Summer is in full swing, and that means lots of long, lazy days, summer fun, barbecues — and the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival will be here before we know it!
While we love spending time at the festival, hitting up all the great eats and drinks at Festival Booths, I also love to carve out a little time to attend a Culinary Demonstration or Beverage Seminar. And I have to say, of the two, the culinary demos are my favorite.
These Low Cost Events take place daily in the Chef’s Showcase at Festival Center, and offer guests a great opportunity to see a live cooking demonstration.
But even better, the events include a tasting portion of the dish that’s prepared during the demonstration, and usually include a beverage pairing as well.
Last year, we had the opportunity to attend a couple culinary demonstrations. Join us as we share our experience at one of them today.
Lobster Creole with Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson
The day I attended, there were some notable guests on the Chef’s Showcase stage. Familiar favorite Pam Smith hosted the event. She was joined by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson, authors of Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida’s Waters.
All three authors are also notable in their own right. While Heather is a well known former Orlando Sentinel food critic, mother-daughter duo Pam and Katie may be a little more familiar to Disney audiences. Pam has co-authored several Disney cookbooks and writes for Disney Parks Blog, while Katie shares hosting duties on the stages of Festival Center with Pam Smith.
Pam, Katie, and Heather are passionate about promoting the use of local ingredients whenever possible. The book celebrates the bounty of seafood in the state of Florida with anecdotes and recipes from fisherman and locally-owned restaurants statewide.
For the demo, the trio shared a recipe for Lobster Creole from Garcia’s Seafood Grille and Fish Market. Founded more than 40 years ago by a family escaping communist Cuba, the combination restaurant and market, located on the Miami River in Miami, is still run by “mami and her sons.”
While the Pam and the writers shared a little about the history of the restaurant as well as the recipe, servers passed out glasses of 2016 Festival Chardonnay to pair with the dish.
The recipe combines locally-sourced Florida spiny lobster with aromatic vegetables familiar in Creole cooking: tomatoes, peppers, and onions. As the authors shared details, the space filled with the smells of special seasonings, sauteed veggies, and briny lobster. Catching all of the details was easy, thanks to large monitors situated on either side of the stage.
Heather shared that the recipe was a great way to “stretch” expensive seafood ingredients. She also suggested cold water lobster, langoustines, or even shrimp would work well in place of the spiny lobster.
As the crew finished preparing the dish, we were served generous samples to try. I loved it! And the pairing with the medium-bodied Chardonnay was a good one. The wine stood up nicely to the richness of the lobster and the light, tomato-based sauce.
I walked away with a nice snack and a lovely recipe to try at home.
Whether you’re a veteran of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, or this is your first visit to the event, be sure to book a culinary demonstration or a beverage seminar. At $17 per person, the price point is super affordable. And besides, you’re basically attending a live cooking show — with samples. Fun + delicious always = awesome.
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So now let’s hear from you. Are you planning to attend a culinary demo at Epcot Food and Wine Festival?