There’s 81 different food items at this year’s EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and more food booths will be opening in October. That’s a lot to sample, but we’re trying it all!
Here’s a quick rundown of the first half of the festival, from Canada through America. (Note: Brazil, Ireland, and Belgium will open at a later time.)
- “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce, $8.75
- Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll, $5.75
Our review: Exactly the same items as years prior but with price increases. The soup is just not worth the $5.75 for me. There are too many other, more tasty options. The Filet had a price increase of $0.50 and still worth it for $8.75, but just. I would probably only get this if I was with picky eaters that I still wanted to make happy.
Appleseed Orchard (Located inside the Canada circlevision theater.)
- Apple Crumble Tart, $4.50
- Seneca Apple Chips, $4.00
- Frozen Apple Pie, $4.50
- Cinnamon Apple Cider, $3.75
Our review: On the plus side, this is inside, there’s lots of room, tons of tables, and seating. The bad — the food and drinks. The apple chips are literally a pre-packaged single-serving bag of apple chips for an outrageous $4. The apple tart is not as good as what you’ll find at your local grocery store (and a lot more expensive). The cider is just cider and the frozen apple pie is the same as previous years where it wasn’t a stand-out option. For those who have sensitivities to scent, there’s a VERY strong apple smell piped in, like walking into Bath and Body Works in September. But it is pretty inside and a great place to cool off. Just bring your own food and drink from other booths.
- Coq au Vin, Pommes Dauphine (chicken braised in Burgundy wine with bacon and puffed potatoes), $6.25
- Beignet aux Trois Fromages (warm three-cheese beignet), $5.75
- Crème Brûlée au Grand Mariner, $5.50
- Croissant aux Escargots (croissant with snails, garlic, and parsley), $6.25
Our review: On opening day we spent more than 28 minutes in this line and didn’t go down all afternoon! Subsequent days have also shown decent lines. This booth is popular. For the Beignet aux Trois, it is a large portion but so odd. The cheese was mealy and strange and just not good. One bite and done. Skip this one.
For the croissant aux escargots, the one we got on opening day was burnt. We went back later and it was much prettier, but still it is really, really salty, and not that great of a value for the price. If you want to try it to say “I ate snails!”, go for it. If you’re looking for a tasty item, there’s a lot of other options around that are far better for that price.
The Coq au Vin was the only thing on the entire menu that we liked. It was so deeply flavored with the wine that it looked like beef. Outstanding flavor but not even close to worth the wait. If the line is short, go for it. If not, skip.
But the Crème Brûlée – oh, wow. This was an enormous disaster. It wasn’t even close to set and the alcohol was the only flavor and not in a good way. We hoped it was an opening day issue and went back. It had the same issue on subsequent days. Something is seriously wrong here.
Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina
- Fried Falafel Pita with Tahini Sauce, $5.25
- Grilled Kebabs with Couscous, Tomato-Onion Salad, and Garlic Aïoli (lemon-garlic chicken, Moroccan spiced lamb, or harissa-marinated beef tips), $5.75 each
- Pistachio Cake with Cinnamon Pastry Cream and Candied Walnuts, $4.75
- Stone-baked Moroccan Bread with Hummus, Zaalouk, and Zhoug Dips, $5.00
Our review: The fried falafel pita is an excellent item. Very familiar flavors, good price, and more than enough to share. This is a wonderful selection whether you’re specifically looking for something plant-based or not. The grilled kebabs are also wonderful, but if you’ve got a kid with a delicate palate or a picky eater adult, ask for the garlic aioli on the side. It’s a bit strong, but good. For the lamb one, it’s ground lamb. If you’re looking for a lamb chop, try the one in Australia. Bread and dips — can anything bad be said about that? All the dips were fantastic, and it has a good price for a snack. The cake was gorgeous, but it is really sweet. On the other hand, because it is so sweet, that makes it a good option to share.
- Spanakopita, $4.50
- Lamb Moussaka, $7.75
- Griddled Cheese with Pistachios and Honey, $4.50
Our review: Winner! All three items are excellent and the lines weren’t long. This is a must-do booth! The Griddled Cheese is on the Cheese Tour and is gluten-free. It is also beautiful, plentiful, and outstanding. We cleaned the plate on this one and that’s after already eating for hours. Lamb Moussaka: even if you don’t love lamb, this was fantastic. The hint of sweet makes this dish – it’s a bit pricey at $7.75 but it’s such an unusual flavor that it’s worth it. The Spanakopita was two pieces and perfectly done. We ate every bite of these, too. A perfect example of this dish – exactly what you’d expect.
- Tempura Shrimp Sando (crunchy shrimp served with yuzu crab, green onions, and eel sauce served on a Bun, $6.25
- Spicy Hako Sushi (spicy tuna and salmon served box-style with red tempura crunch and volcano sauce), $6.50
- Teriyaki Chicken Bun (steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables, and teriyaki sauce), $6.50
Our review: This booth had long lines all day on opening day, and isn’t worth the time. The Chicken Bun had a price increase of $0.50 and has probably priced out from the “good value” column. It’s the same as years prior – still soft and tasty. It just feels over-priced. The Tempura Shrimp were odd and underwhelming. Maybe it was seasoned but it was very, very light and just meh. As advertised, the Spicy Hako Sushi was really spicy. It may be too spicy for some people, in fact. At $6.50 it isn’t awful, but there’s so many better things to try.
- Mini Candied Bacon S’mores Funnel Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream,$9.50
Our review: $9.50 is outrageous for fried diabetes. Too sweet, too long of a wait, too expensive. Never again. Skip. Skip. Skip.
Hops and Barley
- Hot Beef Sandwich with Horseradish Cream and Pickled Vegetables, $6.50
- Freshly Baked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, $4.50
- New England Lobster Roll, $8.50
Our review: Just throw away the whole booth. Honestly. Tiny servings, smaller than last year, and two increased in price as well. If they had cut the servings but improved the quality or raised the prices but kept the serving size the same, then maybe it would work. But you’re paying more, getting less, and lower quality. The beef sandwich was more bread than beef, but still managed to be tiny. Where they didn’t cut was the spice. It was a really spicy sandwich. The lobster roll was worse than the one over at Tomorrowland Terrace, and that takes work. Soggy, overcooked, overworked lobster. At least it was small so you didn’t have to suffer through eating more of that. The only saving grace is the carrot cake, but it’s just fine — not the best sweet in the festival, not worth the lengthy lines, and not worth the price increase. Just keep walking on by this one unless you need an example of what “budget cuts” look like in food form.
Stay tuned for reviews of even more items!