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…]

Guest Review: Epcot Food & Wine Festival French Regional Lunch

Thanks to Brenda Meng, who writes a hilarious blog about food at her own Gastropod Travels, for putting together this detailed review of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival “Frunch” (French Regional Lunch) at Bistro de Paris on October 10, 2010!

Table Setting

I love the French… their fearless use of heavy cream, their puzzling adoration of Jerry Lewis, their glorious national obsession with cheese. Any country that manages to produce nearly 400 distinct cheese varieties gets a gold star in my belly’s book of delights –- in fact, it almost makes up for [Read more…]

Jungle Juice vs. Frunch

Jungle Juice at Tusker House

Jungle Juice at Tusker House

Jungle Juice and Frunch are very often mistaken for one another, so I figured I’d try to clear up the whole specialty breakfast juice question.

You can find Jungle Juice at the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom (and sometimes at Boma). You can find Frunch at Boma breakfast (at least you used to be able to…the last time I was there, the juice looked a lot like jungle juice, so any confirmations would be helpful!). Also, remember that jungle juice is commonly known outside of the Disney Character Breakfast crowd as alcohol-based…so, definitely don’t add that to you 5-year-old’s morning meal…

Jungle Juice Recipe
1 part Orange Juice
1 part Passion Fruit juice
1 part Guava juice

Frunch Recipe–serves 12
One 8 ounce can Lemonade, frozen and canned (follow directions on can to dilute)
One 8 ounce can Pineapple Juice, frozen and canned (follow directions on can to dilute)
One 8 ounce can Orange Juice, frozen concentrate and canned (follow directions on can to dilute)
12 ounces Mango Juice
6 ounces Grenadine