To kick off the 2014 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival local media were invited to taste a few of the new selections and have the chance to meet some of the chef’s and brands involved in the festival. Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann gave the following welcoming speech sharing a little history of the event and describing not only the food we were about to sample, but the new marketplaces as well.
I was able to taste a number of the new small bites available at this year’s event. It was hard to pick a favorite, they were all so good, but there were definitely a few surprises.
Had some friends in town and my wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary this week, so we planned a return trip to EPCOT yesterday with the goal to graze around the world sampling some of our old favorites and a few of the new dishes that debuted at this year’s festival. I think it’s safe to say the evening was a success.
All in all I think Disney has done a great job with the festival this year. Many of the old favorites have returned and there are a healthy dose of new dishes to sample this year. They’ve improved the seating around the popular Belgium and Germany booths. The Eat to the Beat concert lineup is also very strong this year.
I’m still not a fan of having so much of the festival take place away from the world showcase in the old Wonder’s of Life pavilion (but I do appreciate the air conditioning there). I also think they’re under utilizing the World Showplace (the big blue tent originally built for the Millennial Celebrations) as it could hold a day long party for all attendees just as well as the few big evening events. I’d love to see food from 60+ countries one day instead of the 25ish we have now. Finally, generally speaking (but not 100% in all cases) the food is much saltier this year than before. After two days of sampling and coming home feeling red in the face with fingers swollen, I’m not happy about all the salt.
Planning your own trip to EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival in 2013? While I haven’t sampled all the various dishes (I’m not made of gold), I think I have found a few of the newer selections that really are worth a trip. They are, in no particular order: