10Best: Amazing Tastes of Epcot Food & Wine Festival

  • Chef Mickey's Welcome

    The 19th Annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival (through Nov 10) is bringing out foodies in droves.  Chef Mickey’s cheery topiary welcomes all to the park’s famed World Showcase, where most of the wining and dining takes place. This year: the longest-ever event, a whopping 53 days, during which additional kiosks and marketplaces dot the promenade, tempting passersby with alluring aromas and the festive sound of popping corks. Each year, old favorites return but new items are what many regulars are most interested in. Check out this sampling of festival debuts….

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Greece is the Word

    New this year at the Greece marketplace is the tzatziki martini. If you've had cuke varieties before, this one takes it a step further, melding Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka with BOLS Natural Yogurt Liqueur. "They make a very happy merge!" says Marianne Hunnel, who oversees the festival's content development. "The yogurt spirit is very different and the two together create something very unique and refreshing."

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • New Spin on Snails

    Guests were clamoring to get a peek at the tartlette aux escargots (escargot tart with spinach, bacon and parmesan) as it was being photographed fountain-side in Epcot's France. "That's new!" they exclaimed. It is. Previous years saw the succulent snails tucked neatly into individual brioche. This new take, says Chefs de France GM Eric Weistroffer, "is going to blow everyone away!"

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Coco Louco

    Crazy for coconut? The colorful Brazil Marketplace has a candy for you in the form of cocada, a crumbly-moist haystack of shredded coconut held together with sugary condensed milk. It's a popular street food in Brazil and that idea melds well with the grazing experience that is Epcot Food & Wine. It's an easy treat to walk with while eating. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Hash It Out

    You're going to smell this one cooking before you see the Farm Fresh Marketplace, courtesy of Neuske's peppered bacon, the star of a hash that also features sweet corn, potatoes, Hollandaise and pickled jalapenos. There was early buzz about this rich, gluten-free offering, which could prove an ideal breakfast panacea for return visitors who enjoyed more wine than food the night before. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Citrusy South Korea

    South Korea's F&W outpost sits relatively mid-showcase, an ideal time to grab an effervescent adult beverage to beat the Florida heat. Submitted for your approval: iCing, a sparkling grapefruit rice brew that's well suited for the job. "When you pour it into a glass it almost reads as a cocktail as it has a bit of a milky coloring to it," notes Hunnel, "but when you taste it, it's very, very refreshing."

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Fun on a Bun

    Looking for a new Epcot taste in China? Reach for the Beijing roasted duck in a steamed bun with hoisin sauce. Tender duck and tangy hoisin (go light on the sauce if you're less sweet-inclined) are accented by cellophane-thin onion slices and encased in a moist, fluffy, wrap-style bun. Another convenient handheld offering.

    Photo courtesy of A.D.Thompson

  • Scallops in Scotland

    Here's one to sit and savor: the seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon. You'll find it in the Scotland kiosk. As you're contemplating ordering a second, comfort your cream-and-bacon-loving conscience with the fact that spinach is low in fat and laden with vitamins and minerals. This dish is also gluten-free.

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Rum y Gasolina

    Wine is fine and rum is fun! This year's Puerto Rico experience offers up both in the form of the Gasolina Sangriiia Cocktail and the Frozen San Juan Breeze. Both offer icy respite from the sun and the latter, which melds a host of Puerto Rican-grown fruits, is available in non-alcoholic form or with a topper of (what else?) Puerto Rican rum. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Where's the Beef?

    At F&W, you'll find it everywhere, but at the Puerto Rico Marketplace, it comes in the form of carne guisada con arroz blanco (slow-braised beef with Puerto Rico-grown rice). While they wait, visitors will find educational displays featuring information about the island's chief exports and even see some of them, like purple rice plants and prickly pineapples, growing. Gluten-free diners: this one's on your menu. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson