Best Food and Drinks from the 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
The sun has begun to set on the 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. With less than two weeks remaining, it’s time to really buckle down and grab all of the foods and drinks you’ve yet to check off your list. If you can’t make it in time for the Festival, don’t worry- in true Epcot fashion, the International Festival of the Holidays will kick off just a few days after Food and Wine’s final evening.
But before we look ahead to what’s to come this Holiday season, it’s time to live in the moment and celebrate what’s still very much happening: the 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! I visited this years’ Festival many (many many) times, so I had plenty of opportunities to taste my way through the fantastic Festival offerings! Was this years’ food and drink selection up to par? Let’s find out!
Let’s starting with what I was most excited to sample: the drinks! Coming from someone who loves wine as much as I do, this is a big statement: there were just too many wines and beverages I wanted to try, that I couldn’t make it through my whole list!
Don’t worry though, I put in a valiant effort and put a hefty dent in my ‘must-try’ list. I’m proud to state that I tried over a dozen Festival drinks in total, here were the most balanced, refreshing, and shout-out worthy beverages I had the pleasure of sipping:
- Festival Center- MacMurray Estate Vineyards Pinot Noir
- Japan- Ozeki Rei Sake
- Morocco- Red Organic Sangria
- Hops & Barley- Angry Orchard Rosé Hard Cider
- Africa- Cederberg Pinot Blanc, Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, Groot Constantia Pinotage
Like I said, I’m a wine-o at heart, but for your sake, fellow reader, I branched out to a few offbeat choices that I felt would give a solid representation of the Festival. I know, I know, it was REALLY tough work, but my ‘sacrifice’ was worth it, and I was pleasantly surprised more than once!
My go-to drink is always, always a dry wine, so of course I kicked off my own personal Food and Wine Festival with a dry wine that was closest to the Park gates! The Pinot Noir from the Festival Center was the smoothest, most balanced dry wine I tasted at the Festival. With notes of sun-sweetened fruit and a warm, dry finish, this wine takes top honors!
My other highlights, though, may surprise you…because they sure surprised me! The red organic sangria from Morocco was just what the doctor ordered on a hot, 90+ degree Florida afternoon. The not-too-sweet sangria was surprisingly dry, but the finishing notes were bright, fresh, and superbly refreshing!
Finally, the wine flight from Africa deserves a shout out all on its own. Featuring two dry wines and a sweet Shiraz, I paired my flight with the shrimp dish (more on that soon) and boy, what a treat that was! I worked my way from left to right through the flight, and the transition from dry to sweet to dry again kept my palette guessing!
A very close second to my favorite thing (wine), the food at this years’ Festival was a major upgrade from when I visited two years ago. Many of the food options were the same, but both quality and quantity were a far removal from what I remember. I like to save the best for last, but this time, I’m kicking it off with that absolutely killer shrimp dish from Africa!
It’s strangely not listed in the Festival Passport, so the shrimp dish took me by surprise when I was ordering my wine flight…so I of course went ahead and ordered one! Four massive shrimp were skewered over a bed of cilantro-seasoned cous cous, and the whole dish was tied together with a hefty portion of marinated veggies. The spicy shrimp and veggies were served piping hot and cooked to perfection. The cilantro seasoning in the cous cous served as a great balance to the spicy veggies, and tasted fantastic with the wine flight!
Tip: If you can’t handle heat, this is NOT the dish for you!
I don’t know if coconut rum-spiked Dole Whip is a ‘food’ or a ‘drink’, so I’m putting it in the ‘tasty’ category! Dole Whips are always good and part of what makes them a Disney snack staple is that they’re consistent! The addition of a little (or in this case, a lot) of coconut rum really upped the Dole Whip anti. The sweet, fruity pineapple flavor is definitely dominant, but the bitterness from the alcohol provides a great after-swallow taste that almost made me want to stop eating and savor the flavor…almost.
With all of the fried and cheese-drenched options at the Festival, I thought I’d do my arteries a favor and opt for a healthy snack on my final afternoon. The roasted tomato hummus from Almond Orchard was…fine. I really liked that the hummus was a bit grittier than your average grocery store brand, because that means there is minimal oil and maximum chick pea ratio- which is what you want!
This is the only dish that I ordered that receives a less-than-stellar review, though. First off, there was WAY, way too much hummus for the measly portion of bland, very dry crackers that were meant for scooping. I would have liked to have seen carrot sticks or cucumber rounds served with the hummus along with the crackers. That way, I’d have both been able to finish the portion of hummus and also properly taste the hummus without the bland crackers skewing my taste buds.
Finally, one I had to finish with dessert, and my favorite dessert from this year’s festival was hands-down the Belgian waffle. I opted for the berry compote instead of the chocolate. The compote was sweet and syrup-y enough to compliment the waffle that I think the whipped cream was unnecessary. Regardless, the compote was absolutely loaded with whole berries whose fresh ‘pops’ of flavor and texture contrasted the warm, crunchy yet perfectly chewy waffle disc.
Did you attend this years’ Festival? If so, leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite food and beverage items were- I’d love to hear from you! If you’re thinking of attending next years’ Festival- you’ve got the right idea! Contact me below and I can help you plan your ideal Disney vacation.
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