Thanks to Disney Food Blog reader Galloping Gourmand for relaying his reviews about a few seafood dishes featured in this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
This was my first trip to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and while I couldn’t go to any events I was determined to make the most of it. I arrived early so I could ride all the rides I wanted (first load on Soarin’!) and maximize my eating time. I saw it as an opportunity to try things I have never tried before and ignore the myriad of health problems one could get from eating them all in a 10 hour period. Some of these are international foods that are hard to get where I live (near NYC, so not many of those) and others are things that I’ve simply never tried before.
Here are a few reviews of seafood dishes around the World Showcase.
The most common way you see escargot in restaurants up here is in the shell. That can be a lot for an American to take. We, myself included, have this problem with the idea of eating what is essentially something that crawls around on slimy rocks at the shore and occasionally crunches under our feet. I have to hand it to the France booth — they do everything to take your mind off the fact that you are eating a gross-looking snail. Instead of being placed in the shell or on a plate in sauce so you can see what you are consuming, the snail is cleverly hidden in brioche bread. You can’t see it. Someone walking by would think you were holding a plate of cream puffs.
The fact that I couldn’t really see the main ingredient was likely a good thing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste it either. That was a bad thing. In fact I couldn’t really tell I was eating seafood at all. The sauce was traditional –- buttery, garlicky, and delicious, but I hardly tasted anything else other than an occasional mild rush of salt. Instead I felt a lot of texture, sort of like that of an oyster only much mushier and slimy. The sauce made the bread mushy as well. The flavor was great, but the texture was so off-putting that I don’t think I’d have this particular escargot dish again. But I would give that in-the-shell escargot a shot next time I go to a French restaurant. They proved that snails aren’t that scary. Unless I’m at the beach and step on one.
Australia: Seared Barramundi
Simple and absolutely delicious. The fish at the Australia Booth was perfectly cooked with just a little brushed-on lemon oil and no other seasoning. When something is served so simply without a lot of flavors other than that of the fish, the key is the preparation. My kudos to the chef, who was juggling about 24 pieces on a small griddle and seemed to know the exact time each one was finished. He wouldn’t let one that was either overcooked or undercooked out the window.
The fish itself had a delicate and subtle flavor. It was flaky but firm, and simply everything you wish a fish dish to be. To be honest — too much sauce would have ruined it. They let the food speak for itself, and that’s all this fish needs. I’ll be seeking it out on menus, that’s for sure.
At the Belgium booth, the chef let the meal down. Shellfish need to be open when you eat them or you could get very sick. 2 of my 5 were served closed. I have mussels all the time where I live, and all you have to do to avoid this is look in the pot before you serve to make sure most of them are open. The cream sauce congealed very quickly, going from a milky white to a kind of tan/grey in less than 3 minutes. It was also way too heavy and masked much of the flavor of the mussels. Overall, this was the most disappointing dish.