Raise your hand if you've ever been to the Disney EPCOT Food & Wine Festival.
(Er...that's not me in the photo. But I swear I was there!)
I'm going to interrupt my Halloween Movie Binge in order to dish about my recent adventures in culinary and wino paradise, so strap in, rev up your taste buds, and close your eyes for a vicarious thrill...
First off, here is everything you need to know about the Festival. Basics:
* It's once a year at EPCOT, and there are 35(!) booths from different countries, plus food studios.
* You will eat and drink all day.
* If you are a pescatarian like me, there are many, many things to eat, which leads to...
* You will spend way too much money no matter what you are. (Wearing a Magic Band facilitates this, as it acts as your fun credit card. Everything becomes Monopoly Money with a Magic Band.)
Mickey looks so sweet, shiny, and innocent here, but he's going to attack your bank account, smack it around, and you will like it.
Now, you foodies, let me show you the gluttonous swath I cut through the Disney landscape!
(Click above for the menu.)
I began with a wine flight of Rieslings, which is a favorite varietal of mine. Note my virgin passport in front of the flight. It is about to get sullied by many stamps and food stains.
Let it be noted that pairing wine with my food from this point on was pure necessity. (Really!) Also, I didn't go to the marketplaces in order--this meant that I was walking from one end of the park to another, because good girls exercise.
3rd stop--Farm Fresh!
This stand features (Wait for it!)...Farm Fresh food from Florida! I needed something light and refreshing after the heat from the Indian curry (Yes, I'm a heat wimp.), so I ordered a Roasted Beet Salad with Green Beans, Feta Cheese, Vinaigrette, and Toasted Walnuts.
But the highlight of this meal wasn't the food--it was the bounce-on-my-heels yumminess of the Mango Wine. If you're going to the Festival, this is AWESOME.
I'll be honest--I was on a roll with the vino, and Pineapple Wine sounded like just the thing. It was...eh. In fact, for me, it was one of only a few disappointments. Not that I would turn it down. I just wouldn't head straight for this marketplace next time.
At this point, I headed for the food studios...
5th Stop--The Cheese Studio!
Cheese, Glorious Cheese. Check out this trio!
Strawberry Macaroon topped with Pepper Cheese (Sounds weird but tastes great!); Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Shallot and Chive Cheese (I'm swooning even now.); Profiterole topped with Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Apricot Jam (also divine).
I snarfed up this pretty plate with a Veltliner (barely visible to the left of the cheeses).
Intermission of the Tummy
My Foray into a Wine Seminar
The Food & Wine Festival offers special events, including seminars in which winemakers chat about their craft. Luigi with the Coppo Winery in Italy was our host, and I swear to God, you are looking at one of the best Moscatos I've ever had on the right.
We Now Return to Gluttony
I must confess that this is one of two marketplaces I visited twice (the other being India...which you will soon discover again). My first trip here was for the purpose of delighting in this adorable pallet of cheese:
*Fromager Affirois de Excellence
*Blue Cheese with Apricot Jam
*Toma with Honey
The plate was paired with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Malbec.
One of my faves of the Festival!
At this point I'm scaring even myself. How did I eat so much? DRINK so much? Bear in mind that the Festival opens at 11am and it's now hours later. I've been eating, drinking, chatting, walking, and generally reveling in how lucky I was to be at EPCOT.
Also, you'll notice that the glasses of wine are not exactly mammoth.
I was getting a second wind here with this wine flight, which included a Valdeorras, Rosado, and Monastrell. Rose is a personal favorite of mine, so I liked. Liked a lot.
I will pause again here to mention that almost every time I ordered a wine flight, it rained for about five Florida minutes. So anyone who was caught in a quick downpour that day can blame me and my love of the grape.
So, yes--another flight! This one featured Chenin Blanc, a Pinotage, and Sweet Shiraz. Africa has some kick-ass wines.
This is where I turned into Food Only Girl. I was hungry and had reached the Wine Saturation Point.
What you see here is the best dish I've had inside or outside the Festival. I dream of these Seared Scallops with Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussel Sprouts, and Wild Mushrooms.
I want to roll around in this dish. I want to propose to it. I want it to remain a lovely memory that will keep me warm on the coldest of nights.
Pistachio. Cardamom. Cake. Chocolate Coconut Mousse.
I'm going to have a few more pictures of my trip in my next newsletter, so if you haven't subscribed, click here to go for it!
Until the next time, sweet dreams of food and wine, my friends!