EPCOT’s International Food & Wine festival officially opens tomorrow, but if you head to the park this afternoon you’ll likely be able to experience some of the options during today’s test run. There are 70 new dishes this year and most of the old favorites (like Canada’s Cheese Soup). Look for more of an international street food feeling this year at the 27 food booths and showcases.
Orlando food critic Scott Joseph got to sample a few of the tasting sized dishes early this year and he has a review up on his blog. A downloadable guide and map are available at Scott’s blog or the official website.
Another change might come as a surprise to long time event attendees. The daily wine seminars and tastings are no longer be free. There is now an $8 fee. Tickets are sold through the reservation system. However, Disney is holding some tickets for sale in the park each day for guests who may not have heard about the change.
Food and Wine runs a long 45 days this year wrapping up on November 8th, which will make it a pretty tight turn around to get the Winter Holiday decorations up at the park.
One of my favorite parts of the Food & Wine Festival are the Eat To The Beat concerts. Plenty of big names this year, and, in what I believe is a first, an American Idol winner.
A full listing of which acts are scheduled below the jump:
The Food & Wine Festival returns to EPCOT this year September 25 – November 8 for the 14th time. As with last year the even is slightly downsized from the height of 30+ countries, but the flavor and experience is all there. During the six-week event, park guests can taste fine cuisine and wines from top “foodie” cities of the world and enjoy entertainment from musical acts that will bring back memories of yesteryear.
Festival guests can enjoy the flavors of more than 25 international marketplaces dotting the World Showcase promenade highlighting tastes from cities on six continents, including Bologna, Italy; Bangkok, Thailand; Wellington, New Zealand; Santiago, Chile; Marrakesh, Morocco; Shanghai, China; and, from the United States – New Orleans. Tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $2 to $7 each, and recommended wines and beers make perfect pairings at each kiosk. Puglia, Italy, returns as a sponsor this year, presenting culinary demonstrations with regional chefs and showcasing Adventures of Pasta and Olive Oils.
I personally hope that this year’s festival will include more of a street food element. It is a trend in food service right now, and it works well with the ‘foodie’ cities theme they have this year. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Follow the jump for more festival highlights: