We know, we know… we talk about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival a lot around here. Like, a LOT, a lot.
And can you blame us? It’s our favorite time of year, and we can’t wait to dig into all the new flavors like Brazil’s Layered Meat Pie with Mashed Yucca (as well as some of our old standbys — I’m looking at you, Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup) at the Festival Marketplace Booths this year.
But let’s say your Disney World travel dates fall outside of the Festival dates of September 25 – November 16th. What’s a Disney food fan to do?
I’ll tell you what… You can try a few Food and Wine Festival offerings in spots around Epcot and Downtown Disney right now. Follow me!
Featured Beverages at the Refreshment Cool Post
We’re starting at Epcot’s Refreshment Cool Post, tucked between the China Pavilion and the walkway to Germany.
You may have passed the Refreshment Coolpost a bajillion-and-one times on your jaunts around World Showcase without thinking much of it. Kid-friendly fare is the primary focus, with the main offerings of hot dogs and frozen yogurt (for a time it was a super yummy pineapple) providing options for picky eaters far away from the American Adventure Pavilion. Even if you have walked right on by, you may still be familiar with the nearly constant sound of drums being played by the congregating kiddos!
Yet this unassuming spot is where you can enjoy not one, but TWO Food and Wine Festival items even as we speak (or, umm… type). The Frozen Elephant and Mango Starr are already on the menu!
Pull up a chair and enjoy a few sips!
We LOVED the original Brown Elephant when it made its Food and Wine Festival debut at this spot in 2013 — a mix of Coca-Cola, creamy Amarula Liqueur, and milk, that comes together like a grown-up cream soda. Seriously, I never would’ve guessed one of my favorite Festival items would come from the Refreshment Cool Post.
(No offense, Cool Post. I’m just sayin’.)
The current Frozen Elephant featured for 2015 is that same yummy blend of flavors, only — can you guess? — FROZEN.
Meanwhile, the Mango Starr has been available at the Cool Post for some time now, featuring Starr African Rum blended with mango puree. (Yep, it’s blended. The consistency just didn’t stand up against the heat quite as well as the Frozen Elephant.)
If you frequent Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar, you’re likely familiar with Starr African Rum as it is featured in several of the specialty cocktails there, like the Harambe Cooler and Sugar Cane Mojito. Its distinctive strong flavor tends to mellow out the mango here, resulting in more of a generally fruit-flavored drink. Unexpectedly, we picked up on some cherry and nutmeg flavors, too.
But there are more Food and Wine refreshments on the way, heading to our next stop…
Criossant Donut at the Refreshment Port
The Refreshment Port is another “Why-would-I-stop-there-with-all-the-great-options-around-World-Showcase?” type of spot. It’s got cold drinks, good ol’ standby Chicken Breast Nuggets …and it’s near some restrooms, basically. It sits in the entrance to World Showcase coming from Future World, and is… well, pretty nondescript.
Well, HERE’S why you should stop there: this is where you can grab yourself a Croissant Doughnut, with or without ice cream! I know, I know — the croissant doughnut trend has been around for a while, but, man, these are still pretty killer.
And, yes, it’s another one featured on the Food and Wine list this year. In fact, we even got to try it again at this year’s Food and Wine Festival Preview, so clearly its profile is still up! Just a note, though, when served as a Food and Wine Festival item (one that’s good for a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan), the Croissant Doughnut comes without the ice cream, so be sure to take a peek at the menu board first depending on your craving.
I must say, sans ice cream, you can more easily pick up on all the flaky, buttery, cinnamon-and-sugar coated layers…
WHY am I not eating one of these right now?!
Anyway, fret not if you haven’t grabbed yours yet. Since its arrival to the Refreshment Port in late 2013, it’s been a staple on the menu so we can all enjoy it year-round.
So, are there any other places we can enjoy flavors from the Food and Wine Festival all year long? I’m glad you asked!
World Showcase of Flavors Food Trucks
Typically found at Exposition Park in Downtown Disney’s West Side (though it can move around from time to time) is the World Showcase of Flavors Food Truck, boasting “The Best of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival” no matter what time of year you visit!
These potato-stuffed gems are served with caramelized onions and kielbasa then drizzled with sour cream, and also offer an enjoyable smokey flavor.
Another find at the World Showcase of Flavors is regularly the Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce, a staple at the Greece Marketplace Booth (prepared like a traditional gyro but featuring chicken instead of lamb). It is topped off with a simple lettuce, tomato and onion accompanied by a rich tzatiki sauce.
Finally, the Grass-fed Beef Sliders differ somewhat from those you’ll find at the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth at this year’s Festival, since those at the Food Truck are served with Monterey Jack cheese and sweet pickles, as opposed to the pimento cheese that will accompany those at Hops & Barley. The Sliders at the World Showcase of Flavors Truck pay a closer tribute to the ones served at the Florida Local Marketplace Booth in 2013 (which was replaced by Farm Fresh last year).
One thing the Food Truck’s version of the Sliders shares in common with each of the other Food and Wine items served here is a significantly larger portion size than what you’d receive at the Festival. For instance, the Grass-fed Beef Sliders come in pairs with a side of house-made chips (which helps the $9.50 price tag make a lot more sense, considering that last year’s Beef Slider at the Festival ran four bucks).
So, my friends, all is not lost if you can’t make it to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. I mean, we’ll miss you and all, but hey… that means more Loaded Mac n’ Cheese for me ;).
Want More Epcot Food and Wine Festival Info?
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Have you enjoyed any tastes from the Food and Wine Festival outside of the Festival dates? Please let us know with a comment!