The 2018 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is entering its second weekend. We’ve already covered the five things you won’t want to miss on your visit, but today we wanted to focus on the food. We were invited by Disney to sample a selection of dishes that were fresh to the festival this year. Since introducing the outdoor kitchens to the festival a few years ago, Disney has placed more emphasis on the food and how it fits into the Flower & Garden theme. This year they’ve really presented a fantastic lineup.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the following.
As a resident of Florida, I love to see what can be sourced locally for my own cooking. So a stop at the Florida Fresh outdoor kitchen is always one of my favorites. This year they’ve outdone themselves with a spicy combination. The carne guisada with black bean cake and cilanto-lime sour cream. Guisada is a beef stew that’s been cooked down with chiles, garlic, cumin, and black pepper. It’s definitely spicy, but not overwhelmingly hot. Just intense in flavor.
Also at the Florida Fresh booth is the spicy blackened shrimp and cheddar cheese grits. This year they’ve dressed it up with a sweet corn relish and brown gravy. Always a popular dish, but this year it was a close second for best dish of the festival according to my informal poll.
There are pretzels and then there’s the this year’s pretzel at Flower & Garden. Located in Germany’s Bauernmarkt outdoor kitchen, the toasted pretzel bread topped with black forest ham and melted gruyere cheese will have you coming back for more. Pair with your beer of choice, you really can’t go wrong here.
From the Berry Basket outdoor kitchen comes a dish that’s exactly what you would expect from a garden show. The field greens with fresh strawberries, crisp quinoa, strawberry vinaigrette and spiced pecans. There’s also some tofu cheese on their, which makes this dish entirely vegan too.
A new booth this year is the Honey Bee-stro and we sampled two dishes. The Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread with white cheddar cheese, charred vegetables, clover honey sour cream, and micro watercress was a popular choice at the both. We also enjoyed the roasted cauliflower with buckwheat honey carrot puree. It comes on a wild rice pilaf, asparagus, honey blistered grapes and sunflower brittle.
The star of the show is from the America Pavilion at the Smokehouse outdoor kitchen. Just look at the tower Disney’s chefs stacked up here. The beef brisket burnt ends and smoked pork belly slider comes with garlic sausage chorizo, a cheddar fondue, and a house-made pickle right on top. Every bite is delicious whether you choose to deconstruct or try to fit it all in your mouth at once. Either way bring napkins.
In the dessert category, it was a close fight between the pound cake at the Northern Bloom outdoor kitchen and the tropical mousse cake from La Isla Fresca. Both look like works of art and are flavor explosions. The griddled maple pound cake with warm peach compote and sweet corn gelato is a refreshing spring flavor but all the sweetness you want. The tropical mousse cake features layers of passion fruit cake, coconut mousse and tropical fruit glaze with fresh pineapple. Obviously, if you don’t like coconut you won’t like this dessert, but there were plenty of good marks from those who did try it.
Take another look at all the menus and then let us know which dish you want to try on your visit?