2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Brews

Can you have a festival without beer? I think not. At the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, brews will be available in many locations. Get your thirst quenched at the Craft Beer Booth, Brewer’s Collection, and the Hops and Barley Marketplace. Many individual countries will also be serving up their own beer, and there will likely be beer seminars on the docket in the Festival Center.

That said, many beer enthusiasts are less than thrilled with the offerings at this year’s Festival, mentioning the lack of more obscure and unique craft beers. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Craft Beers will have their own booth at the 2011 Food and Wine Festival

Craft Beer Booth Bar Menu

Full Sail IPA
Sierra Nevada
Abita — Purple Haze
Red Hook Pilsner
Blue Moon
Leinenkugal
Key West Sunset Ale
Widmer Hefeweizen

Brewer’s Collection Bar Menu

[Read more…]

African Inspired Meals in Walt Disney World — Tusker House

Jambo! Join me in welcoming Disney guru Mary Jo Collins and Disney World Moms Panelist Bernie Edwards back to the blog! In this article they’ll share with us various locations to enjoy an African Inspired Meal at Walt Disney World. We also get a close-up look at the Tusker House restaurant. Twende! Let’s go!

Theming Outside Animal Kingdom's Tusker House

Visiting the Walt Disney World Resort has become synonymous with the enjoyment of great dining at restaurants both inside and outside the theme parks. For many of us, these meals lend us the opportunity to experience exotic foods from exotic places.

African Food in Disney World
Fortunately for guests of Walt Disney World, African cuisine is showcased in a variety of table service restaurants offering a peek at the food that has been influenced by the marinade of cultures, colonies, trade routes and history of this land. To describe or categorize what African food is in a few words would be impossible.

The cuisine is as varied in Africa as the cuisine of any large continent. The continent’s regions each have significant differences in their own distinctive dishes and preparation techniques. However, in Africa the various cuisines traditionally combine [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 12, 2010

Flying Fish Serving Breakfast

Welcome to the December 12th Weekly Round-Up! First, the news:

  • Don’t forget to vote for your favorites in the DFB Choice Awards! Casting your vote will help other Disney guests to make decisions about their dining planning thanks to your experience and thoughts.
  • Disney’s providing quick-service coupons in Disney World and Disneyland. Click here for more info.
  • Flying Fish Cafe is currently serving Kouzzina‘s breakfast menu while Kouzzina is undergoing refurbishment.
  • Don’t forget to check out SamLand’s Disney Adventures for an opportunity to give back this holiday season!

And don’t forget to check out our suggestions for holiday gifts for the Disney foodie in your life!

  • Disney Food Blog Holiday Gift Ideas, Part 2
  • Disney Food Blog Holiday Gift Ideas, Part I
  • And now, on to the round-up!

    Culinary in the Country, one of my favorite food blogs, brings us a great trip report from WDW!

    Kevin Kidney has a fitting nod to Walt Disney on what would have been Disney’s 109th birthday.

    Main Street Gazette finds one of the strangest banana splits I’ve ever seen

    etckt has compiled a list of the films included in the clips at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Sci-Fi Dine-In! Awesome!!

    Cupcakes Take The Cake has cupcakes that remind me of 1. Peter Pan, 2. Animal Kingdom, 3. Pop Century Resort…in that order.

    Eating (and Drinking) Around the World makes Morocco’s Beef Kefta Pocket from the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

    Two Boos Who Eat have their “Disneyland Monday” post, which is pretty funny… but if you love Tron, you might not want to read…

    Countdown to Epcot Food and Wine Festival: China, Ireland, Morocco

    Here we go with another fun Countdown to Food and Wine post! The Epcot Food and Wine Festival will begin in just a week, and I’ve decided to share my excitement by counting down to the Festival with a sneak peek at the International Marketplace booths that will be located around the World Showcase Lagoon!

    For those who haven’t had the chance to go to the Festival, one of my favorite parts are the dozens of International Marketplaces — little booths, or kiosks, set up that represent a specific country or region. Each booth offers a short menu of tasting plates and drinks from the country or region represented. These tasting items cost anywhere from $2-$7, so they’re a great way to enjoy the Festival without breaking the bank.

    Today, I’m going to highlight the representative menus from China, Ireland, and Morocco!

    Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler

    China

    China’s introducing some new menu items this year, but bringing back my favorite part of the menu from 2009 — the Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler! Here’s the full menu for China:

    • Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles
    • Pork Pot Stickers
    • Xinjiang Barbecue Chicken Stick
    • Tsingtao Beer
    • Dragon’s Hollow Chardonnay
    • Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler
    • Happy Lychee

    I am going to be all about those pot stickers this year!

    The China booth will be located [Read more…]

    Lunch at Epcot’s Tangierine Cafe

    Disney World’s Tangierine Cafe (like “Tangier,” Morocco; get it?) is a guest favorite for two reasons: consistent quality and a unique menu. While many think that Disney counter-service (fast food) is all burgers and pizzas, Disney fans know that there’s a lot more beneath the greasy exterior!

    Atmosphere
    This is easily one of the most beautiful quick-service restaurants in all of Disney World. Being part of Epcot’s Morocco pavilion means that the architecture and design of the restaurant was under the guidance of the King of Morocco; intricate tiling and decor is all authentic Moroccan design.

    Tangierine Cafe ordering area and dining room

    View from indoor table

    Gorgeous Moroccan chandeliers, zellige tiling along the counters and serving areas, plaster carvings lining the walls, and intricate iron work are all components to the design here — it’s worth it to just pop in, get a mint tea, and relax while taking in the incredible surroundings. And while there is seating indoors, you might enjoy [Read more…]

    Restaurant Marrakesh Review

    I took the opportunity to do a wine pairing dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh during the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which was a nice introduction. We decided to give it a try for a full meal on a recent visit.

    Restaurant Marrakesh is the prize at the end of the Morocco maze in Epcot‘s World Showcase. Once you wind your way through the gorgeous alleyways, museum, and shops of the pavilion, you end up at [Read more…]

    Have You Used a Tagine?

    I was browsing in one of the Epcot Morocco shops recently and found a very interesting display. While I like to think I’ve had experience with many different kinds of food and cooking, I hadn’t yet heard about the Tagine:

    Decorative Tagine

    Basically, it’s a Mediterranean crock pot!

    Interestingly, I’ve heard people speak about tagine-cooked meals several times since finding this display, so maybe it’s just in my [Read more…]

    Dinner and a Show at World Showcase

    We talk a lot about food around here (can’t imagine why), but we don’t pay nearly enough attention to some of the great entertainment that Disney provides in and around its restaurants during mealtimes. I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at a few of the Epcot World Showcase restaurantsChefs de France, Restaurant Marrakesh, Biergarten, and Teppan Edo — that offer not only great food, but also fun entertainment!

    Chefs de France
    One of my favorite “acts” in World Showcase is just outside Chefs de France in the France Pavilion. This hilarious duo has a couple of different “schticks” — one in which the acrobat is dressed as a tourist and comes into the act from the audience, the other in which he’s dressed as a Chefs de France server as he is in the photos below. The basic gist is that he’s just trying to clean the chairs, but the Chef continues to push him into climbing higher and higher onto the balanced mountain of furniture! The finale is breathtaking!


    [Read more…]

    2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Marrakesh, Morocco, Food and Wine Pairing

    Here’s one I was really looking forward to — the Marrakesh Food and Wine pairing! This was the most expensive event we signed up for, at around ~$60 per person.

    Marrakesh Sign

    Marrakesh Tables and Pink? Lighting

    Marrakesh Tables and Pink? Lighting

    There were about 30 people there for the event, and we were seated in an upper corner of the restaurant at about four large tables. Each place setting had a wine-tasting placemat printed with the names of the three wines we would be trying: Les Trois Domaines, Guerrouane Rouge, from Meknes, Morocco; Now & Zen, Alsace White, Alsace, France; and Chateau Trois Moulins, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France.

    Trio of Wines for Tasting

    Trio of Wines for Tasting

    Once we were all seated, the event began with the Marrakesh chef introducing us to the restaurant, which was fully decorated with top-to-bottom mosaic art by the Moroccan King’s own artisans (as was the Morocco pavilion itself). It’s truly a stunning location for a meal.

    The chef has been at the restaurant since its opening, and touched on a few of the differences between the American and Morrocan cultures and foods. He then announced the wine expert and presenter for the afternoon, who proceeded to lead us through the tasting.

    Marrakesh Food and Wine Pairing Cast Members and Moderators

    Marrakesh Food and Wine Pairing Cast Members and Moderators

    Most of the afternoon was about the wines — their origins, geography, and taste profiles. The food, mostly in tapas-sized portions, was largely not discussed. I wasn’t expecting this, and really was quite disappointed that we weren’t talking about the food flavors, preparations, and choices very much. So although I was very interested in hearing about the wine choices, this was a “con” of the afternoon for me.

    The Wines
    Our first wine, Guerrouane Rouge les Trois Domaines, paired with a delicious, spicy lamb sausage, was from the Guerrouane growing region of Morocco and resembles a Rhone style blend. The primary grapes in this blend are Cinsault, Grenache, and Carignan.

    And this wine carries with it a fascinating fact: while the first two grapes are fermented traditionally, the Carignan grapes are fermented through something called “carbonic maceration” fermentation. If you’re a wine gourmet, you’ll probably know what that means, but I was utterly impressed! Carbonic maceration means that fermentation takes place within the grape, and actually makes the grape explode! The result is a light, fruity wine, and the process can increase the alcohol level of the grape’s fermented juice.

    This wine’s fruity aromas paired well with the spicy sausage; it was probably my favorite pairing of the day.

    Lamb Sausage with Lamb Stock and Tomato Sauce

    Lamb Sausage with Lamb Stock and Tomato Sauce

    Our second wine, the Alsatian Now & Zen, is made from a blend of Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer grapes, and hails from the long-contested segment of sometimes-France sometimes-Germany, Alsace, located between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine River. The cool climate of this area means the grapes ripen slowly, and, according to our wine moderator, this gave the the wine a wider array of aromas, including citrus and spice (coriander, nutmeg, cumin).

    This was the only white that we tried (therefore, it was my favorite wine of the afternoon — I’m a white wine fan), and it was paired with Marrakesh’s delicious lemon chicken and couscous. The dryness of the wine paired nicely with the sweet and tangy lemon flavors of the dish. Overall, this was a more mellow pairing than the first.

    Lemon Chicken and Couscous

    Lemon Chicken and Couscous

    Our final wine, Chateau Trois Moulins of the Haut-Medoc appellation of Bordeaux, is a Cru Bourgeois wine, which essentially means that it’s not classed as highly as some “bigger name” wines, but it is very highly regarded nonetheless. (This is the case for most Haut-Medoc wines, as I understand.) Made mostly from Merlot grapes, with some Cabernet and Petit Verdot as well, this wine has a deep color and flavor, with aromas of dark red fruits and deep tastes, like cassis, blackberry, cigar, and chocolate.

    This wine was paired with the darkest meat we were served — a beef shish kabob, which included roasted mushroom. I think the pairing would have gone much more smoothly had the meat not been so badly overdone. The wine alone, though heavy, was tasty.

    Shish Kabob with Mushroom

    Shish Kabob with Mushroom

    Tips on Wine Pairings
    We were able to ask questions throughout the pairing, and we received a couple of great “pointers” for pairing food and wine:

    • Make decisions based on body and weight, not on colors, necessarily. Full-bodied and heavy foods and sauces pair well with full-bodied and heavy wines. Wines that feel lighter in your mouth will pair better with lighter foods/proteins. Wines that have deeper, heavier flavors will pair better with heavier foods/proteins.
    • Wines that are higher in acidity will turn up the flavors of other foods. For example, Chianti can be used, essentially, as a condiment to peak the flavors of the foods with which it’s paired.

    Hopefully those are helpful to some of you. As I’m a wine novice, I found it extremely useful!

    But Was it Worth the Money?
    Now, a lot of folks have asked me if the more expensive events at the Food and Wine Festival are “worth it,” and while I can’t speak for every event, I’m not sure I’d do the Marrakesh food and wine pairing again. The food was consistently overdone, the portions were small for the price, and I didn’t find that it was a good representation of the dining opportunities available at the restaurant. Unless you’re a true wine-lover, consider spending the money to have a meal in the restaurant instead.

    That’s just my two cents though, folks! I look forward to hearing about your positive AND negative experiences at Food and Wine Festival events.

    Best Disney World Restaurants When You Don’t Have A Reservation!

    It’s happened to all of us — you need some eats and have no advanced dining reservation (ADR) for a meal at Disney World. No matter if it’s on purpose or by accident, sometimes those nights you have to “wing it” can end in a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter from the Hess Station if you’re not prepared (speaking from experience!). DisneyFoodBlog readers have pulled together their suggestions for the best Disney World restaurants they count on when they’re starving and minus a reservation (thanks again for everyone who contributed)! Quick reminder, though, when Disney World’s busy, you’re probably going to have a wait everywhere. These might get you in a little quicker…

    Best Disney World Restaurants for When You Don't Have a Reservation

    Marrakesh
    Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco, Epcot’s World Showcase
    Coming in strong at the top is Restaurant Marrakesh, serving authentic African Mediterranean dishes in a beautiful setting. Wind through Morocco’s medina to the back of the pavilion to find the small door of the restaurant. The King of Morocco sent his own artisans and tile-workers to create the Morocco pavilion, and Marrakesh’s decor is stunning. (Even if you’re not dining there, head in to take a picture or two!)

    Marrakesh Dining Room

    Marrakesh Dining Room

    Marrakesh Decor

    Marrakesh Decor

    The Dinner Menu at Marrakesh includes plenty of couscous, the National dish of Morocco, along with chicken, mussels, and other authentic cuisine.

    Atlantic Salmon

    Atlantic Salmon

    Sampler Platter

    Sampler Platter

    For more food photos, just visit the umbrella’d podium at the front of the Morocco pavilion; they’ve set up a cast member with a large photo album of food pictures of the dishes at Restaurant Marrakesh in hopes of driving more traffic to the establishment.

    Bonus: There’s some great entertainment — belly dancers! — at Restaurant Marrakesh!

    Biergarten, Germany Pavilion, Epcot’s World Showcase
    Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany was a shock to me when it came in at the number two spot for places to go without an ADR (good to know that I can head over there anytime!)! Every review I’ve seen of Biergarten has been positive, and with family-style seating (meaning you’ll probably be seated at a long table with one or two other parties) and some fantastic entertainment, the restaurant offers great opportunity for fun.

    Celebrating With Steins!

    Celebrating With Steins!

    Christmas Entertainment

    Christmas Entertainment

    Dancing the Night Away

    Dancing the Night Away

    Riiiiiiiicolaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Riiiiiiiicolaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Not sure the menu will agree with you? Biergarten is a buffet, which means there’s something for everyone! Lots of spaetzel, wurst, pretzel, and sauerkraut, but there’s mac n cheese, too, just in case!

    Famous Pretzel Bread Rolls

    Famous Pretzel Bread Rolls

    Wurst and More

    Wurst and More

    Carving Board

    Carving Board

    Maya Grill, Coronado Springs Resort
    Maya Grill came in a distant third in the poll, but it was mentioned several times and deserved a spot in the blog. This restaurant is located in Coronado Springs Resort and serves dishes representative of the resort’s southwestern USA and northern Mexico theme.

    Maya Grill

    Maya Grill

    As a general rule, restaurants at Disney’s moderate-level and Disney Vacation Club resorts don’t fill up as fast as the theme park and regular resort restaurants, so these are good spots to stop for an unplanned meal.

    Other Suggestions
    While these three were the most-suggested, there were several others mentioned that you should keep in the back of your mind as “just-in-case” locations. Thanks again to everyone who contributed ideas!:

    Captain’s Grille, Yacht Club Resort
    Olivia’s, Old Key West Resort
    Rainforest Cafe, Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    Kona Cafe, Polynesian Resort
    San Angel Inn, Epcot’s World Showcase, Mexico
    Yak and Yeti, Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    Turf Club, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
    Mama Melrose, Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park
    Nine Dragons, Epcot’s World Showcase, China
    Trails End, Fort Wilderness Resort
    Grand Floridian Cafe, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
    ESPN Zone, Disney’s Boardwalk
    Big River Grille and Brewing Works, Disney’s Boardwalk
    Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney
    Raglan Road, Downtown Disney
    The Plaza Restaurant, Magic Kingdom Theme Park

    Let me know your thoughts (and YOUR top spots for grabbing an unplanned meal!) via facebook, twitter, or email!

    Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!