Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eating and drinking around the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

I was lucky enough to time my vacation to attend the first week of the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.   It was years since I've been to this festival.  A lot has changed since then.  I saw a lot of sites that had previews of the food and drinks being offered at this year's festival. That built up my excitement for the new things that I can try. As soon as I checked in to Port Orleans French Quarter, I boarded a bus to Epcot.  As I got to the World Showcase, I asked myself "what do I try first"?  The place was packed with people.  Most people were tipsy with all the drinks they were consuming.   The lines were long at most of the festival kiosks.  I decided to head to Canada to try the Seared Rainbow Trout.   I needed to get my fish fix, so I was hoping that this would satisfy it.  At the end of the long line, I finally got the trout.

Seared Rainbow Trout from the Canada Kiosk

The portion size was small for the amount of money it cost.  It smelled really smokey, making the trout more appetizing.  As soon as I took my first bite, I knew that I got something worth the money.  The texture was moist, and the flavors were bursting from the inside out.  I could taste the roasted maple infused bacon that was drizzled on top of the trout.  There were no bones in the fish, which made it very easy to eat.  The trout skin was tasty and well cooked.  If you like smoked fish, get this and enjoy!

I needed to next join the other festive drinkers and get myself a feel good beverage.   I headed to Mexico to try the Mango-Habanero Margarita.  I love hot food and never shy away from a spicy challenge. I wanted to see if this drink lived up to the hype.  Before I took my first sip, I took a picture of it from the ledge around the Mexico pavilion. 

Mango-Habanero Margarita from the Mexico Kiosk

I smelled the drink.  There was no sense of potent spiciness coming from the smell.  It smelled like a typical margarita. I took a good sip.  I cought a hint of the habanero flavor without the heat.  I was disappointed in the lack of heat.  The drink tasted good.  Disney should step it up and offer a ghost chili margarita.  I would sign a waiver just to try that bad boy!

I needed to get another drink.  So I headed to Germany to see what beverages were being offered.  One beer caught my eye.  I saw a grapefruit beer being offered.  I must try it.  As soon as the cast member handed the beer to me, I immediately took a whiff of it.  It smelled like grapefruit with a faint hint of beer smell.  The beer looked really orange.  I set this down and took a picture of it.

Grapefruit Beer from the Germany Kiosk
As soon as I took my first drink, I could not believe this was beer because it was so fruity.  I found myself wanting to down it so fast because it reminded me of a carbonated fruit drink instead of a beer.  This was my favorite drink of the entire festival because I kept returning to get more of it!

I didn't leave Germany without trying a dish from the German kiosk.  I have to admit that I'm not biggest fan of German food, so I didn't have high hopes for whatever I would try.  I decided to try the Schinken Nudel, which is a pasta gratin with ham and cheese.  The portion size was really small.  I was able to finish it a couple of bites.  It was ok.  Not bad, but not something I was clamoring to try again.

Schinken Nudel (Pasta Gratin with Ham & Cheese) from the Germany Kiosk
I proceeded to the Africa kiosk to try something.  I looked at the menu and saw the spinach and paneer cheese pocket.  I like spinach and paneer cheese whenever I go to an Indian restaurant, so I was interested in trying this African twist to this.  As soon as I got this, I headed to my favorite spot to watch Illuminations, which is at the bridge that connects the Africa outpost to China.  I put this down on one of the lighted ledges so that I could take a picture.

Spinach and Paneer Cheese pocket from the Africa kiosk
I was able to eat this while watching Illuminations.  This was the perfect snack to enjoy the fireworks.  The spinach and paneer cheese combination was really tasty and filling.  The portion was big for the price.  It was easy to bite into.  Overall, this was a hit for me and something that I would buy again.

I went back a couple days later to try more goodies.  I heard that a unique dole whip was being served at the refreshment port, Orange Dole Whip with Crème de Cacao White.  I could not resist trying a dole whip with liquor.  I quickly got this and proceeded to take a photo of this before it melted.

Orange Dole Whip with Crème de Cacao White from the Refreshment Port
The liquor was really heavy as soon as I took my first bite.  It overpowered the orange dole whip.  It was good, but I thought that it would have been better if there was a pineapple dole whip version of it.

I then headed to the Hawaii kiosk to try the Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chips.  It looked really good.  I had to take a photo to admire the beauty of this dish.

Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chips from the Hawaii Kiosk
The tuna tasted really fresh.  It was well seasoned and very moist.  The seaweed salad really complemented this dish.  I would eat this dish again.

I headed next to the New Zealand kiosk to try the Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction.  It's been a while since I last ate venison.  I was wondering if this sausage would have a wild taste.  When I received this, I quickly took a picture because I wanted to eat this one right away.

Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction from the New Zealand Kiosk 
The taste was better than I expected.  The sausage was not overcooked, with the meat inside it very tender and moist.  I did not sense any wild taste or aftertaste when I ate it.  It tasted like a mild German bratwurst. The accompanying salad was good, and complimented the sausage really well.

I needed to was the food down, so I headed to the Japan booth to see what drinks that I could get.  I proceeded to buy the Green Tea Colada from the Japan booth.  I looked really cool, and I liked the cocktail umbrella that came with it.  I took this photo to capture the cool looking drink.

Green Tea Colada from the Japan booth
The drink tasted like your typical pina colada mixed drink, with a hint of green tea mixed into it.  It did not wow me.  I found it refreshing and great to drink.  

For the most part, I really enjoyed my experience at this year's Food and Wine festival.  I thought it was totally worth it.  Please be warned, you will end up spending a lot of money to try the food and drinks.  If you go in to this event knowing that you have the potential to spend a lot, then you will not be disappointed.  I was on vacation so I didn't think about the money.  The festival got me in a good mood, and really made my vacation really enjoyable.

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