at the convenient store, than it’s a pass.

    I have to agree with Maureen and Sherri about the Griddled Greek Cheese though. My taste buds have fallen victim to the memory of year’s past, but it seems when it was first introduced, the “greek cheese” was a really nice cut of Kasseri, which pairs perfectly with the honey and pistachios. This year, honest to goodness, it sort of looks and tastes like a melted crayon (not that I eat a lot of melted crayons). The springiness and salt content just isn’t there.

    Judging by the looks alone, it’s not firm enough to hold a “griddle”, and by taste, I still can’t tell you what kind of cheese it is. It was one of those dishes that I was looking forward to, but after eating it, I wish I would have just gotten another Vegetarian Moussaka from the Greek kiosk, which seemed cheesier that the griddled cheese.

  5. CC says

    The Pork Slider at Hawaii was wet from sitting out for so long. Seriously, the bottom part of the bun could actually be wrung out like a sponge. Disgusting.

    Everybody I was with also agreed about the Griddled Cheese situation in Greece. This used to be a Must Have Dish, and this year it’s a big blob of sub-par, melted cheese with one pistachio. Another great dish bites the dust.

    The Spicy Pimento Dip in Craft Beer was actually one of the best things I ate that day. Take that as you will.

  6. says

    Always enjoy reading your posts, but I have to disagree on some points. The grilled cheese was not that great. Cold and kinda congealed. But more importantly, the Pavlova in Australia is so good, it was worth walking to get another one the next day! Folks, do not miss out on this treat!!!

  7. Rebecca says

    Nicely done! I hate reading anything negative about Disney (maybe I’m a little biased!) but this is good info! We haven’t been to the festival yet (25 days!) but I’ve already read the festival guide and made note of what I’d like to try. I was a lttle confused by the “Squish-ems” on the menu. Available, fine, but as part of the festival menu? Are they kidding? Maybe they could have a “Kids Country” booth. Anyway, thanks for the feedback on the Italy booth. I was thinking about being adventurous (for me) and trying the chicken dish, but I’ll skip it now! Thanks for saving me a few bucks! You’re awesome!

  8. Lauren says

    Great list! Tho i would probably go for the Dom champagne at $32 a glass because you can’t buy a single glass of Dom at any restaurant, its only ever sold by the bottle which will set you back $200-300 depending on where you are. Not every day you get to drink nice bubbly and we like to splurge at disney!

  9. Carol says

    Last week we visited the festival for two and a half days of our seven day trip. I agree with the chicken marsala comments…it is too Americanized…they should have had pizza margarita like they did one year, it would have been better. Our vote for the worst food was the food from Poland. Funny, since my husband is Polish, he, his sister and I did not like the perogis at all. The Polish beer is very good. The snack mix from Craft Beers was too spicy and uninteresting and our vote for the worst beer was at Craft Beers Rye Pale Ale. Our favorites, Beef Bourginion in France and Stella Artois Cidre Belgium.

  10. Jackie Simmons says

    We just got home from Food and Wine Festival a few days ago. This is what I would say. Everyone has different taste, so try what sounds good to you. My husband and i loved everything we tried. We didn’t order things with ingredients we knew we didn’t like. It was great fun. The beer flights were awesome, and the hash from the Farm Fresh booth was one of our favorite things. The shrimp taco from Mexico was slicks, as we’re the sliders from Hops and Barley.

  11. Gillian says

    This may be blasphemy to some, but I would also skip the petit filet from Canada. It’s nothing like the larger portion you’ll get at Le Cellier and we were quite disappointed to have wasted a snack credit on it. The sauce was really good, but the meat was tough and dry and *very* petit. Also, do not under any circumstances try the Neige bubbly from the same pavillion. It tasted like plastic (and not even from the plastic flutes it’s served in!).

    The only other thing we tried after that was the fleur de sel creme brulee, which really lived up to expectation. I’d love to see a full dessert added to one of the restaurants and I’d make reservations just for it! I don’t think we’ll ever go during food and wine again, unfortunately.

  12. nitabee says

    I didn’t care for the griddled Greek cheese this year. I thought I liked it before, but maybe I’m remembering wrong. And I think the Pavlova was pretty good. Not my favorite thing, but worth trying.

  13. Casey says

    Totally agree on Italy! The ravioli and marsala were at the top of my list…until I tried them. The ravioli were decent, but no better than I could make myself at home with a frozen bag. The marsala chicken was the one plate that I did not finish. I found myself thinking, “There are so many better ways I could be using these calories.” No flavor, chicken seemed a little undercooked. My raves for the festival were the Canadian filet minion and beer cheese soup, the Hawaiian Kahlua pork slider, the Irish cheese plate, and the Mexican sweet corn cheesecake. So many awesome offerings, I have high hopes that Italy will do better next year.

  14. Eileen says

    We didn’t try any food at the Craft Beer, but what we did appreciate was the evening that we were there it was air-conditioned and quiet. We spent about an hour at the back of the “lounge” while our daughter enjoyed a beer flight just talking and catching up with her (she lives in one state and we live in another). I believe it was a Thursday and the place was nearly empty. We stay away from the Italian figuring that anything there cannot compare with Via Napoli, and we didn’t bother with Desserts because we had no room! I agree with Jackie – everyone has different tastes so try what is interesting for you.

  15. jim says

    I was very disappointed this year that several of my favorites are now gone, replaced with something down right bad. Top of the the list is the Escargot in France. Instead of a piece of Escargot in nice mini-bread bowl topped with Garlic butter, a portable version of what you normally would expect, its a very dry tart. Don’t bother.

    Lobster rolls that i looked forward to in America every year, gone. Shrimp & Grits in Florida Fresh, gone. Spicey Chicken Sausage in Canada, gone. Toffy Desert in Scotland, gone. Apple Strudel in Germany, gone.

    In fact, i have noticed many booths that had 3 items now only have 2.

    Well, i guess the food and wine fest was a good thing while it was a well kept secret. Too bad. Not going back again this year.

  16. Janet Sala says

    We’ll be there in 10 days. We have been regulars at F&W for the past 10 years, so most of our F&W time this year (and last) is spent at signature events. Food and Wine Festival is much more than the kiosks around World Showcase Lagoon!

    That said, we always enjoy a few hours visiting the kiosks. I am looking forward to the bacon hash. I will miss the the lobster roll, and what I believe was the Scandinavian sampler. I am heart-broken about the escargot. Only good part about that is my husband makes a killer brioche and I make darn good escargot, so I just need to get him to make me some itty-bitty brioche balls, and I can take care of the rest.

  17. Diana C. says

    We had the chicken marsala in Italy, and we each took one bite and threw the rest out. We both got a mouthful of grizzle, and the sauce was almost tasteless. I was shocked at just how bad it was. Those Italians know how to cook. Not sure who got into the kitchen!

  18. Mark says

    Every year the desert trio is something we looked forward to, but we took one look and gave it a pass this year. Thanks for the post. My impression is that Disney is going for max profits this year at the expense of great food. Too bad.

  19. Patrick says

    There was one thing at Desserts and Champagne worth getting, and I almost missed it: the frozen s’mores. Chocolate granita with all the smores fixings as toppings… it was really good, and something I’d serve my kid.

  20. Jan says

    Agree with your assessments. The pate was weird – we got four big slices with the semi-stale bread, and it was the only thing at the festival we didn’t finish. We passed up the Desserts offerings, even though I have a major sweet tooth. I didn’t think the food was quite as good this year as the last time we went, but I still enjoyed it, particularly the carrot cake and the chocolate dessert from Ireland. I also thought the lobster alfredo was tasty, though not as good as the lobster roll, and not quite as tasty a mac and cheese option as Germany’s nudel gratin.

    One thing I REALLY enjoyed – free soda at the Coke experience on one side of Epcot, then more unlimited free soda (with those cool Freestyle Coke machines) at the Chase lounge in American Experience. If you have any sort of Chase card, take advantage of the lounge!! We went three times and saved a lot of money on drinks, haha.

  21. Veronica Mulligan says

    The escargot at the Paris Kiosk was very disappointing. The recipe changed and while we were eating it, everyone sitting by us said the same thing about the escargot. It needs the puff pastry shell!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *