Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview

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In only 61 days my favorite event at all of Walt Disney World events will be begin, which is the Food & Wine Festival.  This will be held in Epcot September 27-November 11, 2013.  The theme for this 18th annual Food & Wine Festival is Taste Your Way Around the World.  You’ll find foods from all over the world as well as alcoholic drinks, all in snack size and usually ranging from $4-$12 or so.

You can stop in all of the booths as you go, or pick and choose.  Each booth offers more than one item, so the choices can be daunting.  I usually do this in a few days because I just can’t eat it all in one day and there’s so many good things to try I don’t want to miss anything.

Tonight I was lucky enough to attend a special Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview held for Tables in Wonderland cardholders.  Tables in Wonderland is a dining card that passholders and Florida residents can purchase that gives a small discount in most restaurants at Walt Disney World, and they have some fun special events like this one.  This event was held in Epcot at the Odyssey Pavillion.

When we arrived there were a couple of tables with the first set of appetizers.  We had Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with White Cheddar and Sweet & Hot Pickles (Florida Local) and Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi (South Korea).  The Kimchi was a little spicy for me, but still had a really good flavor.  The beef slider was just that, a small hamburger, which was good, but nothing special.  They also had a choice of wine, beer and a frozen drink.  The wines were The Vegan Vine Red Blend (which is one of the only vegan wines and will be in the Terra booth), Once Upon a Vine’s The Fairest Chardonnay (Cheese) and Carnaval Moscato White Sparkling (Brazil).  For beer they had Sierra Nevada and Torpedo® Extra IPA (Craft Beers) and the frozen drink was Frozen Szarlotka featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka (Polish Frozen Apple Pie Cocktail) from Poland.

They talked a little about what they were having and why it was paired together.  They tried to give a good sampling of what will be at the Food & Wine Festival.  For the appetizer they served Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro and Cerveharias Kaiser Brewery, Xingu Black Beer (Brazil).  I do recommend the Pork Belly—very good!  If I were a beer drinker I would also recommend the Xingu Black Beer, which was very smooth for beer.

The next course was the salad, which was Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction served with Florida Orange Groves Hurricane Class 5, Florida White Sangria (Florida Local).  I know this was a big hit at last year’s Festival so I was anxious to try it.  It didn’t disappoint and was very good, so this is a good booth to not miss this year.

So far most courses had been smaller, more like they have at the Food & Wine Festival booths, but the entrée was a much larger size, and by this point I was already pretty full.  However, it was so good that it couldn’t be passed up.  The double entrée included Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce from Le Cellier (Canada) and Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette With Baby Root Vegetables (Salmon).  With this course we were offered a choice of two wines, The Wolftrap Red (Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier) (Africa) and Mohua Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand).    Both entrees were excellent!

Dessert brought a trio of desserts: Chocolate Orange Cupcake, Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake and Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse which were accompanied by Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé (Desserts & Champagne).  They also offered soft drinks, coffee and tea.

Along with many food booths there will also be seminars and demonstrations held every day during the Festival.  These range from free to $285, so something for everyone.  These do book up quickly as they are very popular with limited seating.  Among the most popular are the Party of the Senses (great times including entertainment by Cirque du Soleil) and 3D Disney Dessert Discovery.  These will go on sale to the general public at 7am (ET) August 13, but pre-sales will be available for Tables in Wonderland, Annual Passholders, DVC members and Golden Oak residents on August 9.

After you’ve had your fill of food and wine, you can enjoy a concert at the American Gardens Theater where they present the Eat to the Beat concert series.   This year will find a new booth from Scotland, new food offerings in Canada, Brazil and Australia, new separate ticket events and new concert stars such as the Go-Go’s, Edwin McCain, Wilson Phillips, Spin Doctors and Christopher Cross.

As you can see, there’s a lot of fun, great food and drinks to be had at this year’s Food & Wine Festival.  Tonight’s preview was an indication that it’s not to be missed and will warrant a few trips to Epcot to enjoy all they have to offer.  See you there!

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