On Sunday, we had the opportunity to attend the Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview. The preview as limited to media and Tables in Wonderland members who purchased tickets to attend.
As guests entered the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview they were handed a refreshing drink, spiked orange iced tea. The drink was slightly sweet and had a nice orange taste.
Once inside the venue, guests could select a table and head right to the food. Most of the tables were small and seated four guests.
Located throughout the World ShowPlace were tables with Cast Members and vendors serving up sips and delicious dishes to guests. Since it was served buffet style you could go back for seconds… or even thirds.
Korean-style BBQ Beef with steamed rice and cucumber kimchi (South Korea)
New England Lobster Roll (Hops & Barley)
Pork Tenderloin with cannellini bean ragout and Zinfandel reduction (Wine & Dine Studio) NEW
Grilled Beef Skewer with romaine, apricots and feta cheese (The Chew Collective) NEW
Mojo Pork with black beans, cilantro rice and pickled red onions (Islands of the Caribbean) NEW
Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on griddled garlic toast (Hops & Barley) NEW
Seared Scallop with truffled celery root puree, brussel sprouts and wild mushrooms (Wine & Dine Studio) NEW
Chicken and Dumplings – stewed chicken with mushrooms and spinach (Farm Fresh) NEW
Loaded Greek “Nachos” – pita chips, meatless sausage crumbles and vegan tzatziki (Greece) NEW
Duck Confit with creamy polenta and fire-roasted salsa (Name to be announced) NEW
Oikos Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cake soaked in Ouzo with yogurt whipped cream and pistachios (Greece) NEW
Quesito – puff pastry filled with sweetened cream cheese and topped with guava sauce (Islands of the Caribbean) NEW
Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with warm whisky-caramel sauce (Chocolate Studio)
Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with caramel drizzle (The Chew Collective) NEW
Moet Ice Imperial (Desserts & Champagne)
Robert Mondavi Winery Maestro Red Blend (Wine & Dine Studio) NEW
Conundrum White Blend 25th Anniversary (Wine & Dine Studio) NEW
J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfurslay Riesling – Kabinett (Germany)
J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfurslay Riesling – Auslese (Germany)
Justin Cabernet Sauvignon (Chocolate Studio) NEW
Rosa Regale Sweet Red Sparkling Wine (Chocolate Studio)
Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse (Brewers Collection) NEW
Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine (Hawai’i) NEW
Florida Orange Groves Mango Mama Wine (Farm Fresh) NEW
3 Daughters Bimini Twist IPA (Craft Beers) NEW
Mohua Savuignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay (Australia)
Cambria Estate Winery Benchbreak Pinot Noir (Hops & Barley)
La Crema Chardonnay (Hops & Barley)
Review of the Menu
Returning to South Korea is the Korean-style BBQ Beef with steamed rice and cucumber kimchi. This is one of our favorite dishes. It has a lot of flavor! The beef was perfectly cooked and the cucumber kimchi added a nice contrast to the beef.
Also returning is the New England Lobster Roll at Hops & Barley. This year’s dish is not mayonnaise based, instead it is more authentic with a very light butter sauce and big chunks of lobster.
New this year is The Chew Collective. Here guests will be able to enjoy a Grilled Beef Skewer with romaine, apricots and feta cheese. We really liked the lightness of the salad with the grilled beef. The beef was perfectly cooked and very tender.
Another new Marketplace booth will be Islands of the Caribbean. The featured dish here is Mojo Pork with black beans, cilantro rice and pickled red onions. The pork was moist and tender. This was another very popular dish at the preview.
If you live in the south then you’re familiar with pimento cheese sandwiches. New to Hops & Barley this year is a Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on griddled garlic toast. Even if you don’t like pimento cheese (I don’t) give this a try. It’s very good and the beef brisket is excellent and pairs nicely with the pimento cheese.
Another new dish is the Seared Scallop with truffled celery root puree, brussel sprouts and wild mushrooms at Wine & Dine Studio. This was one of our favorite dishes. The scallop was perfectly cooked and the truffled celery root added a nice flavor to the dish while the brussel sprouts and wild mushrooms added a nice texture. If you like scallops like we do, you must try this.
New to Farm Fresh is Chicken and Dumplings – stewed chicken with mushrooms and spinach. The dumplings are very light. The mushrooms and spinach add a nice earthiness to the dish.
One booth is yet-to-be name, but we were able to try the Duck Confit with creamy polenta and fire-roasted salsa. This was one of, if not the most popular dish at the festival preview. Plenty of guests went back for seconds. The duck was tender and tasted similar to the dark meat of chicken. The creamy polenta and fire-roasted salsa added great flavor to the dish. We highly recommend trying this dish! (This is coming from someone who doesn’t eat Donald.)
Greece will feature a new dessert, Oikos Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cake soaked in Ouzo with yogurt whipped cream and pistachios. The cake was a little denser than we’d like but had a nice flavor. The Ouzo wasn’t overly strong and the yogurt whipped cream was a nice topping. The best part though was the pistachios. They were slightly sweet.
One of the coolest, no pun intended, dishes was the Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with warm whisky-caramel sauce. It will be featured this year at the Chocolate Studio booth. It’s absolutely amazing! If you like chocolate, you MUST try this dessert.
Peanut butter lovers will want to have more than one of these. New at The Chew Collective will be a Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with caramel drizzle. It was our favorite dessert, but then again we LOVE peanut butter. It’s not too sweet and the peanuts on top have a little bit of a kick to them.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Presentation
Towards the end of the tasting, Marianne Hunnel, Walt Disney World Culinary Program Manager, did a presentation on what’s news, what’s returning and what we have to look forward to this year. One of the most exciting pieces of news is that this year’s menu will consist of 47% new menu items. That’s right… 47% NEW ITEMS!
To hear Marianne Hunnel’s presentation, download episode 32 of Dining at Disney Podcast. You can hear everything she talked about.
You can keep up-to-date with all things 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival by visiting our festival page! We’ll also have our Food and Wine Festival Guide available before the event starts so keep an eye out for its release date.