Food and Wine Festival, 2004

Food & Wine Festival 2004

Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT in Walt Disney World

Part 1, October 2, 2004

Epcot is our favorite WDW park and the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot is our favorite park event. Friday, October 1, was the opening day so we couldn’t wait much longer than the second day. Thanks to Deb for posting the menus at so early on Friday night. We were able to come up with a flexible plan, targeting which new booths would be our first priority and with an estimate of how much cash to bring. We had read last year that not everything was running smoothly during the first couple of days and we thought that cash would be easier to deal with.

The local weather man prounced this weekend a “Hurricance-Free Weekend”, so, Saturday morning we left our home in Tampa Bay and arrived at Epcot in about an hour, just in time to park the car close enough to walk to the gate. Future World was decorated for the Festival and we stopped to take turns posing with some of the decorations.

We arrived at World Showcase just in time for the 11 am opening. There was a slight wait in front of Peru, our first choice for this trip. Other nearby booths also had a slight delay in opening. The lady behind us in line shared her umbrella, which certainly offered some relief from the already hot sun. One downside to starting F&W so early in October this year is that it is still a bit hot for comfort. An umbrella might help with the sun but we’re not sure we could balance holding the umbrella and our food & wine.

We split most items unless it was shellfish. Rich is allergic to shellfish and it is one of Kathy’s favorites so when Kathy had shellfish, Rich would order something else that he liked.

Here are the items we sampled:

PERU: Anticuchos with Papas Huancaina-Peruvian – chicken skewer with purple potato salad $3.25
Tabernero Blanc de Blanc $2.75
(This was like having a tasty picnic in the park. The chicken was delicious and the wine was light and refreshing.)

IRELAND: Corned Beef and Cabbage $3.50
Bunratty Meade Honey Wine $3.25
(One of Rich’s single items. Kathy tasted it and noted how delicious it was.)

CHINA: Pot Stickers with pork and cabbage $3.00
(Smelled so good and tasted even better)

SOUTHEAST ASIA: Shrimp Lettuce Wrap – with lime ginger sauce and cashews $3.00
Chicken Sanbel Spicy Pulled Chicken with Macadamia nuts $2.50
(The pulled chicken was better than the hot lettuce wrap)

CAPE REGION OF SOUTH AFRICA: Beef Boma with Sweet Potato FuFu $3.50
Indaba Merlot $3.25
(A favorite this year — similar to last year’s beef and wine find at Australia , which we plan to sample on the next trip.)

OCTOBERFEST: Goulash with Spatzle $2.50
Apple Strudel with Vanilla Bean Sauce $2.00
Lowenbrau Oktoberfest $2.50
(Loved the strudel with vanilla bean sauce.)

UNITED STATES (New England): Cheddar Crab Cake with Slaw and Mustard Sauce $3.00

FRANCE: Crepe au Fromage et Fambon $3.00
Chocolate Creme Brulee $2.00
Sparr Riesling $3.25

FRESH FROM FLORIDA: Florida Shrimp Salad Roll $2.00
White Chocolate Orange Tartlet $2.00
Florida Orange Groves Mango Wine $2.50
(Kathy’s Florida Shrimp Salad was her very favorite and the best bargain. The white chocolate was to die for and the Mango wine smelled and tasted delicious.)

Our favorites in this group were Peru, South Africa, France, and Fresh from Florida. While we normally love lettuce wraps, the shrimp lettuce wrap in Southeast Asia was odd because the shrimp was warm and too slippery for the lettuce wrap. The tastings we had from Fresh from Florida were awesome and our favorites for this trip.

A pleasant surprise for us was that this year some of the booths had small beer samples (6 oz). We looked for that last year but only saw big and bigger.

We plan to return to F&W at least once or twice more. One of those visits will be in late afternoon and evening so that we can enjoy one of the concerts. We hope to revisit some of our favorites from last year. Will post Round Two after our next visit.

Part 2, November 6, 2004

We made it back to the Food & Wine Festival, although we ended up returning during the day instead of the evening like we had planned. When we got up that Saturday, we just couldn’t wait and wanted to get started. There was an accident in I-4 so we were a bit delayed in arriving. When are they going to finish widening I-4? Accidents occur all too frequently due to having only 2 lanes and the ongoing construction mess.

On every trip, we plan our move back to the Orlando area, just to avoid this drive. Once the road is completely widened, though, it shouldn’t be that bad of a drive and should take under an hour. Today it took closer to two hours.

We were starving by the time we arrived and so we threw our plan out the window and decided to play it by ear. We’d stop and eat whatever looked good. We walked past the New Zealand booth, intending to try the green mussels that people raved about but the line was too long and we were too hungry. We headed on to Mexico. While the line was longer than we would have preferred, we were definitely in the mood to eat some Mexican food. Right away we noticed the crowds were different than the previous time. While before it seemed the mostly local couples were in attendance, perhaps due to an expected hurricane arrival, this time you could tell it was Jersey week and college-age kids were down in droves, hanging out with their friends raving about how much they could drink. Anyway, here is a list of the food& wine or beer that we sampled on this second go round:

MEXICO: Chicken and Chorizo Quesadilla, Chicken Taco (don’t have prices for the second round—Deb already moved the list from
Dos Equis Lager
(Delicious. We split both but were still hungry.)

CHINA: Chicken Sha Cha with Peanut Sauce, Pork and Cabbage Pot Stickers
(We have to have the pot stickers every time, they are that good. We’re finally starting to get full enough to slow down)

AUSTRALIA: Australian Beef, Macadamia Nut Tartlet
Little Penguin Merlot
(Delicious and the Tartlet was awesome. Discovered a new favorite Aussie wine this year with Little Penguin)

OKTOBERFEST: Currwurst – Knockwurst with Weinkraut, Apple Strudel
Graff Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese (wine)
(Had to have seconds with the strudel.)

CANADA: Cheddar Cheese Soup, Maple Walnut Fudge
Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine
(This is the best soup in the world. The Fudge is awesome and there’s nothing like a little ice wine to wash it down.)

FLORIDA FRESH: Florida Shrimp Salad Roll
Florida Orange Groves Coca Polada Wine
(Kathy had to have another go at that shrimp salad roll and the coca polada wine was delicious)

Final Thoughts

While we would love to stay onsite for the F&W Festival so that we could taste a little, rest up, go back in the evening and taste some more, we have found that 2 trips pretty much does it. Next year we might do one of the food & wine pairings or other special events, just for a change of pace.

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer