Epcot Food and Wine Festival Pictures and Review: France and Mexico Marketplace Booths

We’re back today with another delicious look at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

It’s always exciting to see what new Marketplaces and other experiences pop up each year at the Festival, but I’m always eager to indulge in my tried and true favorites as well!

Today, let’s take a peek at some always-busy booths — France and Mexico — to take a closer look at both classics and brand new flavors.

The France Marketplace Booth

When you visit the France Marketplace, you’re participating in Food and Wine Festival Heritage! That’s right — it’s one of the original spots from the very first event, which was held in 1996.

And though the menu has changed a bit from year to year, it’s always a favorite stop for guests.

France Marketplace Booth

France Marketplace Booth

You’ll notice that the France booth has a very robust menu. With three different savory items, plus dessert, you could easily make a meal out of the offerings here. Add to that wines and cocktails, and you would definitely want to visit the Marketplace more than once to try everything.

2014 France Menu

2014 France Menu

The big news at the France booth this year was a change to the classic Escargot offering. In the past, guests have enjoyed Escargots en Persillade in the perfect stroll-and-eat version; the escargots were nestled in rounds of Brioche.

But in 2014, escargot became an ingredient in a savory tart. The Tartelette aux Escargots combined the Snails with Spinach, Garlic, Bacon, and Parmesan, presented in a deep, rectangular savory tart.

Tartelette aux Escargot

Tartelette aux Escargots

This one has probably been one of the biggest controversies of the festival this year! We’ve heard from guests who love it, and from guests who hate it.

Me? While I’m not a huge fan of spinach or snails on their own, the combo of flavors is an absolute win here. But really, is there a way to go wrong when Bacon and Garlic are involved??

Cross section of Tartlette aux Escargot

Cross section of Tartlette aux Escargots

Also joining the line up this year is Gratin de Crozets de Savoie. The savory combination of Gruyere and Mushrooms makes this rich vegetarian dish a hit.

Gratin de Crozet de Savoie

Gratin de Crozets de Savoie

The pasta used in the dish, Crozet, comes to us from Savoie. It’s a uniquely French version of pasta, customarily a whole wheat variety.

Gratin de Crozet de Savoie -- Inside

Gratin de Crozets de Savoie — Inside

Also on the menu is another popular option from years past:  [Read more…]

Review: Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package, and Food and Wine Festival Late Nights LIVE! Event

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is underway, and this year marks the debut of several new options for Festival guests. We’re going to cover two of the most popular — and most expensive — today!

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package is available exclusively to Disney Resort guests (as well as guests at Swan & Dolphin and Golden Oak), and the Food and Wine Festival — Late Nights LIVE! after hours party, which is available for purchase to all guests.

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

Today we’re breaking down the components into a few sections beginning with the Food & Wine Premium Package. At the end of the post, we’ll go over our thoughts regarding value for the price of these options.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package

There are three main components to the Food & Wine Premium Festival Package available for Disney Resort guests: In-Room Amenities, dedicated Food & Wine Festival Premium Package Areas at Epcot, and entrance into the Epcot Food & Wine Late Nights Live! party. The package costs $199/person.

In-room Amenities

I was definitely curious to see the in-room amenities included in the package, though I had some idea from the official description from Disney: “a select bottle of wine (for Guests over 21 years of age), a festival wine glass and delicious chocolate truffles.”

I arrived to my resort a few hours early, hoping for the possibility of an early check-in. I was kindly accommodated, but since I arrived early, I actually picked up my gift bag at Concierge Services at the front desk. So, if you are participating in this package and are also an early check-in hopeful (before 3:00PM), that’s just something to keep in mind. With that said, I received everything in a thermal Food & Wine tote.

Amenities Bag

Amenities Bag

Let’s check off the list, starting with the wine, which was a bottle of “Sogno d’ Italia (Dream of Italy)” Chianti. It was one of the bottles “made exclusively for Disney Parks.”

Dream of Italy Chianti

Dream of Italy Chianti

Sogno d'Italia label

Sogno d’Italia label

Guests can find this wine sold in the Italy Pavilion (we’ll have a “math breakdown” later on to discuss more of the value).

A Food and Wine Festival souvenir stemless wine glass is part of the package as well.

Souvenir wine glass

Souvenir wine glass

Four truffles came in an edible box made of dark chocolate, topped with a white chocolate themed decoration.

Truffle box made of chocolate

Truffle box made of chocolate

Flavors included salted caramel, cherry, ganache, and white chocolate.

Truffles

Truffles

The in-room amenities are fun, and it did feel a little like a holiday, opening gifts upon arrival.

Gifts inside the amenities bag

Gifts inside the amenities bag

But it may be the next three items that are of the most interest: a Food & Wine themed MagicBand, a $50 Disney gift card, and the Premium Package “credential” lanyard, which grants guests access to exclusive Premium Package Areas within the Festival.

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

The credential is a lanyard to wear around the Festival, and while we’ll explore its design and function more in the next section, it’s worth noting that one side is printed with the dates the guest can access the Premium Package areas.

The MagicBand is decorated with the current signature artwork for the Food and Wine Festival.

Themed MagicBand

Themed MagicBand

Themed MagicBand

Themed MagicBand

Finally, there is a $50 Disney gift card. It’s the [Read more…]

DFB Reader Spotlight: Make Your Own Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tray!

So, you all know that you’re the best readers in the history of blogging. Here’s a little story sent in via email (with pictures, of course) to prove it.

As many of you are aware, I highly advocate bringing your own tray to Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival every year. After all, there usually isn’t a great place to sit and eat at every booth; so it can be helpful to have a method for carrying all of your goodies and drinks around with you as you’re looking for a good stopping point in the shade. As it turns out, this is true for the rest of the parks as well!

Disney Food Blog Reader, Jocelyn Martins, explored the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (and other Walt Disney World parks) with her own Disney Food Blog Tray!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 2.35.04 PM

That’s right; she took our unique bumper sticker and attached it to the food tray she brought from home. Totally L.O.V.E. that she brought it to Disney with her!!!

Jocelyn reports that she loved using the tray and apparently other guests admired it, too. She was asked several times where to get one! Take a look…

DFB Tray with Eats and Drinks

“I had to grab just one more pumpkin ice cream macaron sandwich, but couldn’t pass on the martini either… thank goodness I had my own DFB Tray to balance on the stroller!” (We knew we loved her.) Head to L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France for your own ice cream treats.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

“Luckily I knew  from the DFB to look for the Harambe Popcorn Cart because our most-awesome-ess server, Neil, at our Tusker House Breakfast had worked there forever and had no idea where I could find the Jungle Juice Slushies.”

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

Jocelyn then used her homemade DFB Tray to [Read more…]

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Food Pictures and Review: Brazil and Puerto Rico Marketplace Booths

We are continuing our LIVE coverage from the first week of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

We’ve been busy eating at the various Marketplaces and attending events to bring you lots of good information.

And today, we’re ready to offer you the first in-depth look at two booths that are crowd favorites — Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Let’s go!

The Brazil Marketplace Booth

The Brazil Marketplace returned last year after a brief hiatus, and wasted no time establishing itself as a favorite stop on festival guests’ trip around the World. And this year, it’s back again on a big ol’ plot of World Showcase land all its own (with a WATERFALL! and LIVE MUSIC!).

2014 Brazil Marketplace Booth

2014 Brazil Marketplace Booth

This is the old Belgium location (Belgium has been booted next door), so there’s a seating area set up covered with colorful flags.

Gorgeous Seating Area for Brazil

Gorgeous Seating Area for Brazil

There’s a little waterfall (which the Cast Member made sure I knew about; they’re super proud of it). And if you’re lucky, you might catch some live Brazilian music while you’re there.

Brazil Marketplace Scenery

Brazil Marketplace Scenery

The food is pretty much all new, except for the pork belly. And the drinks include some good offerings.

2014 Brazil Menu

2014 Brazil Menu

We were interested to see a new seafood dish debut at the Brazil Marketplace. The Moqueca de Pescado features responsibly farm-raised Regal Springs Tilapia. It’s flavored with a Coconut Lime Sauce and is served on a bed of steamed Rice.

You guys know I’m not a HUGE seafood eater, but some of the festival’s offerings this year have made a liar out of me…including this one. I really enjoyed it! The dish is light with good flavor. But I was shocked that after I took my first tentative bite of fish, I actually went back for more. Red-letter day for me, my friends. ;-D

Moqueca de Pescado Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

Moqueca de Pescado Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

One of 2013’s most popular dishes, Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro, returns this year. While the 2013 version also featured Avocado in the mix, we aren’t really missing it. The Pork Belly stands on its own just fine!

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro

One of our early favorites this year is the [Read more…]

Review: MUST-EAT New Dishes at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

It’s finally here! We are reporting to you LIVE from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

We’ve been busy for the last couple of days gathering information and pricing for you for every one of the Marketplace Booths at this year’s festival.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We’ve also had the pleasure of Eating and Drinking Our Way Around the World! For pictures of every dish at this year’s festival, be sure to click over to our Marketplace Booth Page. Click through the links to see all of the pictures of your favorite dishes, plus plenty of new items to try!

It’s shaping up to be one of the most delicious Epcot Food and Wine Festivals ever! But after a day of tasting (and tasting, and tasting), we’ve definitely come up with some favorites. Let’s take a look at our top dishes from around the World Showcase this year…

Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeño At Farm Fresh

As soon as you get anywhere near the Farm Fresh booth, you can smell it. Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeño – a strong, smokey smell of bacon laced with the sweet-spicy onions and jalapeños.

We’ve been hearing about this fun take on “breakfast for dinner” for a while now, but we were blown away by the execution of it. The dish has everything — super flavorful Bacon, Potatoes cooked perfectly (soft and fluffy in the middle and crispy on the edges), and velvety Hollandaise that stands in for the Egg in the dish, not to mention the sweet corn and spicy peppers.

Bacon Hash

Bacon Hash

Just so you know, I have to eat so much during the festival that I never fully finish any of the dishes. This one? This one I finished completely and wished it made sense for me to order MORE!

If you only try one dish this year, I think this should be the one.

Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing at Hops & Barley

We hadn’t been wowed by the Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing when we’ve tried it at recent preview events. It was good and all, but nothing to write home about.

But the version of the dish that we tried today at the Hops & Barley Booth was a show-stopper. And no, I’m not even exaggerating a teeny bit.

The Cake itself is [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Updates: Craft Beer Moves Into Odyssey Center, and More

We’re headed in to the “soft opening” of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival today, and we’re gathering some v. cool news that we want to share with our readers!

Food and Wine Festival 2014

Stay tuned the rest of this week for fun news and live updates as well as updated food pictures from the World Showcase Marketplace Booths!

And speaking of those Booths, there are a few updates that we have to share with you that are NEW for 2014. Let’s start with beer…

Craft Beer “Booth” Moves Into Odyssey Center

Remember, like, two years ago when Disney said they were going to do a “lounge” in the Odyssey Center during the Food and Wine Festival…and it never happened? Well, this may be the year!

The Odyssey Center is typically only open for private events, but we’ve seen it used as an event space during past Festivals. This year, they’ve moved the entire Craft Beer booth into the massive space!

Craft Beer Sign

Craft Beer Sign

We’ll have more details (and inside photos) [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Opening Week — Celebrate With Savings!

Tomorrow officially kicks off the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We’ve been walking the park and catching glimpses of all of the preparations, and I can’t wait! So what better way to celebrate the longest Epcot Food and Wine Festival ever than to offer you an extra-special deal on The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book! If you don’t have your copy yet, NOW’S the time!

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

With over 220 pages and tons of special features, it includes everything you need to prepare for this year’s event.

And to kick of the Festival the right way, we have a deep discount option for DFB readers. You can get the new mini-guide for $4 off the regular price for a limited time — just use code OpeningDay at the check-out!

You can also apply the savings to the DFB Food & Wine Bundle. Enter code OpeningDay at the check-out, and enjoy $4 off the price of two of our most popular books — The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book and the The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014!

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book features all the info you need to know before you attend the Food and Wine Festival, from what’s NEW this year to touring strategies — and a new section with top tips on how to use MyMagic+ at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And with the opening of the Festival, there’s no better time than the present to get your copy. Our exclusive daily schedule of events is the most efficient way to plan your Festival strategy.

With a detailed schedule of seminars and events for every single day of the Festival, it’s a quick, easy way to decide what activities and events you want to check out! Don’t waste time flipping between web pages, PDFs, and websites — just find the date you need and we’ve got it all right there in front of you. Just like that!

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 11.17.33 PM

As always, we’ve made this guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with

[Read more…]

Top Tips for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off this week! Get ready for 53 days of food and fun, starting this Friday, September 19!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips

We know that you are just as excited as we are! But it’s a pretty big undertaking. With Special Events, Low Cost Demonstrations and Seminars, and of course, International Marketplace Booths, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Today, we thought we’d lend a hand by giving you a few of our tried-and-true Top Tips from our DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book. We’ll help you make this the best Epcot Food and Wine Festival yet!

1. Plan Ahead

If you don’t read or heed any other tip in this post, pay attention to this one: it pays to plan ahead when mapping out your visit to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

It’s a good idea to check out all of the Marketplaces and their Menus before you ever set foot inside of Epcot. After all, the portions may be appetizer-sized, but visits to just a couple of spots could mean you’re stuffed before you’re finished exploring!

Will the Mushroom Filet at the Canada Marketplace Be Part of Your Plan?

Will the Mushroom Filet at the Canada Marketplace Be Part of Your Plan?

If you have an idea about what’s offered at the kiosks and how much things cost, then you’ll be better equipped to make decisions and stick to a budget. Be sure to keep an eye on DFB’s 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival main page for links to booths, menus, prices, and more.

Disney also gives you some great tools to plan ahead. This year, they’ve published ahead of time a full listing of gluten-free items. We also expect that vegetarian dishes will be marked on the menus. And don’t forget to pick up a Festival Passport at the Festival Center! It’s a fun way to keep track of the dishes you’ve tried!

Collect Those Awesome Stamps in Your Food & Wine Festival Passport!

Collect Those Awesome Stamps in Your Food & Wine Festival Passport!

Worried about your budget? You may want to pick up a Food and Wine Festival Gift Card and have it pre-loaded for convenience.

Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

Not only is this a quick way to pay at the booths, but it also makes easy work of tracking how much you’ve spent.

2. Know How to Beat the Crowds

There’s a reason that the festival is celebrating its 19th year — it’s kind of a big deal! So don’t be surprised when you encounter larger crowds than you might expect during the Fall at Disney World.

But there are ways to deal with the crowds. First, know that [Read more…]

Review: Strawberry Daiquiri, Blue Skyy Lemonade, and Captain’s Mai Tai at High Octane Refreshments in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Today we’re celebrating Happy Hour (no matter what the time is when you read this) with a few cold sips at High Octane Refreshments at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

The name is a hint as to what’s on the menu, since just about everything is “fully loaded” at this little bar, tucked into the Streets of America section of the park. It’s a very close neighbor to Studio Catering Co. quick service in both location and vibe. So much so, in fact, that — at a glance — it appears to be little more than expanded seating for the location.

But what High Octane offers that the Studio Catering food counter does not is a variety of specialty drinks served frozen and on the rocks, along with a full bar and an assortment of beer and wine to wet your whistle and offer a moment to refresh and refuel… in a “high octane” sense, of course ;) .

Atmosphere

The red and yellow color scheme over a large area of concrete that dominates Studio Catering Co. continues here, even down to the style of seating.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Bar

High Octane Bar

Seating at High Octane

Seating at High Octane

The only thing that really differentiates it is this small sign above the bar.

High Octane sign

High Octane sign

And sometimes you’ll spot a propped up menu in the middle of the street to let you know what awaits you at this stop.

High Octane Street Sign

High Octane Street Sign

Bar and Beverages

High Octane’s menu features good ol’ standard bar drinks like Long Island Iced Tea, Pina Coladas, and Rum Runners. (We miss you, Stoplight Margarita!) So when it’s time to belly up ;), you likely won’t have a difficult time deciding if you’re already familiar with these basic bar beverages.

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

I like the little seating area to the left of the bar that’s spotted with trees (it provides a wee bit of shade), so my friend and I carried our beverages there.

Side area seating

Side area seating

We decided to sample the Strawberry Daiquiri, Captain’s Mai Tai, and Blue Skyy Lemonade.

The Strawberry Daiquiri (this blend of strawberry and Bacardi Rum is pre-mixed and poured from a machine, for those curious) is [Read more…]

2014 Food and Wine Festival Booth Preview: Hops & Barley and Ireland Marketplaces

This week, all! The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off THIS WEEK!

food and wine festival logo

It seems like we’ve been counting down, bringing you previews, and talking about it forever, so it will be so fun to hit the ground and begin trying all of the new dishes and returning favorites!

And this year, the festival has been extended to a record 53 days. That’s more than seven weeks to experience this great event.

We love showing you what you can expect from the Marketplace Booths that surround World Showcase. (For all of the Marketplace Booth Menus, be sure to visit our Main Booth Page.)

Today, let’s take a closer look at a couple favorites…

Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth

Originally introduced in 2005, the Hops & Barley Booth serves as the upscale taste of American food for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. You’ll find the extra large kiosk situated in the courtyard of the America Pavilion.

Hops & Barley Booth

Hops & Barley Booth

While the marketplace began as a celebration of New England food and Samuel Adams beer, they’ve widened the scope a bit with food and beverages from all across the country.

And, as the name implies, there are a few different beers to sample here. But while the booth has been all about Sam Adams beer in the past, now you can sample other craft brews as well as wine.

2014 Hop & Barley Marketplace Booth Menu

  • Artisan Cheese Plate featuring Cabot Cloth Wrapped Cheddar, Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese and Cave Man Blue Cheese
  • Baked Lobster Alfredo
  • Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese
  • Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing
  • Samuel Adams® Octoberfest
  • New Belgium Brewing Company Snapshot
  • Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat®
  • Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy
  • La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
  • Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Cambria Estate Winery
  • Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Samuel Adams Octoberfest, New Belgium Snapshot, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat and Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy

While the Cheese Booth will be on hiatus in 2014, we’re happy to see one of its offerings pop up here at Hops & Barley — the Artisan Cheese Plate!

Trio of Artisan Cheeses

Trio of Artisan Cheeses

The trio includes some familiar faces from cheese plates around Walt Disney World, including Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese and Cave Man Blue Cheese.

Purple Haze

Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese

Caveman Blue Cheese

Caveman Blue Cheese

Also migrating from another marketplace is the Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider. The burger was previously featured at the Florida Local Booth. But for 2014, Florida Local has morphed into Farm Fresh.

The Mini Burger gets new life with a fun new topping — Pimento Cheese! Creamy and spicy, this is a great addition to the lineup here!

Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese

Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese

We’ve looked forward to Lobster dishes at Hops & Barley in the past. This year, we’re happy to say that it returns once more! Find it in the [Read more…]