I’ve been to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival many times throughout the years…in fact, I’d have to sit down and really think back to figure out the exact number of times.
In the past, I went to eat my favorite samples (escargots from France, fried goat cheese with honey and pistachios from Greece, and the cheddar cheese soup from Canada)…but more than anything, I went to drink, because all those extra Food and Wine Festival booths allowed for a great change of pace for someone who has gone Drinking Around the World as many times as I have.
To be honest, the past couple times I went to the Food and Wine Festival I wasn’t all that impressed with the food samples. They changed the way they served the escargots, the fried goat cheese just wasn’t as good, and while the soup was fine, by itself it wasn’t worth braving the crowds and long lines that have plagued the festival much more than they used to.
I also remember hearing complaints about the portions not being worth one’s money, and while I personally didn’t actively complain about this, I also didn’t disagree. So imagine my surprise when I visited Epcot this past weekend – on the second-to-last day of the 2017 Food and Wine Festival – and experienced not just large portions but also cast members who kept things flowing so that we never waited more than 5 minutes to order (and rarely more than a couple minutes to get our food).
My one rule this year was that I would try different samples, and having someone to share them with allowed me to order a lot more than I have in the past…
Clockwise from top left:
The Cheese Studio – Savory Caramelized Onion and Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Tart
Flavors from Fire – Smoked Corn Beef with Warm Crispy Potatoes, Pickled Onions, and Blonde Ale Beer Fondue
Refreshment Port – Croissant Donut
Australia – Lamington
Brazil – Pao de Queijo
I also got to taste the Grilled Beef Skewer from Earth Eats, the Loaded Mac-n-Cheese from Active Eats, and yes, the Croissant aux Escargots from France. While none of my samples were bad, the only ones that really stood out were the Croissant Donut (I’ve had “cronuts” before but this one was the best ever, trust me) and the Grilled Beef Skewer (it was a pleasant surprise, especially as it featured apricots and feta).
Overall, I was really happy with the food this year…which does a good job of making up for the fact that the drink options were average at best. In fact, nothing that I drank was particularly memorable; mostly I’m just sad that I missed out on trying the Chilled Coffee from Belgium and the Mmmhops Pale Ale from Block & Haus (yes, “Mmmhops” – it’s from the Hansen brothers’ brewery, and yes, I’m as shocked as you probably are that this exists). But hey, there’s always next year!