2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Tequila Tasting Seminar

Tequila

“Welcome to La Cava del Tequila!” I was among the first group of taste-testers for the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival’s inaugural Tequila Tasting Seminar today, and I wanted to bring you along with me. So, shall we to Mexico?

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

The line was a little out of hand prior to the event, but sooner or later we were all checked off the list and seated in our assigned seats in the Cava.

Cava Seating and Mural

Cava Seating and Mural

Epcot’s Tequila Ambassador, Hilda Castillo, expertly led us through an informative and interesting seminar.

Hilda Castillo Leading the Seminar

Hilda Castillo Leading the Seminar

Hilda first described the background on Tequila, including its origin (Tequila, Mexico, where Hilda’s from), its source (Agave), its process, and its categories. There is a brilliant mural on the side wall of the Cava that depicts the life cycle of Tequila processing, including the growth of the Agave plant, the cooking down of the plants to create Agave juice, the fermentation into Agave wine, and the distillation of the Agave wine into Tequila.

A Section of the Cava del Tequila Mural

A Section of the Cava del Tequila Mural

From there, Hilda told us that we would be going through the tasting focusing on the following: Look (Sight), Aroma (Smell), and Flavor (Taste). She explained that different types of Tequila get their distinction based on the amount they’re aged. New Tequila, called “Blanco,” is very clear and very strong — think “gas fumes in your mouth,” because that’s what I tasted when we swished the Blanco Tequila! “Reposado,” or “rested” Tequila is a shade darker and significantly smoother than Blanco. Finally, the “Anejo,” or “aged” Tequila is a dark gold color and has a more “oil-like” consistency. This has the smoothest flavor of all.

Tequila Tasting Setting

Tequila Tasting Setting

Blanco

Reposado

Anejo

From there, Hilda led us through an aroma exercise. Because each type of Tequila had a specific aroma associated with it (lime with Blanco, cinnamon with Reposado, and coffee with Anejo), she had us smell a sample of the aroma before smelling each Tequila sample. Hilda showed us the three different ways to “perceive the aroma” of Tequila in order to gather the three different scents — sweet, alcohol-strong, and spicy/sweet — that are emitted.

Items to prime our noses for the Tequila aromas

Items to prime our noses for the Tequila aromas

Demonstrating one of the aroma techniques

Demonstrating one of the aroma techniques

Finally, we got to taste. Hilda began with the strongest of the three and moved on to the richest of the three. The Blanco Tequila exploded in my mouth. We were supposed to swish for five seconds, and that was practically impossible. This alcohol was so strong my tongue went numb.

The Reposado and Anejo went down much smoother, but based on my experience with the Blanco, I took MUCH smaller sips!

Once finished with the Flavor segment of the event, we were served three small appetizer tapas — shrimp cocktail, a crab tostada, and a chicken tostada — to complement our Tequila.

Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken Tostada, and Crab Tostada with corresponding Tequilas

Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken Tostada, and Crab Tostada with corresponding Tequilas

Overall, the event was lovely. Hilda is extremely knowledgeable and did a fantastic job as presenter, teacher, and adviser. I know that many of these are already sold out for the remainder of the festival, but if you get the chance, make a reservation (407-WDW-FEST). It’s a great experience!

I’ve copied out the Epcot Tequila Bar menu here. Happy perusing!

For more photos, links, and information from the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit our Food and Wine Festival Page!

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Today’s Food Photos!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival welcome

This post is part of our series of posts on the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Be sure to check out more of the posts in the series.

Hi all! I’ll be putting up separate posts all about today’s Tequila Tasting Seminar, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Center, the Taste of Puglia seminars, and the Festival Artwork artist — Tim Rogerson — with whom I had the chance to chat. For now, I wanted to share with you all of the delicious things I got the chance to try and see today. If your suggestion didn’t make it into this round of photos, don’t worry — I’ll get to it!

A radio station was broadcasting live from Epcot!

Radio Station Broadcasting Live

Radio Station Broadcasting Live

Around the World I go! Stopped in the San Juan booth for some Arroz con Pollo and Ham Croquettes.

San Juan Booth

San Juan Booth

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

Ham Croquettes from San Juan Booth

Ham Croquettes from San Juan Booth

Then it was next door to Santiago, Chile, for a taste of the Corn and Cheese Arepa and the Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie). I also had a chance to snap a photo of the Rock Shrimp Ceviche. I love that they put popcorn in this thing — the CM said it was a Chile tradition.

The Corn and Cheese Arepa was nothing to write home about (basically, a cornmeal pancake — rather grainy on the inside — with a sprinkling of cheese), but the Alfajor was amazing. Served chilled, this little cookie was one of the superstars for me today.

Santiago Chile Menu

Santiago Chile Menu

Ceviche

Ceviche

Dulce de Leche Cookie

Dulce de Leche Cookie

Had to show you a pic of the delicious filling

Had to show you a pic of the delicious filling

Santiago, Chile, Corn and Cheese Arepe

Santiago, Chile, Corn and Cheese Arepe

Inside the Corn and Cheese Arepe

Inside the Corn and Cheese Arepe

Next came the first of two baklavas taste-tested today (thanks for the suggestion of the Baklava Throwdown!). I’m going to write the Baklava Throwdown as a separate post, but for now, here are photos of the Marrkesh Baklava and the Athens Baklava. Which do YOU think is better?

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Athens

Athens Baklava

Athens Baklava

Marrakesh Booth

Marrakesh Booth

Marrakesh Baklava

Marrakesh Baklava

I also snapped some shots of the New York State wines booth, as I’m such a giant fan of ice wine…

Wines of New York

Wines of New York

New York State wines menu

New York State wines menu

The ice wine is all the way to the right...

The ice wine is all the way to the right...

And I got the chance to chat with Tim Rogerson, the Festival Poster Artist. I’ll write a separate blog about his work, but I snapped a fun photo of Tim with his original masterpiece. (Note: I’ll grab the price on the poster tomorrow.)

Tim Rogerson with his original painting

Tim Rogerson with his original painting

Then it was over to New Orleans for a bit of some AMAZING Chicken and Andouille Gumbo and Praline Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce. I can’t tell you how many happy noises I made while chowing down on these two dishes. The Praline Bread Pudding tasted like a sugar-soaked monkey bread with the perfect crunch of sugar caramelization on the top. The Gumbo was spicy and flavorful — a meal in itself.

New Orleans Booth and Menu

New Orleans Booth and Menu

New Orleans Praline Bread Pudding

New Orleans Praline Bread Pudding

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I realized that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was about to perform at the Eat to the Beat Concert, so I popped in to listen to the first song. I’d seen them in concert back in the 90’s, so it was fun to reminisce!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Announcement

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Announcement

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Continuing my tour, I headed to Melbourne, Australia, for a bite of Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, and Murray River Sea Salt.

Melbourne, Australia Booth

Melbourne, Australia Booth

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt

Finally, I headed over to the China booth to try a Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler. This drink was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend it to anyone. In fact, I liked it so much, I went back and got a photo of the Plum Wine bottle! Also got a shot of the rice pancake.

Shanghai, China Booth

Shanghai, China Booth

Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler, China

Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler, China

Plum Wine

Plum Wine

The Plum Wine pour and some rice pancakes in the China booth

The Plum Wine pour and some rice pancakes in the China booth

Whew!! I hope you’re still with me! I’ll be back tomorrow with more — and stay tuned for my Tequila Tasting Seminar post coming soon!