This year, guests will enjoy many new plates at the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Sept. 19-Nov. 10). The Orlando festival is adding 35 new food items to the marketplace menus this year – and an entire week to the merriment. At 53 days, it will be the longest in the event’s history.
With the excitement of FIFA’s World Cup in the rearview, Disney is keeping South America at the forefront of the news cycle with the all new Patagonia Marketplace. The flavors of Argentina and Chile will mesh at this venue, where dishes such as roasted Verlasso salmon with arugula chimichurri will pair beautifully with Chile’s Cono Sur Viognier and its citrusy notes.
Sustainable salmon will be among the tasty offerings at the Patagonia Marketplace at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — Photo courtesy of Disney / Matt Stroshane
Those with a penchant for international mixology will have a roster of new beverages to add to the usual “drink around the world” revelry. The Brazil Marketplace will offer the nation’s signature caipirinha, which melds cachaça, a spirit distilled from sugar cane, with sugar and lime. In Puerto Rico, traditional and frozen concoctions will place the emphasis on rum.
“The Greece marketplace has been here for a couple of years already,” notes Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann. "And this year we went traditional – but not. Moussaka is a very traditional dish. We have replaced beef with a vegetarian soy product packed with flavor.”
Indeed, layered with eggplant and razor-thin potatoes, it affords the dish an extraordinarily meaty chew.
There will be vegan offerings on-hand in the Terra Marketplace, as well, one of which is the “CraB-less CraB Cake,” served with a peppery slaw and Cajun remoulade.
Brazil's Epcot representation will include Mocequa de Pescado — Photo courtesy of Disney / Matt Stroshane
Over in Puerto Rico, they’ll be churning out sweet corn sorullitos – served street food-style in a portable paper cone. A fun squeeze tube of cilantro-infused mayo ketchup makes for easy condiment application. Other goodies in the booth de Boricua include carne guisada con arroz blanco (slow-braised beef with white rice).
In fact, said rice will figure into an exhibit that explains its growing process. Puerto Rico will be one of several expanded marketplaces – a larger kiosk, ample seating and a more in-depth cultural experience that will likely feature live entertainment, as well.
“This will be the first year we’ll have a fryer out in the marketplaces,” notes Carole Johnson, the festival's event content development operations manager. “Since we’ve gone to ventless hoods it has allowed us to add another on-site cooking experience - something that Chef Dahlmann has been steadily increasing since he’s been with us - so guests can smell those aromas and watch the food being prepared.”
From Puerto Rico, there's sure to be Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro — Photo courtesy of Disney / Matt Stroshane
Food & Wine’s "Eat to the Beat" concert series returns this year, as well. The roster of new performers includes Los Lonely Boys, Fuel and David Cook. Fan favorites Sugar Ray, .38 Special, Night Ranger and a long list of others will be returning. Concerts – as well as festival admission – are included with entrance to Epcot; food and beverages are additional.
"Tables in Wonderland" is a Disney dining program available to Florida residents, pass holders and Disney Vacation Club members. Perks include discounts at a selection of Disney restaurants, as well as invitations to exclusive culinary events.
Tickets for special Epcot Food & Wine Festival events will go on sale at 7 a.m. on July 31. Some, including Festival Center seminars and demos and Disney's 3-D Dessert Discovery, can be booked at EpcotFoodFestival.com. For others (celebrity- and sommelier-hosted programs, regionally themed pairings and more), call 407-939-3378 for reservations.