2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

42060-EPCOT-Food-Wine-Banner-300x250On Sunday, July 12, we had the chance to attend the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview at Epcot’s World ShowPlace Pavilion. Guests were greeted with fresh towels (it was pretty hot and humid outside) and Beso Del Sol White Sangria which will be served at the Sustainable Chew Marketplace. Unlike last year, guests had to find a small table that only sat four, so we pulled two tables together and headed to the various stations set up.

What’s New

For the first time ever, the Marketplace booths will spill over into Future World! They will be new The Chew-inspired booths. From the first, Chew Lab, we had a chance to try the New York Strip with Parsnip Silk, Balsamic Glaze and Arugula Foam paired with The Smoking Hibiscus featuring Montelobos Mezcal Joven.

We had mixed feelings about this dish. Most of us enjoyed it, but some of us had a piece that needed a sharp knife to cut through it. The ingredients on top we all enjoyed. It added a lightness to the beer. The Smoking Hibiscus also had mixed reviews. If you’ve ever tried Mezcal, you know why. It’s almost an acquired taste. We still think it’s worth a try because of it’s unique flavor and presentation. How often do you eat hibiscus?

New York Strip paired with The Smoking Hibiscus available at Chew Lab for the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

New York Strip paired with The Smoking Hibiscus

The second, Sustainable Chew featured Pork Spareribs with Red Wine and Fennel and Cheesy Mascarpone Grits paired with The Frozen Chew-tini, Crop Organic Meyer Lemon Vodka, Carrot Mango Juice and Citrus Sour Mix.

We weren’t really fond of Pork Spareribs. They were a bit too chewy for our liking. As far as The Frozen Chew-tini, it was great. The tropical, fresh flavors make this a wonderful drink on a hot day.

Pork Spareribs with red wine, fennel, and cheesy mascarpone grits with Frozen Chew-tini from Sustainable Chew - 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview event

Pork Spareribs with red wine, fennel, and cheesy mascarpone grits with Frozen Chew-tini

A new tasting event that’s debuting at for the 20 year celebrations is Rockin’ Burger Block Party. The new special event will feature delicious, mouth-watering burgers, drinks inspired by artist who have left a mark on the music world and DJ spinning hits from the those artists. There will be ONLY three dates for this event – September 25, October 8 and November 6. The Chew stars will serve as hosts at the Oct. 8 event. There will be three categories of seating, ranging from 99 to 199.

Oklahoma BBQ Beef Slider paired with Mmmhops Pale Ale from Rockin' Burger Block Party at the  2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival  Sneak Preview

Oklahoma BBQ Beef Slider paired with Mmmhops Pale Ale

We sampled the Oklahoma BBQ Beef Slider with Mmmhops Pale Ale Onion Fries and Smoked Bologna Baked Beans paired with Mmmhops Pale Ale. Also available to sample was the South African Vegetarian Bunny Chow Slider with The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay Watermelon Salad paired with The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend and Everyday White Wine. The Dreaming Tree wines are from Grammy Award Winning – Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band.

South African Vegetarian Bunny Chow Slider paired with The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend from Rockin' Burger Block Party at the  2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival  Sneak Preview

South African Vegetarian Bunny Chow Slider paired with The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend

Everyone felt that the best dish by far was the Oklahoma BBQ Beef Slider. It was perfectly cooked and full of flavor! It’s one of those dishes that you could have a few of… it’s that good. The Crush Red Blend paired nicely with it too. The South African Vegetarian Bunny Chow Slider was okay if you are going into it expecting a dry burger. The Bunny Chow added made it much better! It’s a great burger substitution for vegetarians.

New beverages on the menu include the Beso Del Sol White Sangria that we had upon arrival, wines on Tap and the Festival wines. The wines on tap will be Avviato Pino Grigio and Clayhouse Malbac. They’ll be featured at the Wine Studio Marketplace.

Guests will also be able to try Disney’s own Festival Chardonnay and Festival Cabernet Sauvignon at Chew Lab. I’d like to say that we enjoyed both of these wines, but the Chardonnay had a cheap taste. It just didn’t pair well with any of them items we tried it with. Hopefully, it was just a bad bottle and it will taste much better in the future.

What’s Returning

Returning from 2007, Dominican Republic will replacing Puerto Rico this year. We really enjoyed Puerto Rico so we are a little sad to see it go, but excited about this returning booth.

"Pescado con Coco" - Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas and Rice and Coconut Sauce paired with Presidente Beer from Dominican Republic at 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas and Rice and Coconut Sauce paired with Presidente Beer from Dominican Republic

“Pescado con Coco” – Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas and Rice, and Coconut Sauce paired with Presidente Beer was our first dish to try. We found this to be an excellent dish, but it wasn’t consistent. Some of us had it hot and some cold. We’re hoping that it’s always served hot during the festival. The dish has a great flavor! The Presidente Beer, being so light really adds to the dish.

"Escondidinho de Carne" - Layered Meat Pie with Mash Yucca from Brazil paired with Undurraga Sparkling But from Patagonia - 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Layered Meat Pie with Mash Yucca from Brazil paired with Undurraga Sparkling But from Patagonia

Brazil is bringing something new to this year’s festival – Escondidinho de Carne (meaning Little Hidden One). It’s a Layered Meat Pie with Mash Yucca that was paired with Undurraga Sparkling Brut from Patagonia. This dish was pretty good the pastry was light and flaky. If you like empanadas, you need to try this. I think we would have preferred to have the dish with Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil.

Loaded Mac n' Cheese with Nueske's Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onion from Farm Fresh at the 20145 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Loaded Mac n’ Cheese

Last year, Farm Fresh was the new kid and this year, it’s back! They’re bringing new menu items as well – Loaded Mac n’ Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions paired with ACE Hard Pumpkin Cider. If you love pumpkin, then you have to try the cider. If you’re not a fan of pumpkin or cider, you probably won’t like this. The Loaded Mac n’ Cheese was another one of our favorite menu items. Then again, who doesn’t like mac n’ cheese… with bacon!

Haggis with Neeps and Tatties - Traditional Haggis with Rutabaga and Mashed Potatoes from Scotland at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

Haggis with Neeps and Tatties

New menu items are also coming to Scotland! Haggis with Neeps and Tatties – Traditional Haggis with Rutabaga and Mashed Potatoes paired with The Citrus Thistle featuring Hendricks Gin. What’s haggis? It’s the national dish of Scotland. Traditional, it’s lamb offal (organ meats) with oats, onions and spices. I’d like to tell you that we liked it… but we didn’t. Not one of us got passed the first bite. If your an adventures eater, give it a try. Picky eaters will most certainly want to skip this one.

The Citrus Thistle featuring Hendricks Gin from Scotland at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

The Citrus Thistle

Fresh Potato Pancake with Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream from Scotland at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

Returning! Fresh Potato Pancake with Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream

As far as The Citrus Thistle, that was really good. We all enjoyed it. One of the menu items that is returning is the Fresh Potato Pancake with Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream. Now that’s a dish we can get behind. It’s a really nice pancake, and the salmon is fresh and delicious.

Desserts

We had to put the desserts in their own section! Let’s start off with what desserts are new. At the new Chew Lab there will be Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel. It’s just as good as it sounds!

Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel being made at Chew Lab - 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel being made

Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel from Chew Lab at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel

At Scotland, there will be The Tipsy Laird Whiskey-Soaked Cake with Lemon Cream and Toasted Oats. This menu item seemed to be everyone’s least favorite because there were too many oats. For those of you that are looking for a “healthier” dessert or enjoy parfaits, you’ll most likely find this to be a great dessert.

The Tipsy Laird Whiskey-Soaked Cake with Lemon Cream and Toasted Oats from Scotland at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

The Tipsy Laird Whiskey-Soaked Cake with Lemon Cream and Toasted Oats

There are three returning desserts – Lamington Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut from Australia. This dessert was a favorite… if you like coconut, which most of us do, you’ll enjoy this dessert a lot. Also, the Croissant Doughnut, or as most of us refer to it – The Cronut. This cinnamon and sugar dessert will be available at the Refreshment Port for the third year in a row.

Croissant Doughnut with Cinnamon and Sugar, and Lamington Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate from Refreshment Port and Shredded Coconut from Australia - 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

Croissant Doughnut and Lamington Yellow Cake

Fan favorite – Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liquor Custard is back. It was greatly missed last year, but it’s made its way on the menu for 2015. If you like chocolate, then you’ll love this dessert. The chocolate is not really pudding texture, isn’t not soft as pudding, but softer than a brownie. Imagine mixing those two together and that’s what you’ve got. The Irish Cream Liquor Custard is a nice contrast to the chocolate.

Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liquor Custard from Ireland at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival preview

Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liquor Custard

Overall, we thought a lot of the items were pretty good. Some of these will definitely only be tried by those more adventurous festival goers.

Looking for more information on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

Check out our 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival page! We have EVERYTHING – Special events, low-cost events, culinary demos, beverage seminars, mixology seminars, Eat to the Concert Series schedule, Wine and Dine Half Marathon and so much more. Also, check out some of our reviews from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

COMING SOON! DiningatDisney.com’s Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

We want to know! What 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival booths and menu items intrigue you most?

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