Every New Dish at the 2016 Epcot Food And Wine Festival Reviewed!

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Food and Wine 2016 EntranceThe 2016 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is finally here! I was lucky enough to spend festival kick-off day sampling every (yes, I tried them all!) new and modified dish at the festival this year, to see which dishes were must-dos or must-skips for all of you. Here you’ll find photos and my thoughts on all of these new items, organized as you travel around the world (in the same order they are listed in the festival passport). Below my reviews, you’ll see a few hot takes – I’ve ranked all of these new items based on whether I’d try them again this festival season. As always, click on any photo to see the larger version of each dish. Don’t forget, you can check out full menus and prices from every booth here to start your planning now.

The Dishes

  • Craft Beer's Piggy WingsCraft Beers: Piggy Wings – Fried Pork Wings with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds ($4.25)

Sticky, sweet, and sour, these are definitely good BBQ wings, but you’ll only get to taste two of them per order. Perfect with a beer (or three in a flight), these are worth the purchase if you need a snack to munch on while enjoying a little free air conditioning, but I wouldn’t make a special stop here just to try them.

  • The Chew Collective: Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots, and Feta Cheese ($5.00)

At the end of the day, this dish is exactly as billed: it’s a few pieces of grilled steak on a salad. The apricots and feta bring some necessary freshness and texture, but ultimately, this dish needed a sauce to make it all come together. The Chew Collective's Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse (L) and Grilled Beef Skewer (R)Kids who like plain steak may want to steal a bite from mom and dad on this dish.

  • The Chew Collective: Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle ($5.00)

This dish tastes exactly like someone crushed up a package of Nutter Butters (which is definitely a good thing, to me). Rich and slightly salty from the peanut butter, the white chocolate and caramel provide a bit of offsetting sweetness. Everyone (who can eat this) will love this dessert, and though it’s a small portion for the price, it’s worth a shot.

  • Greenhouse Guru: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, and Micro-Basil ($4.00)

A very simple salad, this seems like an easy skip, but there’s not much better on earth than a really good quality tomato. Here, some really good tomato slices come drizzled in a sweet and tangy balsamic with even more really good tomatoes on top. It’s not fancy, but if you’re looking for fresh, this will do nicely.

  • Greenhouse Guru's Gazpacho (L), Duck Confit with Creamy Polenta (M), and Heirloom Tomato Salad (R)Greenhouse Guru: Duck Confit with Creamy Polenta and Fire-Roasted Salsa ($5.25)

Very rich, as expected with the confit (even a small portion), this dish is a good intro into a luxury food that tends to scare people away when they see it on a menu. No reason to run here, as the sweet tomato salsa and cheesy and decadent polenta create a solid (tiny) meal.

  • Greenhouse Guru: Chilled Tomato Gazpacho with Lump Crab Meat ($4.50)

The gazpacho (cold soup!) here is a little salty and very peppery to me, but overall, this makes for a super refreshing dish on a hot day (which you’re bound to encounter during the course of Food and Wine). The crab meat on top was notably good quality, but very small pieces. Given the fresh factor alone, I’ll definitely end up trying this one again.

  • Chocolate Studio: Ghirardelli Chocolate Raspberry Torte ($4.00)

A big portion for a dessert, all things considered, this is easily shareable for a whole family if you plan to snack around the world. A rich ganache made of very high quality (not grainy, or too sweet) chocolate tops raspberry preserves in a suitable chocolate crumb crust. Chocolate Studio's Red Wine Chocolate Truffle (L) and Chocolate Raspberry Torte (R)There’s nothing terribly original or earth-shattering here, but it’s a solid dish, nonetheless.

  • Chocolate Studio: Red Wine Chocolate Truffle ($4.00)

You might scoff at the portion size here (it’s about the size of a quarter), but this rich bite is full of flavor. Adults in any group should check this one out – it’s perfect if you’re too full at the end of a long day of Food and Wine-ing for a full dessert, and has just enough red wine flavor to make it a little different than anything else you’ll try around the world.

  • Wine & Dine Studio: Seared Scallop, Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussels Sprouts, and Wild Mushrooms ($5.50)

I had high hopes for this one, but was disappointed with a chewy scallop and a rather bland puree at the base of the dish. The veggies accompanying the dish were nicely sautéed, but the whole plate needed a dash of salt, and to my palate, a wine-based sauce for some sweetness (ironic, considering I was at the Wine & Dine Studio). I’ll chalk the chewy scallop up to first-day jitters (and a slow booth with tons of food sitting out waiting for guests), but the rest of the dish just didn’t wow me.

  • Wine & Dine Studio's Trio of Artisan Cheeses (Top), Seared Scallop with Celery Root Puree (L), and Pork Tenderloin with Cannellini Bean Ragout (R)Wine & Dine Studio: Pork Tenderloin with Cannellini Bean Ragout and Zinfandel Reduction ($5.00)

The pork tenderloin on this dish was very nicely cooked but lacked seasoning, with only a tad bit of sage and salt coming through. The bean stew was smoky and packed with fresh tomato flavor (slightly more acidic than a tomato sauce), but was ultimately a little salty and grainy. It’s no easy feat cooking pork so nicely in such circumstances, but nothing here is drawing me back to try it again soon.

  • Wine & Dine Studio: Trio of Artisan Cheeses ($5.00)

Another solid plate again this year, with a change to the blue cheese compared to last year (along with a few of the accompaniments). The Statesboro Blue is a bit funkier than many blue cheeses, but lovely alongside the cinnamon-coated candied walnuts. The Karst Cheddar now comes with a fig compote instead of honey, still sweet but a bit more of a substantial texture, which was welcome. The dried cranberry bread works as the perfect delivery vessel for the smooth La Bonne Vie Goat cheese (and whatever leftover compote you might have… not that I did this.).

  • Islands of the Caribbean: Jamaican Beef Patty ($4.75)

One of the best bites of the day for me – the bright yellow exterior hides a rich and aromatic beef stew jam-packed with spices (not spicy hot, though). Though two to an order seems small, they really are addictive, and perfect for a snack. I’d easily order these again over the beef empanadas in Patagonia, and I can’t wait to try them again on a return trip to the festival.

  • Islands of the Caribbean: Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Pickled Red Onions ($4.25)

The pulled pork here was mild, almost to the point of bland, missing that traditional mojo garlicky punch. I didn’t love the mushy rice and beans, but this will be a winner with picky eaters – simple flavors that won’t overwhelm the palate.

  • Islands of the Caribbean's Caribbean Sangria, Quesito, Jamaican Beef Patty, Mojo Pork, and Seared Grouper (clockwise from top)Islands of the Caribbean: Pescado con Coco: Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas, and Rice with Coconut Sauce ($4.75)

Fresh off the griddle, this grouper was well-seared, nice and flaky with a subtle flavor. The pigeon pea and olive-speckled yellow rice had a ton of savory flavor, with the slightly sweet coconut sauce tying the whole dish up with a bow. I didn’t expect to love this too much, but it was a new festival favorite for me.

  • Islands of the Caribbean: Quesito – Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce ($3.75)

A little dense and lacking cream cheese filling, this was still a tasty dessert given all the flaky layers in the puff pastry and the sweet guava sauce. Everyone will love this dessert (rightly so, as it’s not too sweet), especially if you’ve never tried one of these delicious treats, but if you have tried it, you may want to skip it in favor of something else.

  • Islands of the Caribbean: Caribbean Sangria ($4.50)

This… wasn’t my favorite. It tasted a little like cough syrup to me, and for a typically small pour, I would save my money for any one of the other great wines and cocktails around the world.

  • Greece: Loaded Greek “Nachos” – Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles and Vegan Tzatziki ($4.50)

I definitely applaud the festival for adding a wholly vegan option that’s not dessert to one of the booths – ever since the loss of the Terra booth, it’s been tough to find something that everyone can enjoy. This dish may not fit, though – the sausage crumbles were great (you likely won’t notice they aren’t real meat) Greece's Ouzo Soaked Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cake (L) and Loaded Greek "Nachos" (R)but the tzatziki isn’t so much a sauce as it is crumbled cheese that’s not melted, so the texture’s a bit off. I did appreciate the olives and onions on this to offset all the heavier flavors, but I think this was a one and done for me.

  • Greece: Oikos Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cake Soaked in Ouzo with Yogurt Whipped Cream and Pistachios ($3.50)

A buttery vanilla cake (a little too firm for my taste) takes on only a slight licorice flavor from the ouzo here – but be advised, if you aren’t a fan of the twang that greek yogurt has, you will not love this dessert, as it’s present in every bite. The slight sourness comes from both the cake and the whipped cream on top of the cake, which I liked, as it kept the whole dish from being too sweet. Not a decadent dessert by any stretch, but if you’re looking for something on the lighter side, this will do just fine.

  • Desserts And Champagne's Hard Soda Float with Vanilla Soft-ServeDesserts and Champagne: Hard Soda Float with Vanilla Soft-Serve (alcoholic) ($6.00)

I chose the Sprecher Hard Cherry Cola for my float here, not expecting much, honestly (other options for the alcoholic version are root beer or orange soda). At first sip, it tasted a bit like a diet cherry coke float, not too alcohol-forward, which was a good thing on a hot afternoon. The vanilla soft serve tends to be a little too sweet here, and while it’s not the best value for the price, it’s a fun novelty that was worth a shot. I found myself liking this more and more after every bite, and though I’m not sure the alcohol really would’ve had any effect on me, it was a decent float.

  • Farm Fresh: Chicken and Dumplings – Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach ($4.75)

Fluffy, true dumplings were a nice surprise in this dish, but all in all, it’s a pretty bland dish. I could’ve used another infusion of chicken broth (or just plain salt) into the sauce, and a bit more texture to the otherwise mushy vegetables. Farm Fresh's Chicken and Dumplings (L) and Pickled Beet Salad (R)A few pieces of chicken float through this dish, but not enough to make it a substantial bite. This may be a winner with kids or picky eaters, but I’d say it’s a solid skip for anyone with more sophisticated palates.

  • Farm Fresh: Pickled Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese, Minus 8 Vinaigrette, and Toasted Walnuts ($3.75)

As far as salad and fresh options this year, this is a definite good choice. The pickled beets have that lovely sweet and sourness to them, with two different kinds (and as a result, textures) at play. The herbed goat cheese is very herbaceous (I detected a lot of dill, of which I’m not a fan, but it worked here). And the earthy, sweet walnuts capped the whole thing off with a bit of crunch. Not the most inventive, but a good gateway dish to try beets if you’ve always been scared away by them.

  • Mexico: Barbacoa Enchilada – Corn Tortilla filled with Beef Barbacoa covered in Oaxaca Mole ($5.50)

Run, don’t walk, to try this new dish. Mexico’s normally a pretty solid booth, but the tacos have never been mind-blowing to me. This will be my new “I need dinner after work and can only stop at one Food & Wine booth” dish. The beef was a great texture, not too stringy, and slightly spicy but not enough that it’ll burn your face off. Mexico's Barbacoa Enchilada (L) and Flan de Chocolate Abuelita (R)The real star, though, is the mole sauce – bitter chocolate and bite-y cinnamon are present here, but the acidic peppery base also comes through. I tried this near the end of my long day at Food & Wine, and even after sampling all of the dishes in this post, I wanted to finish this one.

  • Mexico: Flan de Chocolate Abuelita – Mexican Chocolate ($3.95)

I mentioned in my preview post that Mexico always wows with the dessert option, and they really stepped it up this year. I’m still sad over the loss of the corn cheesecake, but this flan definitely makes up for it, and then some. A little dense at first glance, this chocolate custard with hints of cinnamon and a slight kick of spice is indulgently rich, even before your spoon makes it to the caramel at the bottom of the dish. Alongside the barbacoa enchilada, this is a one-two punch that few booths can compete with, and honestly makes for one of the best small meals you could get for price and quality at this year’s festival, with old and new dishes alike.

  • China's Sichuan Spicy ChickenChina: Sichuan Spicy Chicken ($5.75)

Right off the top, this dish surprised me. Four really crispy (and fairly large) chicken chunks were not what I expected here, but after a few bites, I was really into this dish. Salty, sour, slightly spicy (tons of visible pepper on the chicken, but it really wasn’t too spicy) – every bite hit every taste bud. This was my first bite of the day, and still one of the most memorable – I would gladly come back for this dish this year, and I also wouldn’t mind seeing it as a permanent addition to Lotus Blossom Café’s menu (with a side of steamed rice and some garlicky green beans, this would be an awesome entrée).

  • China: Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles ($5.50)

The tiny shrimp on this dish were only slightly fishy (a concern I usually have at that size), and had no tails, China's Strawberry Plum Wine Cooler (L) and Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles (R)so this plate of garlicky, slightly spicy noodles was very easy to enjoy on the go. That beingsaid, there’s nothing special about this plate – the shrimp only had a mild flavor of black pepper (or anything else), and the noodles were just noodles, frankly. Kids and picky eaters may enjoy the mild flavors here, but otherwise, I’d stick to the chicken and duck dishes at this booth.

  • China: Strawberry Plum Wine Cooler with Takara Plum Wine ($7.00)

As with most drinks served in China, you can hardly taste the alcohol (dangerous!), and be sure to stir this before sampling it. Overall, it’s a very sweet drink, but a nice addition to the booth, as it’s the lightest of all of their traditionally-strongly-poured alcoholic offerings. If you’re looking for a drink to wander the back half of World Showcase with, this is a nice, light option.

  • South Korea: Korean Style BBQ Beef with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi ($5.25)

A slight change from last year, we now see pulled beef on this dish instead of the complete short ribs. I really like this change. The pulled beef is super moist and allows you to get more of the delicious soy-ginger-barbecue sauce in every bite, plus, always important at Food and Wine, it’s much easier to eat on-the-go. The steamed rice is still just steamed rice, and this cucumber kimchi is a good introduction into that flavor profile –South Korea's Soju Fruit Slushy (L) and Korean Style BBQ Beef (R) slightly sour, light, sweet pickles that won’t scare away pretty much anyone (and yes, I think even kids will love this dish). I still prefer the vegan version of this (larger chunks of meat that you’d never know were Gardein instead of beef), but this is still a pretty solid festival pick.

  • South Korea: Soju Fruit Slushy ($9.50)

While this is another entry into the “refreshing frozen drink” category for the festival, I can’t say it’s a good deal at nearly $10. There’s not a ton of alcohol here, mostly just a citrus-y non-descript fruity flavor. It’s tasty, to be sure, but not for that price when so many other quality options exist. Stick to the iCing grapefruit rice brew if you’re looking for something refreshing here, otherwise, skip drinks at South Korea altogether and go with nearby China or Brewer’s Collection instead.

  • Germany's Roast Bratwurst in a Hard RollGermany: Roast Bratwurst served in a Hard Roll ($5.00)

Don’t panic, not much has changed here. This is still the same too-long-for-the-bun-but-still-tasty bratwurst bite as always, just in a roll instead of the pretzel bun (RIP, pretzel bun). The roll, despite the menu insisting it would be hard, was actually very soft – I imagine because they are steaming them in some way (either on purpose, or the Florida sun and hot kitchen are naturally doing it for them). The bread was not too dissimilar from a dinner roll in flavor, chewy and a fine vessel for the brat. I still would skip this, since, if you’re really in the mood for a brat, you get a way better deal going straight to the source at Sommerfest, but for a small bite, it’s fine.

  • Poland's GolabkiPoland: Golabki – Pork-Stuffed Cabbage in Tomato Sauce ($5.50)

This dish was probably the scariest one to me out of all the new ones, but ultimately, it wasn’t too bad (glowing endorsement, I know). The cabbage imparted only a little bit of funkiness to the whole dish, and the tomato sauce had the very distinct flavor of Spaghetti-Os (which could be good or bad, depending on how much you ate them during your childhood). The pork and rice filling is pretty bland, so if you can get over the cabbage, this is one of the simpler dishes at the festival. I definitely won’t try this again, but others may like it.

  • Italy: Pennete alla Parmigiania – Baked Ziti and Chicken Parmigiana, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, and Parmesan ($6.25)

Ahh, here’s the Italy dishes we’ve come to remember at Food and Wine – it tastes like pretty much any frozen dinner version of chicken parm you’ve ever had. Italy's Tuscan-style Stew (L) and Baked Ziti and Chicken Parmigiana (R)Unless you are really picky or really hungry, skip this mushy mess and stick to the next dish…

  • Italy: Spezzatino alla Toscana con Polenta – Tuscan-style Stew with Carrots, Mushrooms, and Crispy Polenta ($6.25)

Though this is a pretty heavy dish, it’s probably one of the best Italy’s booth has put out in recent festival memory. The chunks of beef in my stew were a tad salty, but the rich, beef-stock-laden stew sauce was herbaceous and full of deep flavor. My portion of polenta was gummy, not so much crispy, but I didn’t really mind – the flavors of the whole dish really made it a worthy bite. I’ll definitely give this one another shot at this year’s festival to see if the salty beef was a one-off, a real surprise quality dish from a booth I typically skip!

  • Hops & Barley: Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on Griddled Garlic Toast ($5.25)

The brisket in this dish was a little tough and stringy for me, which may depend wholly on how long the dish has been sitting out before it’s served to you – a fresh plate would likely not have this same issue. The tomato jam on top of the dish was smoky and sweet, a perfect counterpoint to the small dollop of peppery, creamy pimento cheese underneath the brisket. Hops And Barley's Smoked Beef Brisket with Pimento Cheese and Garlic Toast (L) and Frozen Orange Spiked Tea (R)The Texas toast got a bit soggy under the weight of the cheese spread and brisket, but it had that perfect garlic twang you’d expect in every bite. I’ll miss seeing (and smelling) the smoker out front of the booth every time I pass by, but this dish is still a solid take on a few American classics.

  • Hops & Barley: Frozen Orange-Spiked Tea featuring Florida Cane “Orlando Orange” Vodka ($9.50)

Hoping that this wouldn’t be a repeat of the South Korea tiny drink debacle, this one will set you back the same price, but definitely has a stronger punch than the soju drink did. My tea wasn’t quite frozen (I was warned of this at the register when I ordered it, and had no problems tasting it in spite of this). There’s not a ton of orange or tea flavor here – it tends to just be mostly alcohol, but a totally frozen version of this will take some of that edge off. Even still, I wished for a kick of fresh OJ after this, rather than the almost-medicinal aftertaste I got from the cane vodka

  • Japan: Spicy Sushi Roll – Tuna and Salmon with Kazan Volcano Sauce ($5.75)

This spicy roll is the same flavor as the roll at this booth last year, just a hand roll now instead of a typically sliced roll. Overall, it’s a quality roll, but it’s still overpriced when you consider the options just steps away at Katsura Grill. If you’re a big sushi person, it’s probably worth a shot, but otherwise, stick to options elsewhere.

  • Japan's Spicy Sushi Roll (L), Spicy Grilled Edamame (M), and Garlic Shrimp (R)Japan: Garlic Shrimp – Marinated Shrimp sautéed with Garlic and Butter, served over Rice ($6.95)

After several years with great savory options (last year’s gyoza bun, especially), Japan slightly missteps here with a surprisingly bland dish. The shrimp here are slightly larger than those found on the China black pepper shrimp dish, but don’t have nearly as much flavor. The sauce is almost non-existent, barely any garlic flavor to be found, mostly just rice vinegar and oil. I had high hopes for this dish, but it’s ultimately one of the few truly disappointing dishes I sampled opening day.

  • Japan: Grilled Spicy Edamame ($4.75)

These will definitely be one of the hit snacks to come out of this year’s festival. Smoky from the char of the grill, and slightly spicy, these edamame take a new spin on a classic many are now acquainted with, thanks to their local sushi restaurant. These are a must-try-again for me, fun to eat and full of flavor, to boot.

  • Morocco's Spicy Hummus FriesMorocco: Spicy Hummus Fries served with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions, and Tzatziki Sauce ($5.00)

Just as I postulated during my preview post, these fries are the same ones you’ll find a few steps away at Spice Road Table, but they are just as good as those hidden gems here. Think of these as loaded falafel fries – they come “smothered” in a cool, refreshing tzatziki sauce, with the sour yogurt and light, sweet cucumbers offsetting the slightly salty “fries”. These are totally addictive, and pretty much everyone I saw try them absolutely loved them. I’ll definitely be back for these several times over the course of the festival.

  • Morocco's Chocolate BaklavaMorocco: Chocolate Baklava ($3.95)

Very rich, very sweet, as expected, but this baklava would be a decent dessert to share amongst a family of four if you all just wanted one sweet bite at the moment. It’s not anything too drastically outside the box, and better desserts are found in this pavilion, but it’s worth a shot once if it sounds like it’s up your alley.

  • Belgium: Beer-Braised Beef Served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes ($4.75)

Belgium's Beer-Braised Beef with Smoked Gouda Mashed PotatoesThis dish slightly changed from last year, now coming with mashed potatoes instead of the leek/potato waffle. I imagine the swap was to help speed up the always glacially-slow line for food pick-up at this booth, but based on my day one experience, it didn’t help solve the problem much. The beef chunks here were tough, and the sauce lacked seasoning, and while the tiny scoop of gouda mash had a nice tang and smoke to it, I really did miss the waffle here. This dish kind of lost its magic without the earthy leek flavor tying it all together, a little disappointing as it used to be a festival must-do for me.

  • France: Soupe A L’Oignon au Gruyere et Cognac – Gruyere and Cognac Onion Soup ($4.25)

They aren’t kidding here when they tell you it’s cognac soup – the alcohol is definitely very forward here in every bite. It’s predictably a salty French onion-style soup, complete with mushy crouton under a thick layer of slightly dried out cheese. Overall, this wasn’t as good as the version you’ll find inside at Les Chefs (obviously I wouldn’t expect perfection out here in the booth, but still worth mentioning). There weren’t a ton of actual onions in the soup, either, so it’s mostly just broth here. I’d skip, but it’ll check off the “french onion soup” box for you if you’re in the mood.

  • France's Frozen Daiquiri Ice Pop (L), Cognac and Onion Soup (M), and Chocolate Caramel Creme Brulee (R)France: Crème Brûlée Caramel Chocolat ($4.25)

My sample of this had slightly melted away in the heat of the day, but the chocolate and caramel flavors inside the custard were very rich and reminiscent of the best candy bar you could find. I definitely preferred this version over last year’s, with a good flavor mingled into a perfectly creamy custard and crisp sugar crust. In short, this was worth braving the longest line of the festival to try.

  • France: Frozen Daiquiri Ice Pop ($8.50)

These ice pops always seem like a novelty more than a good drink-delivery system to me, but this one had slightly better balance than in years’ past. Very strawberry and rum-forward, I didn’t find this to have a ton of subtlety, but it’ll definitely get the job done if you are looking for a strong drink. If you love rum and are looking for something a bit more outside the box, this might be a good stop over the usual suspects served at the Hawaii booth.

  • Ireland's Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel VodkaIreland: Twinings Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka ($9.50)

An important note here – you can get this same frozen shake served without the caramel vodka for $5 less at this booth – totally non-alcoholic (and as it turns out, my recommendation). The difference in the non-alcoholic version and this one is that here, they pour a tiny shot of caramel vodka on top of the shake. That’s it – and I’d definitely advise mixing carefully before sampling. The pumpkin chai by itself is pretty sweet but in frozen form, surprisingly refreshing, less cloying than I had feared for a creamy drink. The vodka was a heavy pour, but with the already sweet flavors dominating here, I didn’t really care for more on top of it. I’d get this again, but just the shake, no liquor necessary.

  • Scotland's Traditional Scottish Lamb Stew with Neeps and Tatties (pictured with Citrus Thistle)Scotland: Traditional Scottish Lamb Stew with Neeps and Tatties ($4.75)

The lamb flavor here wasn’t too gamey or strong, so I found this to be a really quality savory dish, even on a hot, summer day. The mashed turnips and potatoes (the “neeps and tatties”) were a great accompaniment, and made for a surprisingly large and filling portion overall. This will be a perfect dish to sample as the weather starts to cool down later in the festival and you’re looking for something to warm you from the inside.

The Rankings

A view of Epcot during this year's festivalThere we have it – all the new and changed dishes reviewed. With so many new options, I thought a quick summary of my initial impressions of them all was in order. Here, I’ve grouped the dishes by whether I want to try them again this festival season as soon as possible, if I’ll wait to try them until after I’ve had all my other returning festival favorites, or if I don’t want them again anytime soon.


  • Barbacoa Enchilada (Mexico)
  • Jamaican Beef Patty (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Spicy Hummus Fries (Morocco)
  • Spicy Grilled Edamame (Japan)
  • Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on Griddled Garlic Toast (Hops & Barley)
  • Spicy Sichuan Chicken (China)
  • Flan de Chocolate Abuelita (Mexico)
  • Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle (The Chew Collective)
  • Red Wine Truffle (Chocolate Studio)
  • Scottish Lamb Stew with Neeps and Tatties (Scotland)
  • Pescado con Coco: Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas, and Rice with Coconut Sauce (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Crème Brûlée Caramel Chocolat (France)
  • Chilled Tomato Gazpacho with Lump Crab Meat (Greenhouse Guru)
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Raspberry Torte (Chocolate Studio)
  • Spezzatino alla Toscana con Polenta – Tuscan-style Stew with Carrots, Mushrooms, and Crispy Polenta (Italy)
  • Pickled Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese, Minus 8 Vinaigrette, and Toasted Walnuts (Farm Fresh)

Might Try These Again, Only After I Try All of My Other Festival Favorites

  • Quesito (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Korean BBQ Beef with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi (South Korea)
  • Duck Confit with Creamy Polenta and Fire-Roasted Salsa (Greenhouse Guru)
  • Twinings Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka (Ireland)
  • Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, and Micro-Basil (Greenhouse Guru)
  • Trio of Artisan Cheeses (Wine & Dine Studio)
  • Hard Soda Float with Vanilla Soft-Serve (Desserts & Champagne)
  • Oikos Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cake Soaked in Ouzo with Yogurt Whipped Cream and Pistachios (Greece)
  • Chocolate Baklava (Morocco)
  • Roast Bratwurst in a Hard Roll (Germany)
  • Strawberry Plum Wine Cooler (China)
  • Piggy Wings (Craft Beers)
  • Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Pickled Red Onions (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Chicken and Dumplings – Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach (Farm Fresh)
  • Frozen Daiquiri Ice Pop (France)
  • Frozen Orange-Spiked Tea (Hops & Barley)
  • Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles (China)

Skipping for the Rest of the Festival (and maybe on return…)

  • Loaded Greek “Nachos” – Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles and Vegan Tzatziki (Greece)
  • Seared Scallop, Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussels Sprouts, and Wild Mushrooms (Wine & Dine Studio)
  • Pork Tenderloin with Cannellini Bean Ragout and Zinfandel Reduction (Wine & Dine Studio)
  • Spicy Sushi Roll – Tuna and Salmon with Kazan Volcano Sauce (Japan)
  • Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots, and Feta Cheese (The Chew Collective)
  • Soupe A L’Oignon au Gruyere et Cognac – Gruyere and Cognac Onion Soup (France)
  • Beer-Braised Beef Served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes (Belgium)
  • Soju Fruit Slushy (South Korea)
  • Caribbean Sangria (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Garlic Shrimp – Marinated Shrimp sautéed with Garlic and Butter, served over Rice (Japan)
  • Pennete alla Parmigiania – Baked Ziti and Chicken Parmigiana, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, and Parmesan (Italy)
  • Golabki – Pork-Stuffed Cabbage in Tomato Sauce (Poland)

I’ll be back next week to review some of the returning Food and Wine Festival favorites to see if they’re still worth a stop on your next trip to Epcot!

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4 thoughts on “Every New Dish at the 2016 Epcot Food And Wine Festival Reviewed!

  • September 16, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for this! I was feverishly taking notes as I read this article – so excited to try all your “musts” 🙂 and a few of your “mights”…

  • September 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Just a random note… the Golabki at the Poland booth is actually a returning item from 2011. I haven’t tried it yet this year but, from what I remember, I would tend to agree with your review. Bland filling, and ‘SpaghettiOs’ totally nails the sauce. Definitely not as good as Mom’s!


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