2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Warm Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Ah. We knew the day would come…the day that we started craving some of those wonderful dishes that we’ve had a chance to enjoy at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And we figure if it’s happening to us, it’s probably happening for you, too. ;-)

While we’ve enjoyed some truly delicious flavors at this year’s festival, we had our favorites from the very beginning!

And one of the sweets we don’t think you should miss is the Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing.

Served at the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth, this is one of the best entries into the Disney Carrot Cake Arena we’ve ever sampled!

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing

Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing from the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth

Warm and moist, the cake itself is chock-full of goodies. Dried cranberries give the mix an unexpected tang.

And the Icing. You know that amazing Warm Cream Cheese Icing you sometimes find on cinnamon rolls?

Yeah. That.

Cross section of carrot cake with cream cheese icing

Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing — Cross Section

Given our love around here for Carrot Cake, we were on the fence about whether this one would be mention-worthy or a total snoozefest. I’m happy to say, it’s amazing.

So here’s the recipe to make those Carrot Cake fantasies a reality.

Warm Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth

Yield: 12 Mini Cakes

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Pictures and Review: Farm Fresh and Hops & Barley Marketplace Booths

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is well underway, and we’re hearing from lots of you that you’re really enjoying this year’s offerings!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Today, we’re taking a closer look at those little outposts of deliciousness, the Marketplace Booths found throughout World Showcase. Up to this point, we’ve focused on international flair, but this time out, let’s visit two uniquely American spots — Farm Fresh and Hops & Barley.

These two spots include some of our most beloved festival offerings this year.

(Get the bacon hash. Get. It.)

The Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth

The Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth is sort of something old and something new at the same time. The marketplace actually debuted as Florida Local in 2012.

2014 Farm Fresh marketplace booth

Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth

This year, Festival chefs wanted to expand the scope of the food served here. Rather than source ingredients from Florida only, they looked to showcase regional flavors. But the emphasis is still farm-to-market-fresh.

2014 Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth Menu - Click for larger image

2014 Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth Menu

You get the sense that they’re taking a back-to-basics approach. Dishes are homespun, but are executed with attention to detail and bold flavors.

For example — the Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash. This thing is just off the charts. I seriously ate it in, like, 30 seconds while I stood there like an idiot taking up space. It includes Nueske’s Bacon, plus lots of fresh ingredients like Sweet Corn, Potatoes, and Pickled Jalapeños. But the best part? The Hash is topped with creamy Hollandaise. Shazam.

Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with sweet corn, potatoes, hollandaise and pickled jalapeño

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

The Griddled “Yard Bird” is another fun dish. It’s pretty straightforward, actually. Chicken Thighs are seasoned and then [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic: Highlights

More food and bev fun at Walt Disney World! The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic returns with seminars, tastings, sweets, and beverages for another year.

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Thumbnail Logo

The Fifth Annual Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will be held Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1, 2014, from 5:30 – 9:00PM at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts in Walt Disney World. The resorts are just a short walk from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, making this event a convenient add-on to your 2014 Epcot Food and Wine visit.

Let’s take a closer look at all the event has to offer!

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Causeway

Immerse yourself in this culinary festival during an evening stroll of the Crescent Lake Causeway. Food, wine, and beer lovers will find delicious options while listening to live music.

With 17 restaurants and lounges, the Swan and Dolphin resorts have a nationally-recognized culinary team that will be showing off their talents! We’ve attended the event every year since it began, and it’s a delicious way to spend the evening.

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

Mulitple food and beverage stations will showcase food and drink from Shula’s Steak House, Il Mulino New York Trattoria, and Todd English’s bluezoo, among other great Swan and Dolphin restaurants.

Sip the night away with all of your favorites. And if you love wine, enjoy selections from around the world! Sommeliers will be on hand to answer all of your questions and help you to discover new favorites.

Enjoying an evening on the Causeway as I sample appetizer portions of dishes from some of my favorite restaurants is always a fun time! The Shula’s tasting station is always a popular one, and this year’s Beef Tenderloin promises to draw a crowd.

Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sauce Bordelaise From Shula's Steakhouse

Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sauce Bordelaise From Shula’s Steakhouse

Thirsty? There’s no shortage of beverage options, which include Wine, Beer, and Sake. Tasting stations will offer sips from all popular U.S. wine regions as well as celebrated wines from around the world.

Chefs and Beverage experts staff every station and are happy to answer all of your questions.

You’ll also have the chance to meet executive chefs from the Swan and Dolphin Culinary Team. And bluezoo’s Celebrity Chef Todd English will once more be on hand to greet guests and chat about the dishes he’s serving!

Seminars

If you’re interested in a more hands-on learning experience, consider booking

[Read more…]

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…]

News! Food-Themed Disney Dooney & Bourke Pattern to Make Its Debut During Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Happy Friday from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We are LIVE in Walt Disney World, bringing you all the food, photos, and details from what promises to be the best Festival yet!

Just in time to celebrate opening day of the Festival, Disney and Dooney & Bourke have some pretty awesome news for foodie fashionistas. Today, we’re sharing with you pics of their brand new collection — and like everything else right now — it’s all about the food!

Dooney & Bourke Food and Wine Festival Pattern -- Up Close

Dooney & Bourke Food and Wine Festival Pattern

The understated collection, featuring colorful depictions of Chef Mickey on a black background, celebrates the much loved Festival, which kicks off it’s 19th year today! Your favorite chef is busy whipping up something extra special in the kitchen!

The collection will be available for purchase beginning September 29 at the Festival Center within Epcot. Choose from four different styles, including the on-the-go Wristlet and the practical Crossbody. Or go bigger with the [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Prices and Photos of ALL Food Menu Items Now Available (And More of Our Favorites!)

We’re having a blast reporting to you LIVE from 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 super hot, sweaty, humid, rainy, (insert crappy weather term here) at the Fest so far this year, but that would never stop us from #EatingAllTheFood at every one of the Marketplace Booths at this year’s festival.

New Food and Wine Festival Passports

New Food and Wine Festival Passports

Today, I just wanted to remind you and yours (who I know are planning a Festival visit or eight this year) that we’ve got photos of EVERY food menu item (and most of the bevvies as well…except for the $32 Dom flute…I’m totally not buying that) and ALL menus/pricing at the Festival.

Pics and prices are all up on our booth pages, which you can find here!

2014 Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth Menu - Click for larger image

2014 Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth Menu – Click for larger image

Now, we shared with you on Friday our must-eat favorites from the Festival so far, but mentioned that we had about 17 new menu items that we really loved this year and had to narrow down for the post.

New Brazil Marketplace

New Brazil Marketplace

At the request of several readers, here are a few more of our “you. must. eat. this.” choices at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival…

Pao de Queijo — Brazil
This cheese bread is simple and delicious. Imagine a savory bun…filled with sharp cheese…an you’re there. If you get a good batch, it should be soft, moist, and veeeeeery cheesy!

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Cheese Bread Cross Section

Cheese Bread Cross Section

Mango Green Tea with Popping Bubbles — China
What we loved about this was that the “bubbles” weren’t chewy tapioca — they were little bursts of strong mango flavor/juice!

Mango green tea with popping bubbles

Mango green tea with popping bubbles

Crème brûlée caramel fleur de sel — France
A new twist on an old classic, 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…]