Festival of the Arts 2021 Food Reviewed: Part 2

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Festival of the Arts offers some of the most beautiful — and tasty — bites out of any EPCOT festival. Naturally some options are better than others, and some (like some art) just don’t work for every palate. Here’s part 2 of our hits and misses from the 2021 Festival of the Arts.

World Showplace Festival Favorites 

(located in the World Showplace pavilion between Canada and the United Kingdom)

  • Remy’s Ratatouille with Eggplant, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Tomatoes, and Red Pepper Piperade – $5.00
  • Charcuterie with Meats and Cheeses featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Beef – $14.00
  • Lemon and Blood Orange Tart – $6.50
  • Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie – $5.50
Ah, Ratatouille. It’s the thought that counts? Even at $5, it was not worth the price. When the predominant seasoning is “water” and the pressing question is whether the texture is best described as soggy or mushy, you know this is one to pass.
Although the Charcuterie Plate was delicious, it felt overpriced by $4-5. The cheese wasn’t all that special and most of what you’re paying for is crackers. There are other charcuterie boards that have much better options, and there’s better options for food at the Festival of the Arts. We suggest skipping this one.
If you enjoy citrus, then you will like the Lemon and Blood Orange Tart. Yes, there’s nothing exceptional about the flavors, but it really does come across as a work of art and quite tasty, too.
The Artist Palate Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie is found at several booths, and yet every time we get one, the cookie is crisp to the point of being almost burnt. Another one to skip because there’s certainly better desserts around.

The Painters Palate 

(located in the World Showplace pavilion between Canada and the United Kingdom)

  • Prime Steak Tartare with Pickled Vegetables, Parsley Salad, Béarnaise Anglaise, and Sous Vide Quail Egg – $8.50
  • Salt-Roasted Beet Tartare with Pickled Vegetables, Parsley Salad, and Béarnaise Aïoli – $6.50
  • Pistachio Cake with Cherry Mousse and Morello Cherries – $5.50
No question that the Prime Stake Tartare was a well-composed dish, but the dish may be the most adventurous of all dishes at this year’s festival. Raw meat + barely cooked egg + enough garlic to ensure no vampires will enter EPCOT during the festival. If that sounds appealing to you, you’ll love it — the dish is well done. If reading that makes you queasy, this is one to skip.
 
Beet Tartare — This is a fantastic option if the Steak Tartare doesn’t appeal. It’s gorgeous and more than enough to share, plus the flavors and mouth feel of this dish makes it a better option than its meaty counterpart.
The Pistachio Cake is simply beautiful, and with its subtle flavors, you’ll want to live by the adage “Life’s short, eat dessert first.” It isn’t painfully sweet and a very refreshing dish overall.

Goshiki 

(located at the Japan pavilion)
  • Stone Garden: Red Bean Mousse with Chocolate Rocks and Arare Rice Cracker Pebbles – $6.75
  • Sushi Donut: Donut-Shaped Sushi featuring Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Cucumber, and Sesame Seed over a decorated plate of Wasabi Aïoli, Sriracha, and Eel Sauce – $8.25
  • Vegetable Gyoza: Vegetable-Filled Spinach Gyoza with Tofu atop Mashed Potatoes with a Kamaboko Fish Cake, Pepper Strings and Tonkatsu Teriyaki Sauce – $6.00

The Stone Garden is a win more for the entertainment value than the food itself. The mousse has an interesting, light flavor, but unless you like the red bean flavor, you probably won’t be won over by it here. On the other hand, it is so much fun to create the “garden” with this dish’s “rocks” and “pebbles”.

The Sushi Donut is an incredibly popular item that has returned this year. It’s a bit pricey, but if you like sushi, it is a very fun presentation with fresh flavors.
Another returning favorite is the Vegetable Gyoza. Although some people may not see the appeal of buying it at Disney festival prices because they end up with gyoza with their weekly Japanese carryout order (or is that just me?), others may enjoy trying this very innocuous sampling of Japanese cuisine.

Vibrante & Vivido 

(located between France and Morocco)
  • Chilled Seafood Cocktail with Octopus, Scallops, Shrimp, Black Garlic Aïoli, Tomato-Coconut Sauce, and Serrano-Lime Oil – $8.50
  • Blue Corn Pupusa, Stuffed with Cheese and Topped with Shredded Pork, Guajillo and Árbol Chile Sauce, Cabbage Slaw, and Aji Amarillo Crema  – $6.50
  • Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam – $4.75

Without a doubt, the Chilled Seafood Cocktail is the prettiest seafood plate at the festival this year, and thankfully not over-the-top with garlic flavor like some of the other dishes. If you like seafood, this is the dish to get.

Whether you’re a fan of pupusas or never had one before, the Blue Corn Pupusa should be on your list. There’s a lot of flavor packed in here, but it all works together to make a dish that is sure to please.

The Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam is a newcomer, but we’re hoping it becomes a regular. Sweet and a little tangy and just all around delicious. This one is one you’ll want to try for yourself in case they don’t bring it back.

Mosaic Canteen Morocco

(located in Morocco pavilion)

  • Mediterranean Flatbread with Za’atar Pesto, Artichokes, Roasted Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes, and Fennel Cream – $5.75
  • Harissa-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Baba Ganoush, Picholine Olives, Toybox Tomatoes, Preserved Lemons, and Pomegranate – $8.00
  • Mouskoutchou: Orange Cake with Cinnamon-Chocolate Mousse – $4.75
Disney flatbreads are generally nothing to rush out and get, and the Mediterranean Flatbread follows in that tradition. Overall, this felt like someone realized that they needed one more dish for the Morocco booth and so they just threw it together from what they could find left in the fridge at Restaurant Marrakesh. Our serving was room temperature and the flavors were bland, which was disappointing for a dish that should have been bursting with flavor. This one we suggest skipping.
On the other hand, if you love lamb, this is a real winner. Cooked perfectly and seasoned beautifully, this dish lets the flavor of the lamb really shine.
But above all else, make sure you save room for the Orange Cake. This is one of the absolute must-have dishes at Festival of the Arts. It’s beautiful. The flavors blend perfectly. If you’re only going to get one dessert, this is one you can’t go wrong with.

Stay tuned for more Festival of the Arts food booth reviews, but in the meantime, which of these dishes would be on your must-have list?

Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and totally awesome homeschooled ten-year-old daughter.

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