2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Vegetarian Moussaka at the Greece Marketplace Booth

We have more delicious eats for you today from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Disney has been lauded in the past for their commitment to serving guests who have special dietary needs. Whether you’re gluten free, vegetarian, or have other food sensitivities, your choices throughout Walt Disney World have been steadily increasing.

We’ve also seen this emphasis at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. For the last few years, an entire Marketplace Booth, Terra, has been devoted to a vegan menu.

But beyond Terra, you’ll also find vegetarian offerings scattered throughout the other Marketplaces. (See the full listing of Festival Vegetarian options here, and a list of Festival Gluten Free options here.)

One of our very favorites was introduced this year — Vegetarian Moussaka.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Vegetarian Moussaka

A layered dish customarily consisting of Eggplant and/or Potatoes, a rich Meat Filling, and Béchamel, it’s a comforting dish that’s especially perfect for the cold weather months.

Vegetarian Moussaka --Inside

Vegetarian Moussaka –Inside

No lie — I have been dreaming about this dish since I first tasted it at the Food and Wine Preview dinner last Summer. When I had a chance to sample it once again at the Greece Marketplace Booth, it was just as amazing! It is truly one of the most delicious and satisfying vegetarian entrees I have ever tasted.

And now, you and I can both make it at home! Perfect for the next time you’d like to offer a meatless meal, this hearty casserole will please even the most die-hard meat eaters.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Greece Marketplace Booth

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

Meatless Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 (11-ounce) packages meatless crumbles
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
2 cups vegetable stock
coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Béchamel Sauce: [Read more…]

Review: Chef Gale Gand’s Culinary Salted Caramel Brownies Demo at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food and Wine Festival fans always anticipate the announcement of the Culinary Demonstrations: low-cost events where guests can enjoy presentations by a Disney or celebrity chef.

Food and Wine Festival demonstration kitchen

Food and Wine Festival demonstration kitchen

This year, I took the opportunity to purchase a $15 ticket to see Chef Gale Gand: pastry chef, author of cookbooks, 8-year host of the Food Network’s “Sweet Dreams,” as well as a founding partner of the restaurant Tru in Chicago (among a bajillion other accomplishments!).

I chose Chef Gand’s session because I love to bake. But I still consider myself a novice with just a few trusty recipes under my belt, and I don’t tend to stray from those. So, I was interested to find out upon arrival that Chef Gand would be sharing her recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies with those of us in the audience.

Before Chef Gand came to the stage, we enjoyed a presentation by a Master Sommelier who spoke about the choice of wine that we would enjoy with Chef Gand’s creation.

Master Sommelier

Master Sommelier

It really was interesting to hear him speak about the incredibly intense learning and examination process that it takes to become a Master Sommelier. But even with his depth of knowledge and expertise, I was happy to hear him share his favorite piece of advice when it comes to wine selection: “Drink what you like, when you like, with whom you like.” Works for me!

Viognier from Cambria Winery

Viognier from Cambria Winery

In this case, what we were drinking was the Tepusquet Vineyard Viognier from the Cambria Winery. Our Master Sommelier led us through the process of picking up the tropical, fruity notes in the aroma, and the floral notes in the flavor. I can’t claim to have picked up on all that on my own ;). As someone who prefers white wines over red, I can just say I enjoyed the glass.

When Chef Gale Gand arrived on stage, she greeted the audience with a smile and immediately continued in the personable, light-hearted tone set by the Sommelier.

Chef Gale Gand

Chef Gale Gand

She also greeted us with a surprise: today, she would be demonstrating two recipes. Even though this was a pastry demonstration, Chef Gand started with [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Food for Thought with Chef Rick Bayless

With a full week plus a weekend, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, going on right now at Walt Disney World!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Today, I’m back to tell you about one of the Food and Wine Festival Special Events I had the opportunity to attend recently.

While I love spending time strolling the Promenade around World Showcase and taking in all of the fantastic food and drink, there’s so much more to the Festival than the International Marketplace Booths.

Each year, I also enjoy attending a sampling of the Low Cost Demonstrations and Seminars as well as Festival Special Events. And one of the biggest highlights is enjoying time with chefs whom we’ve admired in an up close and personal way!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to attend Food For Thought, a Festival Special Event that’s new for 2014. Replacing the Kitchen Memories series from past years, Food For Thought events allow guests to hear the story of a favorite chef before he or she walks the audience through a demonstration of dishes.

Food For Though at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Food For Though at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

I was so excited when I learned that one of my favorites, Chef Rick Bayless, would be rejoining the Festival line up after an absence of several years! Bayless is the Chef and Owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, in addition to a collection of quick casual dining spots.

In addition, he’s about to begin the tenth season of his critically acclaimed PBS cooking show Mexico — One Plate at a Time. You can also find his line of Frontera Food Products throughout the country.

At My Place Setting

My Place Setting

Join me as we listen into his conversation with Disney’s Pam Smith, and watch as he puts his apron on and provides us with a dose of kitchen wisdom via authentic Mexican flavors.

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless

My husband and I have followed the career of Rick Bayless for a while. We were first inspired to explore authentic Mexican cuisine by cooking our way through his books. Having the opportunity to hear more about his journey in such an intimate setting was a great way to spend the morning.

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless and Disney's Pam Smith

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless and Disney’s Pam Smith

If you’ve watched his PBS series Mexico — One Plate at a Time, then you know that Chef Rick excels at telling a good story and conveying the excitement of an experience. That combination, along with his wry sense of humor, made for an interesting chat session. Having grown up working in his family’s restaurant, his passion for Mexican cuisine was born out of his study of and love for that country’s rich culture.

Chatting with Chef Rick Bayless

Chatting with Chef Rick Bayless

Soon, however, it was time to turn our attention to the food! At that point, Chef Rick and Pam made their way to the exhibition kitchen for a demonstration of the food and drink we’d be sampling.

Cooking Demonstration

While a big draw of Food for Thought is getting to hear the backstory of a culinary notable, the event also makes for a delicious morning, as the featured chef shares a few of his recipes.

Menu

Menu

It’s always fun to see what the suggested pairings are for courses during an event. Typically, guests enjoy a few different wines with tasting portions of dishes, but on this occasion, we had the chance to enjoy a beer pairing instead. A glass of Negra Modelo stood at each place setting.

Negra Modelo Beer

Negra Modelo Beer

Normally, servings are tasting portions, but we enjoyed a full glass of beer as we’d be pairing it with each of the three courses. In addition, we learned how we might use the beer to create a delicious Fall-themed [Read more…]

Review and Preview: The Causeway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

It’s almost time! The Fifth Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is just around the corner!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Thumbnail Logo

This event, which takes place concurrently with the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, is a fantastic evening for food and wine lovers.

This year’s Food and Wine Classic will take place on Friday, October 31 (yep! Halloween!) and Saturday, November 1. The two-day event consists of food and beverage tasting booths set up on the resort’s beautiful causeway each evening. And new for 2014, a Beer Garden experience has been added for even more great food and drink.

Guests can also take part in a number of special food and beverage seminars for an additional fee. Seminars take place at 4:30PM both days, and the Causeway booths are open from 5:30 until 9:00PM on Friday and Saturday.

We’ve enjoyed the event every year since it began, and 2013 was no exception! We thought a look back at last year’s event was the perfect way to get excited about what’s in store for 2014. Let’s head out to the Causeway for a delicious evening.

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Atmosphere

Whether you’re staying at the Swan and Dolphin or you’re arriving from another location, head to the Promenade that connects the two resorts — that’s where the evening’s festivities will take place. We stopped by the Will Call Booth to pick up tickets.

As far as admission goes, you have options. Purchase an all-access ticket, and it’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink pass to the booths. If you prefer, you can choose a la carte tickets instead, which are sold in books of 25.

Will Call Booth

Will Call Booth

The Check In Table provided us with handy plates and plastic wine glasses.

Check-In Table

Check-In Table

These would come in handy as we juggled plates and drinks on the Causeway.

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Booths line the walkway leading from the Swan to the Dolphin as well as the path directly behind the Swan. There’s a lot to take in!

The Promenade

The Promenade

Hi-Top tables are scattered throughout the middle of the Causeway. You’ll also find large tables with chairs off to the side directly behind the Swan.

High Top Table

High Top Table

At the end of the Causeway closest to the Dolphin, a stage is set up for musical performance. While you sip and stroll, you can listen to live tunes!

Stage

Stage

In addition to the food and beverage booths, last year’s Classic featured a large [Read more…]

No Tricks, Just Treats: Sign Up for the DFB Newsletter Today!

Happy Halloween, Disney food fans!! The Fall holidays are well underway, and we are loving all the cool stuff that we’re seeing at Walt Disney World and Disneyland!

DFB Newsletter

From Special Treats, Cool New Events, and tons of Food-Themed Merchandise and Kitchenware, we think this is just about the best time of the year to be planning a Disney getaway!

But there’s so much happening that sometimes it’s hard to fit it all in on the Blog. That’s why we send out the DFB Newsletter twice a month.

It’s hard to keep track of it all, isn’t it? That’s where we come in to keep you up to date on the latest! There are new must-try treats, like the Pumpkin Spice Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich at L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

Artisan des Glaces Pumpkin Spice Macaron Sandwich

Artisan des Glaces Pumpkin Spice Macaron Sandwich

At Disneyland, the return of classics, like Pumpkin Beignets signal the change of the seasons.

And of course…THE [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

We are back with another delicious taste of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

A big draw of the Festival is the variety of fantastic dishes you can taste from all over the world at Marketplace Booths. And this year, we’ve enjoyed some really great options.

We’ve been fans of the Bobotie served at Tusker House and Boma for quite a while. The South African dish is reminiscent of a quiche with its egg base, but interesting ingredients, like raisins and traditional spices, give it a flavor that’s completely unique.

This year, the Africa Marketplace Booth offers up a version made with Turkey and Mushrooms.

South African Bobotie

South African Bobotie

Although Bobotie normally contains bread, this is a gluten-free version that’s prepared without it. The recipe utilizes mushrooms to provide hearty flavor, and their addition allows you to use less meat. You could even omit the turkey altogether and increase the mushrooms for a meatless version.

South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

Africa Marketplace Booth

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

[Read more…]

Chocolate Sculptures on Display at the Food and Wine Festival “From Bean to the Bar” Experience

Greetings from the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Center!

Festival Center

Festival Center

Tucked in the waaaaaay back of the center is a small area hosted by Ghirardelli that’s dedicated to all things chocolate: From Bean to the Bar. This is a returning exhibit, but they’ve got all new surprises this year.

From the Bean to the Bar

From the Bean to the Bar

You can pick up packaged Ghirardelli goodies here, and get an education about the chocolate-making process. But today we’d like to show you something that’s easy to miss if you’re not on the lookout. There are some pretty amazing displays created by none other than Disney Pastry Chefs… and they’re made of CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate Sculpture Introduction

Chocolate Sculpture Introduction

Check out this gathering of many of our favorite Disney Villains created by [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Festival Center Tour

Whew! The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is half over, and it feels like it just began!

There’s been a ton to do and see, but we couldn’t let another day slip by without showing you around one of the must-visit spots — Festival Center.

Festival Center

Festival Center

Located in the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World East, the venue comes alive each year for the Food and Wine Festival. This is your spot to attend low-cost seminars and demonstrations and other special events. You’ll find Festival information, Intermissions Cafe, and some great shopping here as well.

Festival Center Sign

Festival Center Sign

We recently toured the spot to bring you pictures of every corner. There’s a LOT to cover, so let’s get started!

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — Festival Center

Festival Center is THE place to begin your Food and Wine Festival Adventure. Helpful Cast Members provide you with information regarding all aspects of the Festival — from Marketplaces to Special Events.

Check out this map [Read more…]

Bundles of Savings: Epcot Food and Wine Festival Midpoint Sale!

We’re halfway through the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival in Walt Disney World…and we’re marking the occasion with a celebratory sale on our popular Disney Dining e-Books! Yup, keep on reading to discover more savings than you can shake a stick at.

food and wine festival logo

Snap up your books now, and don’t forget to take advantage of the bundle discounts for your upcoming trips!

When you opt to get in on the celebration of savings, you’ll know our most recommended snacks, dining tips, and Disney food recommendations. See what other readers are saying about the DFB Guide Books HERE!

This Week’s Deals

We’ve done all the intensive work and research for you! When you get our Disney Dining e-Book bundles, you’ll arrive Walt Disney World with a well-tested strategy to save money, save time, and have the best Disney World trip possible. All you have to do is HAVE FUN!

“All The Guides” Bundle

With this deeply discounted bundle you receive ALL of our DFB Guide e-Books to date:

everything-bundle-2014-300x212

  • The 2014 DFB Guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
  • The 2014 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining
  • The 2014 DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks
  • The 2014 DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks
  • The 2014 DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks
  • The 2014 DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays pre-order (with FREE 2013 Guide)
  • DFB Dining Adventures!

If you are headed to Disney World in the next year, this bundle is a Disney traveler’s must-have. And we’re thrilled to be able to give it to you this week for $5 off using code SAVINGS.

This Bundle is priced at a huge discount already (over 20% off), extending a great deal to our readers (AND their friends!) headed to Walt Disney World. And with our extra $5 off this week, you get a tremendous deal on these DFB guides.

Find out more about the All The Guides Bundle here!

DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Discount

Of course, we’ve got you covered if you’re headed to the Food and Wine Festival and need some great tips in a hurry. With the amazing discount on our 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book, you won’t have to waste your vacation time and dollars on food you won’t love.

Our already top-selling guide is yours this week for $4 off with code SAVINGS.

2014-Food-and-Wine-Flat-Cover

With over 220 pages and multiple bonus items, it’s jam-packed with the information that you need to make the most of your festival experience. Find out more about the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book here!

Whether you’re a festival pro or newbie, you’ll appreciate having [Read more…]

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 [Read more…]