Guest Interview: Spice & Tea Exchange

Feel free to grab a cup of tea! Then sit back and join me as our Guest Reviewer, Bill Iadonisi, takes us on a tour of The Spice & Tea Exchange at Downtown Disney. Take it away, Bill!

Walt Disney World is always in a state of flux. You never know when a cutting-edge attraction, show or store will make its appearance. That‘s what makes the World such a magical place; guests are continually experiencing unique and exciting things. Case in point…a tasty new shop called The Spice and Tea Exchange, which opened in Mickey’s Pantry on November 9th, 2010, in the Market Place in Downtown Disney.

The Big View

This new store is a wonderful addition to Disney’s culinary arsenal, and is conveniently sandwiched between The Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express. Every product found here is natural and no preservatives or chemicals are ever used, ensuring top flavor and [Read more…]

2011 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Foodie Events

It’s not quite time for that other Festival that foodies mark on their calendars ;). While we wait (and wait) for October, there are some other fun exhibits to explore in Walt Disney World!

For the 18th year, Epcot will be hosting the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival from March 2-May 15, 2011, and you can find the festival guide here. Foodies will find some delightful exhibits, which we’ve detailed below.

Future World
GoGo on the Go Challenge – Discover more about healthy [Read more…]

New Spice and Tea Exchange in Orlando’s Downtown Disney

More new stuff at Disney!

Well, more specifically, Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World. Without a whisper of notice, Mickey’s Pantry in Downtown Disney launched this incredible Spice and Tea Exchange, full of a wide variety of teas, sugars, salts, and more!

Spice and Tea Exchange in Downtown Disney

Tucked into a corner of Mickey’s Pantry, right next to Earl of Sandwich, the Spice and Tea Exchange looks like an [Read more…]

Quick Bite: Epcot’s Joy of Tea

Not too long ago, a kiosk called Joy of Tea popped up in Epcot across from the beautiful China pavilion. I knew the little red pagoda sold several different kinds of tea, but I had no idea of the extent of the fun and interesting menu!

While wandering around Epcot earlier this month my stomach started growling while I was walking toward China — perfect timing! I had no idea of the food offerings at Joy of Tea — or the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 25, 2010

Happy Sunday, everyone! Here’s the latest food news from this week:

And thanks to Global Disney Pinvestigation for writing about our WDW Foodie Fest this week!

We’re starting this week’s Round-Up a little differently! I’m excited to showcase some pics of the upcoming restaurants in Epcot — La Hacienda de San Angel and Via Napoli!

First off, thanks to Eric Walker for this awesome pic of the newly painted Hacienda de San Angel!

Hacienda de San Angel

And thanks to Epcot Explorer for these fantastic photos of the newly revealed Via Napoli!

Via Napoli 1

Via Napoli 2

Via Napoli 3

Hoperatives has a great resource page on beers in Disney World, including varieties and prices and sorted by theme park and resort!

Craft Beer Restaurant Blog has a commentary about the beers on the menu for the 2010 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Great read!

Mousesavers highlights some incredible deals from — we’re talking discounts on discounts for House of Blues and Swan & Dolphin restaurants! (Thanks to Studios Central for the FYI on!)

Main Street Gazette sampled and reviewed nearly every flavor of Wonderland Tea. Fantastic article!

The Disney Chick makes an old Food and Wine Festival favorite — Beef Bites with Chocolate and Red Wine Sauce!

The Disney Blog shares his review of the new meatball sliders and beer bar at Portobello in Disney World’s Downtown Disney.

Zannaland wonders which Disney candy fits your mood?

The Makin’ Memories Blog shows us Part I of her Tables in Wonderland Great Movie Ride dinner experience!

Studios Central moseys on over to Hoop Dee Doo Revue!

A Taste of Disney makes ‘Ohana Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce.

Eating (And Drinking) Around the World has a bone to pick with those bartender robots in the Space Mountain exit area!

Disney Parks Blog talks about one of my favorite desserts — Key Lime Pie!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 1, 2009

Eat hereA belated Happy Halloween to everyone! I hope you all had some wonderful treats (and very few tricks!).

Welcome to November and the first Disney Food Post Round-Up of the month — there’s already a LOT happening… . And remember, this week is your last chance to experience the incredible Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Click that link for information, highlights, and photos and menus from the World Showcase international marketplace kiosks!

On with the Round-Up!

Disney Parks Blog highlights an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner at Disneyland in the Disneyland Hotel. Sounds delicious!

Scott Joseph Orlando has an exclusive — the recipe from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie. This recipe was featured in the Cork, Ireland, marketplace kiosk.

Meet The World in Progressland shares a truly wonderful post revealing some incredible Halloween Disney details in Tokyo Disneyland’s popcorn carts.

Main Street Gazette showcases the Animal Kingdom’s Royal Anadapur Tea Company — one of my favorite places to have breakfast in the World.

5 Kingdoms compares the different “Casey’s Corners” throughout the Magic Kingdoms. Take time to read it and not just look at the pictures ;)

The Disney Chick is back with another wonderful Disney recipe, complete with photos of each separate recipe step. This time, try out the Shrimp With Tomato Feta Compote from Citricos in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Daveland presents us with some great indoor and outdoor photos of Disneyland’s Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen –> River Belle Terrace.

Theme Park Insider reviews Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans. (You really owe it to yourself to look at these photos today. Trust me.)

Mouseplanet reminds us what’s great about San Angel Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase. (Stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog this week to see even more great reasons to enjoy San Angel Inn!)

Global Disney Pinvestigation shares the latest news and concept drawings of the restaurants on the Disney Dream cruise ship! Also, check out his great Epcot Food and Wine Festival photo blog.

Touring Plans reminds us to stop by the ESPN Club on Disney World’s Boardwalk.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Disney food posts! If you spot a great food post this week that you think belongs on the round-up, be sure to let me know — just click on “contact me” at the top of the page!

Thanks for reading!

Epcot Twinings Tea Tour

Tea Tour Times

Tea Tour Times

I’ve long wanted to take part in the Twining’s Tea Tour in Epcot, and I finally got the chance over Memorial Day weekend. This tour seems to pop up during the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring and during the Food and Wine Festival in the Fall, and takes place several times per day (Friday/Saturday/Sunday while I was there) in the garden of the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot. If you’re lucky enough to have the time, stop by the UK pavilion, and get your name on the list for the tour time of your choice.

Our guide, a CM from the UK pavilion who’s been “tea-trained,” led us through a shockingly informative and enjoyable tour of the tea (and, mostly, tea-flavoring) plants in the UK garden’s many teacup planters. I mentioned that I’d wanted to take the tour for a couple of years, but I never expected that a no-cost experience could be so well-done. The guide was quite knowledgeable about the history and art of tea-making and answered each question very well (including a few toughies); I left feeling like I’d really learned quite a bit.

Tour Guide Discusses Camellia Sinensis

Tour Guide Discusses Camellia Sinensis

Twinings of London
The guide began by tell the group a bit about the exhibit’s sponsor, Twinings of London. The original Store, which can be found on the Strand in London near The City (the eastern financial district of London), was actually a coffee shop bought by Thomas Twining in 1706. Twining was the first to sell the newly-imported tea in his coffee shop, giving him a competitive advantage against the city’s coffeehouses. 40 years later, tea became one of England’s significant exports to the American colonies. Today, Twinings offers 300 varieties of tea and exports around the world.

Camellia Sinensis Info

Camellia Sinensis Info

The Tea
The guide spoke first about the Camellia plant, of which there are two versions: one from China and one from India. This is the plant from which all teas, excepting herbal teas, is made. Whether you’re drining green tea, oolong tea, black tea, or white tea, it all comes from the Camellia plant. So how do you make it different? Leaf picking, oxidization, and infusions:

–Black tea, which is what we western hemisphere residents largely consider “regular tea,” gets its name and dark brown color because it’s been fully oxidized. These teas have a deeper flavor, often described as “burnt caramel.” These teas have the fewest antioxidants, though there is still a larger concentration than in a large serving of carrots.

Tour Guide Discusses Tea Making

Tour Guide Discusses Tea Making

–Oolong tea, made from leaves that have been only partially-oxidized (usually only the edges of the leaf are oxidized), has a medium flavor that varies between those of black and green tea; it can be made to carry both lighter and bolder flavors depending on leaf treatment.

–Green tea, which is consumed most often in eastern cultures, has been picked early and is steamed or pan-fired to stop oxidation, leaving its green color and lighter flavor.

–White tea is harvested only once per year, as it takes the first bud and top leaf of the plant. These are withered and dried, with no oxidation. These teas have the most antioxidants of all.

Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea

Our guide went on to explain how teas are flavored with leaves and blossoms of other plants as well as herbal infusions; Twinings’ 300 tea varieties are the work of master blenders who undergo 5 years of training. He also briefly discussed herbal teas, which are made solely from herbs with no inclusion of the Camellia plants.

And a Few Other Fun Facts
The tour was rounded out with some great tips and facts about tea blending and brewing, including how to make DIY decaffeinated tea; the history behind America’s best-loved tea, Earl Grey; and why Irish Breakfast tea is so much stronger than English Breakfast tea.

All in all, it was a highly enjoyable half-hour. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to stop by the next time you’re in Epcot while the tea tours are offered!

The Tea Walk

The Tea Walk