We’re spending a leisurely afternoon at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
While we love taking a turn around World Showcase to try all the great eats, it’s always fun to take in a few of the Festival’s Special Events each year as well. And you can always count on a terrific experience when you book events in Epcot’s France Pavilion.
Join us today as we head up the spiral staircase for a special Parisian Afternoon at Monsieur Paul.
Monsieur Paul is a hidden gem in Epcot’s France Pavilion. Nope — I’m not speaking figuratively. I mean, it’s actually hidden. To find it, head back through France as though you’re going to visit Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. It’s a little easier to find than it used to be, though, thanks to the awning that bears the restaurant’s name.
You’ll find the check-in desk right inside the door. For Festival Special Events, the host or hostess will ask for your name, and then cross it off the printed list. At this time, you’ll head up the Art Nouveau staircase…
…Or enter the tiny elevator to make your trip to the second floor.
Once you arrive on the second floor, you’ll pass the restaurant’s wine cellar to your left.
Monsieur Paul underwent a refresh a few years back, and the overall effect lessened its formal vibe. Still, it’s far from casual, with its rich colors and velvet trim.
But whimsical vintage photos line the walls, thus lightening the mood up a bit.
As I entered the dining room, cast members were lined up to show guests to their seats. While there isn’t assigned seating for these events, they obviously want to fill every table, and they have to work the parties together like puzzle pieces.
I was seated at a table of four where a party of three had already taken their places. And this brings up a very good point: you will be seated with people you don’t know, unless your party is big enough to fill up the table. Keep this in mind if this is something that makes you uncomfortable.
Be sure to take in the details around you. The bubble chandeliers are some of my favorite Disney lighting fixtures. And the hand-painted ceilings are such a nice touch.
These lovely mercury glass pieces flank the entrance to the seating area.
During the day, the upper story dining room is light and airy and the view of the World Showcase Promenade below is charming.
But I’m sure you’re ready to see more of what you came for — the food. And drink!
Let’s get to it.
You may be wondering what the premise of an event called is. I’ll let General Manager Eric Weistroffer explain it to you.
As Eric says, the France Pavilion strives to provide an immersive experience. Through the magic of Disney, you climb the staircase and poof! You’re in France with no jetlag.
The Parisian Afternoon was created to give you just that — the experience of an afternoon spent in Paris. Imagine you’re shopping, or visiting a museum, when you decide you’d like a little something to eat. This afternoon bite would take the form of small offerings — an assortment of hot and cold items, some “bubbles,” and a few petite sweet treats.
And with that in mind, we had our first look at the menu to see what treats were in store.
While I knew from the event’s description online that Mimosas would be served, I was glad to see other options, like Coffee, Tea, Iced Tea, or Soda.
My first glance at the menu filled in the rest of the details. There were the list of Cold Sandwiches. But there were some warm offerings as well.
We began with the aforementioned Mimosas, which our server refilled throughout our meal.
After we had our first drinks, the food began to arrive. We started our luncheon with Soupe Froide de Petit Pois, or Cold Pea Soup. It was served with a slice of Bacon Mushroom Toast.
On a warm, humid day, the vibrant, cold, creamy soup was exactly the right thing to serve.
The Mushroom Bacon Toast was full of flavor and crisp and paired nicely with the creamy soup.
Our next course was a medley of both Cold and Warm Offerings. Because they contained both hot and cold items, it was clear the plates had been freshly prepared.
Our Assortiment d’Amuses Bouches included four different sandwiches on the cold team. From top to bottom, they included Tomato Basil Bread with Pesto and Vegetables; Tarragon Spinach Bread with Ham and Mustard Butter; Curry Turmeric Bread with Garlic Aioli and Chicken; and Multigrain Cranberry Bread with Turkey and Mayonnaise. They were all delicious, but if I had to rank them, the Tarragon Spinach Bread with Ham won the day, while the Veggie Sandwich finished last. Each bread tasted of the ingredients mentioned, which I really appreciated.
There were two Warm Items as well. I didn’t grab a close up of the Savory Thyme Croissant, but it was fresh, with that crisp outside that you’d expect from a good pastry.
The petite Smoked Salmon Quiche with Spinach and Dill was outstanding, and was probably my favorite thing on the entire plate.
As we were finishing up dessert, Pasty Chef Olivier Saintemarie joined us in the dining room to explain the inspiration behind the dishes.
After good conversation and another round of drinks, it was time to indulge in a little something sweet.
I knew there would be Macarons, and when the desserts were served we were greeted with three different types. But there were also other selections. They included, from left to right: Squares of Dark and Milk Chocolate; a Pot de Creme made with Equatorial Milk Chocolate and Guanaja Chocolate; Blackberry, Double Chocolate, and Vanilla Macarons; Choux Pastry Puff with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Mixed Berries; and Valrhona Chocolate BonBons.
There was nothing on this plate that was NOT delicious.
But my favorite was probably the Blackberry Macaron, with its dab of Blackberry Confiture and filling of Illanka 63% Chocolate.
I was excited to see the tiny Cream Puff on my plate as well, since choux pastry (think eclairs and profiteroles) is one of my absolute favorites.
While it may seem like a delicate spread, I was quite full! And so I set off to get a little exercise on a Trip Around the World.
I really enjoyed everything about The Parisian Afternoon experience in the France Pavilion during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Having spent a beautiful vacation in Paris a while back, I’m always eager to replicate my experience there.
The food was delicious, and the menu struck the right balance between honoring Parisian flavors and remembering that we were in sultry Florida. And I really appreciated the fact that I got to spend a relaxing afternoon in the beautiful, airy dining room of Monsieur Paul.
And it’s not too late for you to attend this one, too! At press time, there were still openings for both The Parisian Afternoon and French Family Traditions. If you are at all interested in French food, I can highly recommend you do both of these events.
Start Your Planning Today! The DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book is now available!
Want even more great tips? This 240+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever. Order your 2015 edition today!
Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!
Use code Chefs at check-out for a $3 discount!
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But what do you think? Would you like to experience Paris, if only for the afternoon, at Monsieur Paul? Leave a comment and tell us if The Parisian Afternoon is on your Festival shortlist!