Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing at Spice Road Table

It’s hard to believe that the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is right around the corner!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Logo Official Disney

This year, it stretches to a full two months! The fun begins September 14 and runs 62 days — ending November 14!

While there’s so much to eat, drink, and explore, it’s always fun to take in a few of the Special Events happening throughout the festival.

Events are varied, and include premium parties like Party for the Senses as well as special lunches and dinners that emphasize food and beverage pairings.

In the past we’ve really enjoyed these experiences, ranging from Beverage Pairings in Japan to Beer and Food Pairing in Italy — and even a Tequila Pairing in Mexico!

Last year, we decided that it was time to try a few new experiences. And since we had already tried the Moroccan Wine Pairing (loved it!), the other event in the Morocco Pavilion piqued our interest.

Wondering About ALL of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Events?

The DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available for pre-order! This 250+-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.

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

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!

Order your 2016 edition today and we’ll immediately send you the 2015 edition for FREE to get started on planning right away! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

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And now, onto the review!

Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing in the Morocco Pavilion

The Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing event took place at Spice Road Table in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion.

Spice Road Table and the Newly Renovated Morocco Shops

Spice Road Table and the Newly Renovated Morocco Shops

Last year, the event took place at sort of an odd time — Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00-3:00. A little late for lunch, but certainly not dinner, so we weren’t sure what to expect as we entered the beautiful tapas restaurant. So armed with a light breakfast ;-), we made our way in.

Unexpectedly, we were greeted with a glass of Cava, a dry sparkling white wine from Spain.

Cava Label

Kila Cava Label

Glasses of Cava Greet Us While We're Waiting for the Event to Begin

Glasses of Cava Greet Us While We’re Waiting for the Event to Begin

Served in plastic champagne flutes, the crisp, dry sparkling wine was a fitting aperitif as guests milled around, waiting to be seated.

My Glass. Cheers!

My Glass. Cheers!

When it was time to take our places, we filed into Spice Road Table’s indoor dining area, where the smaller tables were joined together.

Table Settings

Table Settings

Finding Seats

Finding Seats

This type of seating is customary for festival events. Normally, guests simply find a seat, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll be sitting with strangers. If that’s something that makes you uncomfortable, you may want to plan to attend with a group of friends.

Table Settings

Table Settings

Another word of warning — you may have to move to accommodate other guests with different numbers in their parties. Because I was a single, I was asked to move once to make way for a party of three at the table where I originally sat. No worries, though! Once seated, I made friends easily with the large group at my table.

My Spot

My Spot

Upon arriving at my seat, I took stock of my place setting. The paper placemat included labels for four wines (SO smart, just in case you love one of them), three of which were already poured. All of the wines we sampled during the tasting were from Spain.

Table Setting -- Up Close

My Place at the Table

A menu also gave us an idea of the dishes we would be sampling with each course. Both the wine and food line ups looked promising!

Wines and Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Wines and Menu — Click to Enlarge

Spice Road Table’s sommelier, Raphael, introduced himself and then gave us a brief lesson in tasting wine.

Sommelier Raphael

Sommelier Raphael

The Chef was also on hand to talk us through the dishes we would enjoy.

The Chef Speaking About the Dishes

The Chef Speaking About the Dishes

Raphael shared suggestions for how to approach each wine and food pairing and we were encouraged to engage all of our senses as we sampled each wine. We were invited to hold the wines up to the light to check out the color before we sniffed and swirled our glasses.

I had already enjoyed the Cava before entering the event, of course. The second wine, Paso A Paso, was a Verdejo from Spain. While I detected a few herbal notes that made for a lovely contrast, mostly what came through was pleasantly citrusy. I instantly thought this would be a really nice choice for our hot and humid Florida Summers.

First Wine -- Up Close

Paso A Paso Verdejo

But the wine truly blossomed with the pairing. The dish offered with the Verdejo was Shrimp with Fresh Corn, Plum Tomatoes, Garlic, and Ouzo Lemon Butter, and it was incredible. Rich and buttery, the lemon and Ouzo were perfection, and both complemented the wine perfectly.

Shrimp with Fresh Corn, Plum Tomatoes, Garlic, and Ouzo Lemon Butter

Shrimp with Fresh Corn, Plum Tomatoes, Garlic, and Ouzo Lemon Butter

The next wine to try was Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja Borsao, a Rosé made with Grenache. Ripe but not overly sweet strawberries are the dominant flavors here, and I thought this was a lovely progression from the whites we had already enjoyed.

Borsao Rose Held to the Light

Borsao Rose Held to the Light

Our next course was Spicy Tuna with Eggplant, Capers Salad, Zucchini, and Basil Oil. There was nothing that I did not love about this dish!

Spicy Tuna with Eggplant, Capers Salad, Zucchini, and Basil Oil

Spicy Tuna with Eggplant, Capers Salad, Zucchini, and Basil Oil

The tuna, which was a fairly hearty portion, was well cooked. Although this shot is a little messy, I wanted you to see the Salad beneath the fish. It was excellent, and the sweet Raisins worked beautifully with the meaty fish and dry yet fruity wine.

Spicy Tuna with Eggplant, Capers Salad, Zucchini, and Basil Oil -- The Salad Beneath

Spicy Tuna with Eggplant, Capers Salad, Zucchini, and Basil Oil — The Salad Beneath

Our third wine, the Bodegas Breca Garnacha de Fuego, is actually a wine that I’ve had before. I hadn’t been impressed with an earlier vintage that I’d tried.

This go ’round was different, however. I found it to be more mellow and rich, with ripe cherries and tobacco coming through.

Garnacha de Fuego

Garnacha de Fuego

Grenache, or Garnacha, is lovely when paired with Lamb, and that’s the direction that they went here. For our third course, we enjoyed Coriander Crusted Lamb with Basmati Rice, Roasted Tomatoes, and Zucchini.

Coriander Crusted Lamb with Basmati Rice, Roasted Tomatoes, and Zucchini

Coriander Crusted Lamb with Basmati Rice, Roasted Tomatoes, and Zucchini

Aside from the fact that the lamb was just a tiny bit more done than I would like, I give high marks to the dish. The meat was tender and complex in flavor. The wine-fortified sauce matched the wine we were drinking in a lovely way.

Coriander Crusted Lamb with Basmati Rice, Roasted Tomatoes, and Zucchini

Coriander Crusted Lamb with Basmati Rice, Roasted Tomatoes, and Zucchini

Lamb Chop -- Up Close

Lamb Chop — Up Close

The crushed Coriander lent an exotic flavor as well as a bit of texture and visual interest.

Coriander Crust

Coriander Crust

Once our plates were cleared, our servers brought around glasses of our fifth and final wine, Jorge Ordonez & Co. Seleccion Especial No. 1. The dessert is made with Muscatel, and the grapes are dried on the vine before being harvested and pressed. Sweet without crossing into cloying, this was a lovely example of a dessert wine from a region and varietal that I hadn’t previously enjoyed.

Muscatel Dessert Wine

Muscatel Dessert Wine

Our sweet ending came in the form of a few different Moroccan Pastries.

Pastries

Pastries

I couldn’t get enough of the first, with its layers of shredded Phyllo and ground Pistachios.

Pastries -- Up Close

Pastries — Up Close

The other selection, a rolled pastry reminiscent of Baklava, was also delicious.

Pastries -- Up Close

Pastries — Up Close

Thoroughly satisfied with the meal, I was ready to head out for a stroll along the promenade. My “in-between lunch and dinner” was so substantial that it ended up serving as an early supper :-)

Overall

I was very pleased with this event. After all, what’s not to love about spending your afternoon eating delicious food, exploring new-to-you wines, and making new friends?

With decent portions and an interesting wine selection, the Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing made for a nice little treat. It’s a Special Event that feels special, and yet won’t break the bank.

For more details on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, stay tuned to the DFB Epcot Food and Wine Festival Main Page, and don’t forget to join the Disney Food Blog newsletter!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth and Menu Index
2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events
2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Low-Cost Seminars and Demonstrations
2016 Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans Facebook Page
2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Wine and Dine Half Marathon
2016 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
Food and Wine Festival 101
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menus and FOOD PHOTOS
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Gluten Free Items

How to Book Epcot Food & Wine Festival Events

To book all special events and demonstrations, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378). Join the Disney Food Blog Newsletter to find out as soon as we do about details and booking dates! Culinary Demonstrations, Beverage Seminars, Mixology Seminars, and general admission for some special events may be bookable online at www.epcotfoodfestival.com as well as by phone.

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

Chase Disney Visa Cardholders may be able to book select special events, demos, and seminars early. A limited number of seats would be available for the TBD booking date.

What do you think of the Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing? Let us know by sharing your thoughts in comments!

Comments

  1. Sabrina says

    Was there a price associated with this event? I didn’t see it in the review but it looked delicious, I would love to add it to our F&W trip! Thanks!

  2. Mike V says

    WOW….really nice meal! As Sabrina asked, what was the cost?
    I had done a F & W pairing back in the day when they were affordable at Canada for $35.
    These days they just seem to be overly priced.

    The food is what really shocked me, not what I would imagine when thinking Moroccan.

  3. lunf&w says

    Thanks for the review – Food & Wine is my absolute favorite time of year! I would love to see these reviews posted “live” as you experience them this year – so I can live vicariously if I’m unable to attend! :)

  4. Chris says

    We went in 2015. Here was last year’s information. BTW, these are small plates, not a full meal.
    Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing
    Enjoy Mediterranean Wines paired with specially prepared foods from the region.
    Where: Spice Road Table, Morocco Pavilion
    When: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00PM
    Price: $58 per person, plus tax, gratuity included. Epcot admission required.

  5. Patrick says

    Excellent review and brings back fond memories!

    We did this last year and loved it. There were 7 in our group. We had been to previous Food and Wine Festivals, but had never done any of the special events, preferring to just visit the food kiosks. So we decided to try one of the events for a change. We agreed to this one because the price was reasonable, and some of us had visited Spain a few years earlier, so the idea of eating Mediterranean food was very appealing. Most of us were extremely satisfied with the courses and paired wines, with only the picky eaters less satisfied.

  6. Mark says

    Thanks for the memories. We did this one last year. Forget the small plates comment, you will be full at the end. Highly recommended. BTW, the baklava was made special for the event. Not a regular offering at the restaurant. Seriously good.

  7. says

    Mark — Agreed. I was definitely satisfied with the portions and the pacing. And both the pastries and the dessert wine were lovely. (All the wines were lovely, actually. :-) )

  8. Paula says

    Were you able to “revisit” the wines or were you only given what was originally poured?

    Also, did you notice anyone with allergies? My husband is allergic to seafood so the first 2 courses would have been out for him.

  9. says

    Paula — We were not offered additional pours of any of the wines. I didn’t have anyone with allergies at my table, but I know that Disney is always very accommodating of guests with allergies, so I’m sure they would have alternative dishes.

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