The 23rd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is starting earlier than ever. The first tastes are served on August 30, 2018 igniting a symphony of global flavors, demonstrations, special events, and nightly Eat to the Beat concerts.

EPCOT’s culinary directory Chef Gregg Hannon gives us an overview of the 2018 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival including what’s new, some old favorites, and great new desserts. We also talk about how they come up with the pairings of food and wine or beer.

When you first arrive at EPCOT for the festival, a good plan of attack is to head to the Festival Center, which returns to Future World East in the former Wonders of Life pavilion. It’s open from 9AM through park closing. Pick up your Festival Passport, see if there are any demonstrations scheduled for that day you want to attend, and plan your food marketplace villages.

There is some great merchandise this year. You’ll be able to see most of it in the Festival Center. They also have a store where you can buy bottles of most of the different varieties of wine you’ll find at the marketplace food booths.

Before you head back into the park make sure to visit the Chocolate Experience where Ghiradelli Chocolate is elevated to an art form. On display will be chocolate sculptures created by Disney’s own pastry chefs. You can also learn about the journey chocolate takes from its life on a bean on a tree to the chocolate bar.

The first of the popular Party for the Senses event takes place on September 22nd. It showcases creative bites from Top Disney chefs along with other renown Chefs. There will be plenty of palate-pleasing sips and sensational live entertainment. We learned that the popular Femmes of Rock, an electronic-violin act, will be entertaining at all five shows.

New this year is the Sunday Brunch with the Chef series in World Showplace. It kicks off with kick off Sept. 2 with Top Chef All-Star Richard Blais and continue on select Sundays through Nov. 11. Most dates have already sold out. So make your reservations now.

Previously: Eat the the Beat updates their concert listing for every evening.