Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 Disney Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review & Pics...

So our annual fall trip to Disney is over (Though we may go back in December this year LOL). This year not only did we get to have fun at MNSSHP (Despite the rain) but we also hit Epcot to have fun at this year's food & wine festival. As usual the first few hours we kinda sucked with taking pics out of excitement but I think this year we did a pretty good job of capturing out experience on camera. 
So our first stop this year was festival center to pick up our passports.

Now last year we just made it a point to complete the passports. While it was fun we took a different approach this year and only got stamps in the countries we visited. This year we were joined by my 2 amazing friends Ashley & April...

While at Festival Center we checked out The Chocolate Experience: From the bean to the bar hosted by Ghirardelli chocolate cause well...cant go wrong with free chocolate. They had these stunning sculptures on display...

Next stop...time to ride Spaceship Earth...Nothing says Epcot more than the smell of fire ;)

After Spaceship Earth we checked the My Disney Experience app for wait times and according to the app the wait for Soarin' was only 30 minutes. Now I am afraid of heights and have yet to feel brave enough to want to feel like I am flying so April & I headed to the Character Spot for some Meet & Greets. Now about 15 minutes later Ashley, Kevin, & My uncle Rich come meet us in line. Apparently app wait times are WAAAAAYYYY off. The wait for Soarin was actually 90 minutes when they got there :( So instead they joined us in meeting Mickey, Goofy, & Minnie (Rich ended up a few people behind us so he wasnt in out pics.)

 We decided to stop for a quick break after before heading to the World Showcase...

Next we hit Cool Club for some Coke from around the world. Alas they were out of the Beverly...
 And we stopped to check out some pin traders...
It's Official...Time to start eating LOL...
I will try and remember the order we went in but they kinda blur together by the end of the night ;)
So missed a few pics in this time as we just wanted to get started LMAO...
Our first stop was definitely Terra...This is a Vegetarian stop so many people missed the yummy cupcake we tried there. It was a Chocolate Blood Orange cupcake with Tofu frosting. I know it sounds scary but I quite liked it. April didn't like the texture of the frosting but it was just kinda thick and I still liked the flavor. It was a chocolate frosting. The cupcake itself was quite moist and the blood orange filling I loved.

Next stop was Australia.  The menu featured Garlic shrimp with roasted tomatoes, lemon myrtle and rapini, Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies, &Pavlova A crispy meringue shell with fresh berries and vanilla custard. We picked up one of everything. I personally did not try the Shrimp so I cant really tell you about that. The Grilled Lamb Chop was cooked quite well but personally I did not care much for the pesto as I though it was overpowering. The potato crunchies were simply crushed potato chips. The Pavlova was my favorite at this stop. The meringue shell its self was quite thick but it did have a great flavor. Since the shell was very think I wished there had been more of the creamy filling. The fresh fruit on top was just perfect for the hot summer day it was.

Then we hit Patagonia. We tried both the Beef Empanada and the Grilled beef skewer with Chimichurri sauce and bonaito puree. The Empanada was a HUGE portion for a sampling plate! I could have eaten this alone as a lunch! It did have fantastic seasoning and the crust was nice and flaky still. The grilled beef Skewer was cooked and seasoned personally. I don't care for Chimichurri sauce personally so I cant really speak on that part of the dish.

Next up...time for Mexico!! At this point we started to realize we hadn't been taking pics!!
Here we chose to get : Shrimp taco — Fried shrimp, pickled habanero pepper and onions on a flour tortilla, Rib eye taco — Marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle salsa and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla, & Mango-strawberry margarita! Ashley got a drink too but I dont remember what she tried.
 Like most of the meats we had tried so far the rib eye taco was cooked just perfect.
Hubby went for the shrimp taco but being as I dont eat shrimp I did not try this.
O.o....Can you believe I had a drink!! Kevin, April, & Ashley all loved this margarita. I thought it was ok but it was way sweet. I will stick with the traditional margarita personally.
So starting to fill up we decided to have a much needed break and head into the marketplace and 3 Caballeros ride to relax for a few...

So walking past Norway the line for Maelstrom was at 55 Minutes...guess we are gonna have to go back later.
Pretty sure our next stop was the Farm Fresh stand. Here we tried Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon hash with sweet corn, potatoes, hollandaise and pickled jalapeños.
This dish may not have looked like much but it was loaded with layers of flavor!!

And the we headed to Germany. This was a must stop for Kevin and I since we wanted to eat here the year before and missed it.
Here we tried Schinkennudeln - Pasta gratin with ham and cheese & Berliner -Yeast doughnut filled with apricot jam.
 We just loved this yummy pasta!! It did have a bunch of onions (I dont care for them). I felt it could have used more ham in it but it was uber tasty. Matter of fact withing the next few days I will get the inspired by recipe we made posted for people to try it :P
I didn't get a pic of the Berliner but it was ok. There was not enough filling for the pastry but the flavors were good.
We decided it was time for a fun festival photo op next to the Kiosk.

Next we stopped into Karmel Kuche in Germany just to smell LOL. I really wish I could transfer the smell of chocolate and caramel in this place through the page! Even though full I ended up buying a bag of Werther's caramel popcorn before the end of our trip!

We made a quick stop in Poland to try the Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream.

 The Kielbasa tasted wonderful but sadly the perogis were kinda soggy and had no real flavor.

The next stop on our little culinary adventure was Italy. Now we were all looking forward too from the beginning. we tried the following menu items: Ravioli alla caprese -Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil, Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala -Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread, & Cannoli al cioccolato -Chocolate-covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit
 All 3 dishes were fantastic as anticipated. The ravioli were well cooked...just a little over Al Dente but not mushy. The cannoli shell covered in chocolate was nice and crispy but not hard. I however don't remember it having fruit of any sort. My favorite was defiantly the chicken. The tenderloin was still nice and juicy. The marsala had amazing flavor and the mushrooms were just perfect to bring this dish together. 
Sadly April had to head toward home at this point and we are getting super full!!
Check out the gorgeous views of the water inside the world showcase on this day...

 We slowly walked past Japan and watched a short performance of the drummers and saw the drums outside Liberty Square as well before heading off to Hops & Barley for our first cheese plate of the day. Last year we found this a highlight of the festival...

 The plate here featured Cabot Cloth-wrapped cheddar, Purple Haze chèvre goat cheese and Cave Man blue cheese. The blue cheese was a bit strong for my tastes but I like both the others.

At this point we were extremely full and hot so we stopped in the smoking section and not gonna lie we hung out there for at least an hour just relaxing and talking to other people there.

Once we finally got ourselves moving again we headed to Ireland for Cheese plate #2 of the festival.
Here they featured  a Kerrygold® cheese selection — Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig. I loved this plate personally.

Finally for our last bite of the day other than dessert we stopped in Canada. We would have been fools not to try the famed Le Cellier. Here we had “Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce & Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine

 This of course was one of the pricier options of the entire festival but it was worth every penny. While the steak may have seemed a bit overcooked for some (It was medium well) in my opinion it was cooked to perfection. The truffle butter added a richness to the steak and mushrooms. The serving size was quite good as well. We had about 6 bites of steak and plenty mushrooms for each bite. The ice wine surprised me a bit as a quite loved it. It was kinda strong but it had a very distinct sweet apple flavor.

Now we wanted to wait before dessert so we decided to wander a bit. We headed up to the world showcase entrance and look who we found...

 We then headed towards Norway to try for Maelstrom again. As some may know this was a must do this trip regardless of wait time as this ride is now closed forever to make way for a new Frozen attraction. Hubby and I am bummed but Disney would not be what it is if things did not change from time to time. Anyway the wait said 35 minutes so we got in line. (Actually it only took maybe 20.) Sad it was the end :(

 From what I have been told the trolls will just be getting a makeover but will be staying when it is converted to Frozen. Only time will tell though.

We decided we were getting a bit worn out at this point so we wanted to get desserts and head out of the park. (This was day 3 for us and the only day we hadn't been battling the weather).
Desserts and Champagne was a HUGE highlight for us last year for the Pistachio Mousse with Cherry Gelee. Now it was not on the menu this year as I was hoping but we still got the dessert trio...
This dessert had chocolate espresso opera cake, Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, & blueberry lime cheesecake roll. Now while I would still recommend making this a must do stop I was a little let down this year. My favorite was the opera cake by far. The flavors were well layered although I did not taste the espresso at all. Personally I didnt care much for the Creamsicle...While it was refreshing I thought the flavor combination was both a bit odd and overwhelming. The cheesecake roll I again didnt taste all the flavors as the lime was missing for me but the blueberry and filling tasted great. The cake was very moist as well.
Final pics as we head out of the park had to be with Chef Mickey!!

So that concludes our culinary journey at Food & Wine Festival 2014. All told we tried food at 13 different Kiosks and just could not eat anymore by the time we left. Looking forward to the trip next year though I think we need to dedicate 2 days to this amazing experience!

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