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…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: NEW Menu Item Spotlight

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is RIGHT around the corner! With the countdown at just about a week now, we know that you’re just as excited as we are.

food and wine festival logo

Today we wanted to spotlight the NEW items that are coming to the menus at the World Showcase Marketplace booths this year. And with more than 30 new dishes and sips to sample this year, there’s plenty to experience!

We have a TON of stuff to cover, so to keep it all straight we’re gonna go alphabetically! Ready? Here we go! (And don’t forget, you can check out ALL of the menus from the World Showcase Booths — and many food photos — at our World Showcase Booth Page.)

Africa Marketplace

We had the chance to try a sample of the brand new South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms from the Africa Marketplace and loved it! The egg dish packed a spicy punch when we tried it at a preview.

South Africa Bobotie with  Turkey and Mushrooms

South Africa Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

Lovers of South African wines will also appreciate the addition of the Fairview Pinotage to the menu.

America Adventure Coffee Cart

If you love the flavors of Fall, get ready to try the Apple Maple Spice Latte at the America Adventure Coffee Cart in the America Pavilion. It’s available hot or cold!

Joffrey's kiosk to the left of American Adventure

Stop by the America Adventure Coffee Cart for an Apple Maple Spice Latte

Australia Marketplace

Always a fan favorite, the Australia Booth will feature a new lineup of beverages this year, including Cooper’s Brewery Original Pale Ale, Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling, St. Kilda Chardonnay, and Nine Stones Shiraz. The menu looks to complement classic Food and Wine Festival dishes like the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle and Rapini.

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies -- Australia Booth

New Beverage Selections Complement Classic Dishes, Like Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies

Belgium Marketplace

At the Belgium Marketplace, we’re seeing another hot trend — hard cider. We think that the Stella Artois Cidre will be a big hit with festival goers who are looking for a refreshing alternative to beer.

Stella Artois Cidre

Stella Artois Cidre

Block & Hans Kiosk

The Block & Hans Kiosk features a regular assortment of craft beer, but for the festival, they’ll add wines to the mix as well. Enjoy a bevy of American wines, which will include all of the following!

  • Robert Mondavi, Fume Blanc
  • The Great American Wine Company, Chardonnay
  • The Great American Wine Company, Red Blend
  • Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Domaine Chandon Brut Sparkling Blanc de Noir
  • Still River Winery Apple Ice Wine
Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum -- Chardonnay -- at Block & Hans

Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum — Chardonnay — at Block & Hans

Brazil Marketplace

While Brazil brings back a favorite menu item from 2013, the Pork Belly, there are several new items to savor as well.

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

  • Moqueca de pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice
  • Pao de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
  • Cocada: Brazilian Coconut Candy
  • Tannat Reserve

We enjoyed the [Read more…]

First Look! France Kiosk Updates Escargot and More at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The France pavilion in Epcot has been churning out some incredible new additions to the disney food arena over the past few years. From chocolate macaron ice cream sandwiches to ice cream martinis, frangipane and brioche ice cream sandwiches, there’s always more to sample in this corner of World Showcase.

The true flavor of France!

The true flavor of France!

And they’re not stopping for a second when it comes to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu! We’re excited to share exclusively with our readers the first photos of some brand new dishes coming to the France Kiosk this year — including a new take on escargot…

France Marketplace Booth

France Marketplace Booth

Epcot France 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menu

The Epcot France Kiosk menu this year offers some guest favorites, and a few twists on old standbys.

Tartelette aux escargots: Escargot tart with garlic, spinach, bacon and parmesan
Gratin de crozet de savoie: Wheat pasta gratin with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese
Boeuf bourguignon: Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes
Crème brûlée caramel fleur de sel: Sea salt caramel crème brûlée topped with caramelized sugar

The Tartelette aux Escargots is shaking up the tried and true France menu. For years, guests could expect and anticipate their snails tucked inside little buttery-garlicky rolls, like this:

Escargots Persillade en Brioche in France

Escargots Persillade en Brioche in France

But this year, a Tartlette featuring spinach, garlic, bacon and parmesan will serve as the escargot dish on the menu! Taste testers have [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Preview: Greece and Puerto Rico

We are just a couple of weeks from the start of the most wonderful time of the year! The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival gets underway on September 19!

food and wine festival logo

Today, we’re bringing you another preview of some of the Marketplace Booths that will be featured at this year’s festival.

It’s hard to figure out just which one of the more than 25 kiosks is our favorite. We love trying returning classics and brand new dishes every year.

Come check out what’s new and what’s returning at the Greece and Puerto Rico Marketplace Booths.

Greece Marketplace Booth

Night and day, it’s never surprising to see loooooong lines at the Greece Marketplace Booth. This exotic spot has been a favorite for as long as it’s been around.

Greece Marketplace Booth

Greece Marketplace Booth

But a few years back, it cemented its claim to fame when they introduced a simple dish — Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey. It’s a favorite, and it’s returning again this year.

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Greece Booth Menu

  • Vegetarian Moussaka
  • Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey (gluten free)
  • Chicken gyro with tzatziki Sauce
  • Spanakopita
  • Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
  • Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko/Athiri
  • Alpha Estate Axia Syrah-Xinomavro
  • Tzatziki Martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

Throughout the Food and Wine Festival, we continue to see a commitment on Disney’s part to offer inventive and delicious vegetarian dishes. Brand new for 2014, the Greece Marketplace will offer a classic dish – Moussaka! But this version is vegetarian, made with soy as a meat replacement. We tried it at the Food and Wine Festival Preview dinner, and it won rave reviews.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Vegetarian Moussaka

The dish was surprisingly hearty and full of bold flavor.

But our real reason for trip after trip to the Greece Booth is the super simple  [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Preview: Belgium and Brazil

We are back with another look at some of the Marketplace Booths that will be featured at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

food and wine festival logo

Today, we are visiting two more of our favorite spots — one Old World, and one New!

Both the Belgium Booth and the Brazil Booth epitomize one of this year’s biggest themes. We can’t wait to Taste Our Way Around the World with lots of returning favorites, and some new flavors as well.

Let’s take a look at what these two Marketplaces will be offering guests in 2014, starting September 19th.

Belgium Marketplace Booth

The Belgium Marketplace Booth offers Food and Wine Festival guests the best of both worlds. We love the interesting food options here. But it’s also a primo stop on your Brews Around the World Tour as well!

Belgium Marketplace Booth

The Belgium Booth first debuted at the festival in 2010, and has become a mainstay since then. After all, who can resist indulging in a sweet or savory Belgian Waffle?

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Belgium Booth Menu

  • Potato and Leek Waffle with Beer-Braised Beef
  • Belgium Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream
  • Belgium Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream
  • Hoegaarden
  • Stella Artois
  • Leffe Blonde
  • Stella Artois Cidre
  • Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde and Stella Artois Cidre

There are many returning favorites here this year, but we’re happy to say that we see some fun additions as well.

The Potato and Leek Waffle was one of our Best of the Fest Favorites in 2013, so I’m thrilled that it’s returning! This year, the flavors are amped up a bit as the Beef topping the savory waffle is braised in Beer!

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

After such a hearty dish, we definitely recommend that you give one of the dessert waffles a try. You can’t go wrong with Belgian Waffle topped with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream.

Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream

Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream

But if you’d rather have a fruit topping, no worries. Try the Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream instead.

Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream

If you prefer a dessert that you can drink, you’ll be happy to know that the [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Italian Food and Beer Pairing Lunch at Via Napoli

We are less than one month from the start of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and it will be here before you know it!

food and wine festival logo

Today, we are anticipating some of our favorite Special Events. While we love the Marketplace Booths and Low-Cost Demonstrations and Seminars, it’s fun to splurge once in a while on a few of the Special Events, culinary experiences that take place throughout the festival.

Much is made of wine — after all, this is a food and wine festival. But in recent years, Epcot has expanded its offerings to lovers of cocktails and beer as well.

The opportunity to try craft beers and brews from all around the globe is especially exciting. So let’s take a closer look today at one of the events that is especially geared toward beer lovers — The Italian Food and Beer Pairing Lunch.

Italian Food and Beer Pairing Lunch at Epcot’s Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

I attended this event during its inaugural year. While the food was delicious and the beer servings were generous, we were disappointed by the event format. It was basically a luncheon with none of the presentation or explanation that we’ve come to expect with these types of events.

We were anxious to try again though, and last year I was able to attend the event again.

Italian Beers and Bottles

Italian Beers and Bottles

We arrived at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria a little early for the event. That’s always a good idea so that you can scope out the venue — especially at a place that is still functioning as a regular restaurant while the event is going on. It’s not always easy to find the registration desk for the event versus the regular check-in line for the restaurant!

While I’ve had trouble with this particular distinction at Via Napoli before (they usually have people check in for the Food and Wine events at the regular check-in desk), on this visit they had the registration desk separate.

Arriving for the Event

Arriving for the Event

That said, the sign was a little confusing. Apparently, it’s doing double-duty for both the Beer Pairings and the Wine Pairings. Our event included only beer; there isn’t a combo event, for those of you who are wondering. :-)

We were greeted by one of the managers, who showed us to the area where the event would take place.

Presenter Guy

Via Napoli’s Manager Greeted Guests

We found our tables set with all of the glassware that we’d need for four courses. There was also fresh Bread with Olive Oil for dipping to get us started. Note that seating seemed to be assigned at this event. I’ve found that to be the case at more and more food and wine events these days.

The Table is Set

The Table is Set

Individual menus made for handy references throughout the meal and great souvenirs after it was complete.

Place Setting

Place Setting

Before we got started, I had a few moments to acquaint myself with the other guests seated at my table (another good reason to arrive a bit early!). I also had a chance to look over the menu.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

It seems that the Italy Culinary team have gotten the memo; our event included [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: French Regional Lunch

Bonjour! We are taking a tour today of the Culinary Capital of the World — France — as we continue to gear up for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Okay…well, that may be a little overkill. But there’s no denying that French food is something special.

food and wine festival logo

And we were very glad to hear that French Regional Lunches — aka Frunches — would return once more as part of the festival’s line up of Special Events last year after taking a hiatus in 2012.

And they are back again in 2014! Woo!!!

As we prepare for this year’s festival to kick off on September 19, let’s sit down to a French Regional Lunch from 2013.

Join me, won’t you?

Atmosphere

They’ve made the entrance door a little less secret-looking, but the entrance to Monsieur Paul is still a bit on the understated side. Head for Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie and L’Artisan des Glaces, but make a sharp left at the awning. And you’ve arrived!

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Step inside and you’re greeted by a small waiting area and this elegant winding staircase that takes you up to the second-floor restaurant. (There’s also an elevator if you prefer.)

Staircase in lobby leading up to restaurant Monsieur Paul

That Gorgeous Staircase!

Monsieur Paul is normally only open for dinner service, so it’s a real treat to enjoy lunch here in the recently renovated dining room. During the day, the natural light flooding through the uncovered windows lightens up the formal setting considerably. It’s a nice combination.

There is no assigned seating, so arrive early if you have your heart set on a certain area of the restaurant. Tables are set close together, so it pays to be of a social frame of mind. :-) Most of the time, people respect it if you would rather not chat with strangers. Don’t let this aspect of the experience keep you away. (And, honestly, after the fourth glass of wine, nobody’s a stranger anymore.)

Atmosphere and Seating Arrangement

Atmosphere and Seating Arrangement

You’ll notice in the photo above that there is a “host” for the luncheon. That’s because each luncheon is themed to a different region of France, and wines are paired to complement the flavors of each dish. A principle from a winery will guide you through each course and pairing.

And speaking of wine, there will be lots of it. My advice? Pace yourself. ;-)

Table Setting with Wine Glasses

Table Setting with Wine Glasses

I’m excited to show you the menu — let’s get started.

French Regional Lunch at Monsieur Paul

To me, the most interesting part of the French Regional Lunches is that they are just that — about different regions. Each week, they highlight a different region in France. During my luncheon, we were headed to Bordeaux!

Menu for the French Regional Lunch -- Click to Enlarge

Menu for the French Regional Lunch — Click to Enlarge

Our first wine was poured quickly after we were seated. The light-bodied Château Bonnet White Bordeaux was the perfect aperitif wine. It was excellent to sip on its own, but the crisp finish also paired well with our beginning dish, which was very rich.

Chateau Bonnet White Bordeaux

Château Bonnet White Bordeaux

Speaking of, our lunch began with an Amuse Bouche. The creamy dish reminded me of a savory creme brulee, if that makes any sense. No sweetness, but the same rich consistency, with the earthiness of mushrooms.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

The peppery Arugula on top contrasted nicely with the creamy custard in the small starter. It certainly did its work — we were excited to see what would be next.

Amuse Bouche -- Inside

Amuse Bouche — Inside

Fresh Demi Baguettes arrived to the table next, baked in the ovens of Les Halles below. I’m a big ol’ fan of bread fresh from the oven, and they do it perfectly here.

Fresh Baguette

Fresh Baguette

Our next wine was poured in anticipation of our first course. I thought the Château Bonnet Rosé was the perfect segue from the light white we started with into the heavier dishes that would be coming.

Chateau Bonnet Rose

Château Bonnet Rosé

Our first course, Cassolette d’Escargot Cauderanaise — Escargot Cassolette with Bacon — was a twist on a classic. While [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri

If you’re like us, you’re already counting down the days until the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Begins!

food and wine festival logo

If you haven’t already done it, mark your calendars for September 19 — the date that the food and fun gets underway!

Recently, we had the opportunity to see and taste some of the brand new dishes that will be featured at this year’s festival.

Today, we have a recipe for one of our favorites — Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri. The dish will be featured at this year’s new Patagonia Booth.

It’s an especially interesting dish, because the Salmon is sustainably farm-raised. In fact, it’s the first and only ocean-raised farm fish to receive the “Good Alternative” buy ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Watch Group.

Salmon Quinoa Salad with Chimi-Churri Will Be Featured at the NEW Patagonia Marketplace Booth

Salmon Quinoa Salad with Chimi-Churri at the NEW Patagonia Marketplace Booth

And the Quinoa Salad is absolutely delicious, and among our favorite dishes that we tried!

And now you and I can make it at home with this handy recipe.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival’s Patagonia Marketplace Booth
Serves 6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Japan Food and Beverage Pairing

We are ramping up for another fantastic Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Today, we’re reviewing a fun Special Event from the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

We are heading over to Tokyo Dining in the Japan Pavilion for the Food and Beverage Pairing experience. The light meals feature beverages paired with tasting-sized portions of the restaurant’s cuisine.

I’ve enjoyed dinner at Tokyo Dining as well as lots of fun meals at Teppan Edo, so I was pretty sure I was in for a treat! While we’d done the Morocco food and beverage pairing event, we’d not yet experienced the Japan version. Here we go!

Atmosphere

When I arrived for the Food and Beverage Pairing, I checked in at the stand that serves both Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining. The cool, sleek waiting area features simple, modern decor and comfortable low lighting.

Waiting Area Serves Both Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo

This area is also shared by the two restaurants.

Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo Waiting Area from Another Angle

Step into the Tokyo Dining seating area, and the same modern Japanese vibe is prevalent throughout. A sushi show kitchen takes up space along one wall.

Tokyo Dining Seating and Open Sushi Kitchen

The other side of the restaurant is dominated by [Read more…]