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. In the final part of this series, here’s part 3 of our hits and misses from the 2021 Festival of the Arts.
El Artista Hambriento
(located at the Mexico pavilion)
- Chile Relleno: Fried Poblano Pepper filled with Flank Steak, Black Beans, and Tomatoes, drizzled with a Poblano Cream Sauce – $7.25
- Pork Belly Pastor: Pastor-marinated Pork Belly atop Boniato Purée with Charred Pineapple and Crispy Cilantro – $7.50
- Taco de Chocolate: Chocolate Candy Shell filled with Mexican Chocolate Mousse with a touch of Chile topped with Tropical Fruit – $6.00
By far, the favorite from here was the Pork Belly Pastor: Sweet and savory and a good portion. It’s worth getting again, although lines for the booth can be long. Although the chile relleno was good, it wasn’t a huge standout. The flavors are fairly spicy, but not painfully so, however the addition of spice takes away from the potential for other flavors. For the Taco de Chocolate, it has good flavors, but the serving size is really small.
L’Arte di Mangiare
(located at the Italy pavilion)
- Arancini: Sweet Sausage Fried Risotto Balls with Pomodoro Sauce – $12.00
- L’Aragosta: Lobster Ravioli with Vanilla-Saffron Cream Sauce and Shredded Chili Peppers – $15.00
- Bomboloni: Cream-Filled Italian Doughnut with Raspberry Sauce and Powdered Sugar – $11.00
Okay, Disney, can we talk? The booth at Italy is an expensive option, and yet it is utterly forgettable. It does feel consistently that at every festival, the Italy booth underperforms. The risotto balls were crispy, but there wasn’t really a sausage flavor to them. At $15, the serving size for three ravioli is really high, especially since they’re just mediocre. As far as the Bomboloni, that’s $11 for three mini donuts. I guess they’re hoping that they can justify their prices by comparing them to Everglazed? Overall, this whole booth is one we’d skip.
The Painted Panda
(Located at the China pavilion)
- Old Shanghai Shi Zi Tou: Pork and Water Chestnut Meatballs served with Taro Root – $8.50
- Sichuan Red Hot Mala Shrimp – $10.50
Taro root is highly underrated and under-used in the U.S. It’s got a mild flavor, and so it tends to just accept the flavor of whatever it is combined with. The combination of pork and water chestnut gives a unique twist on what is basically just a giant meatball. But the dish that was more of a favorite is the Sichuan Hot Shrimp. The noodles are delicious and it’s fun to have it served in a glass. The only down side is that the portion size is small. (The drink pictured is the Sea Butterfly, which is beautiful to look at, but basically just tastes like alcohol — no real other flavor to it.)
The Artist’s Table
(Located at America pavilion)
- Beef Wellington: Mushroom Duxelles, Prosciutto, and Puff Pastry with Red Wine Demi-Glace and Fennel Cream – $8.25
- Pan-Seared Scallop with Chorizo, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, and Parmesan Crisp – $7.00
- Symphony in Chocolate Flight: Mozart Cream Liqueurs paired with White, Milk, and Dark Sipping Chocolates – $13.00
(Located at Germany pavilion)
- Red Wine-Braised Beef Short Rib with Parsnip Purée, Broccolini, Baby Tomatoes and Aged Balsamic – $8.00
- Coq au Vin: Chicken Roulade with Violet Mustard, Candied Carrots, Pancetta Crisp, Marble Potatoes, and Beurre Rouge Sauce – $6.75
- Opera Cake: Almond Joconde, Coffee Buttercream, and Chocolate Ganache – $4.50
Although both entrees here were good, the Red Wine-Braised Short Rib was the better one. The meat had a good flavor, and who doesn’t love the tang of aged balsamic? The Coq a Vin was good, and the violet mustard gave it a unique spice. The big challenge was that it really was just two bites. The Opera Cake is a popular choice with so many great flavors — almond, coffee, and chocolate all melded into one. The portion size is also good, abut the same size as you get in Les Halles Boulangerie.
Do any of these dishes end up on your must-try list?