We were recently invited to a special media preview to sample some of the new tastes and bites come to the 2017 edition of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. We also had the opportunity to talk to Daniel Contreras, one of EPCOT’s Sous Chefs, who walked us through some of the dishes he had a hand in creating.
From Spain, which is returning to the festival after a multi-year absence, you’ll enjoy the Charcuterie in a cone with a selection of imported Spanish Meats, cheeses, and olives in a yummy herb vinaigrette. Although it comes in a cone, you’ll want a fork to enjoy this portable goody.
Also from Spain was a sweet olive oil cake with powdered sugar and lemon curd. If you like your desserts sweet, but not too sweet, then this cake will be a revelation. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my slice.
As you might expect this dish from the India pavilion brings something for vegetarians to enjoy. The Madras red curry with roasted cauliflower, baby carrots, chickpeas, and basmati rice had enough flavor that it didn’t need meat to satisfy this meat eater.
The Cheese Studio (hosted by Boursin Cheese) was my runner up entry for ‘best of show’ at the preview. The trip of cheese served in unique ways, each a delightful surprise. Enjoy Protiteroe topped with Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Orange Apricot jam; smoked salmon pinwheel with Shallot and Chive cheese and everything seasoning; strawberry macaroon with pepper cheese.
Flavors of Fire, recommended by Chef Daniel, is smoked corn beef with crispy potatoes, pickled onions, and a blonde ale beer fondue. Essentially nachos with potato chips, but taken to the next level, as they say. This is sure to be a big hit at the festival.
From the Coastal Eats marketplace try the seared scallops with roasted corn, butter bean succotash, and chili-chipotle butter sauce. It’s a rich presentation you’ll want to try again.
The ingredients of the sample from Active Eats may not sound good on their face, but when taken together it was enjoyable. Sweet avocado crema made with strawberries, yellow cake, and tortilla streusel will give you energy you need to finish your walk drinking around the world.
If you’re looking for some spicy food, head right to the Thailand booth for their red hot spicy Thai curry beef with steamed rice. It’s not ‘spicy hot’ but hot enough that you’ll feel it. The flavor profile was complex enough to make me come back for more.
The overall winner was the new entree to the Hawai’i marketplace – Spam hash. The Spam is teriyaki glazed and served with potato hash with peppers, onions, and a spicy mayonnaise. Sure, it’s a little low brow, but the chefs brought a flavor profile that really satisfies.
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival opens Aug. 31 and runs through Nov. 13 – that’s 75 days to sip, savor and enjoy one this amazing Disney food festival (13 more than last year).
Which of these new tastes are you planning on trying at this year’s festival?