The International Flower and Garden Festival sprouted a new season last week. The festival is now longer than ever with even more to enjoy. We were invited to attend a media day event over the weekend and sample some of the fantastic food dishes that are available out around the World Showcase in the Outdoor Kitchens.
Speaking of the Outdoor Kitchens, there are two new booths to tempt you this year. Northern Bloom features dishes from Canada, and The Berry Basket features everything berry.
In all we sampled eight dishes. While we don’t think you can go wrong by ordering any of them, we did have some favorites:
The Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash returns to the festival at the Smokehouse outdoor kitchen in the American Adventure pavilion. This was our favorite dish last year, and the year before.
But there’s a new king in town. The Carne Asada with Black Bean Cake the Florida Fresh booth won us over, not just for meat either, the black bean cake was divine.
A very close second are the new Seared Scallops served in the Northern Bloom outdoor kitchen. They’re topped with a Brown Butter Vinaigrette and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon. These are already attracting long lines at the booth.
Also good were the Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer which comes with a great coconut lime sauce.
For the vegetarian in the house, visit the Urban Farm Eats booth to try the Crabless Cake. Made with gardein chicken, tofu and spices, it really did have a close taste and texture to a crab cake. It was warm, but served on a cold slaw. I would have liked a warm side myself.
We were able to sample three desserts. Not pictured is the Warm Cheese Strudel with Mixed Berries from the Baurenmarkt. It was a little bit more on the sour side than I like in a strudel, but still yummy.
The Warm Wild Berry Buckle with Pepper Berry Ice Cream from the Berry Basket booth, so good I considered getting seconds. The ice cream was refreshing and not too heavy, while the warm upside down cake hit home in terms of texture and flavor.
If you book the $15 tour of the Tea Gardens you’ll enjoy some special scones the end of the tour to devour with your tea.
Finally, be sure to visit the Florida Fresh outdoor kitchen for the Key Lime Tart with toasted Meringue. Served with a little butterfly cookie, this is a full-sized dessert and features Florida’s signature dessert. Your festival experience isn’t complete until you’ve tried one (although perhaps share it with a friend).
We had a lot of fun walking the world showcase with our Garden Passport. It’s updated with all the 2017 Outdoor Kitchen menus. Don’t want to wait till you get to the park to pick yours up? Download it today.
If you’re planning a visit to the 2017 EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival, we hope this helps you decide which new dishes to try.