“Eating Around The World” is a magical experience that only Epcot and Disney can provide. Since 2014, Disney has been featuring an incredibly popular “Food and Wine Fest” which gives guests the opportuntity to taste unique foods from around the world. This year we were able to taste a few of their offerings and give our opinon about how they tasted. Let’s dive right in…
First up we have Flavors from Fire! featuring grilled and smoked meats. I tasted Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli paired with Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino County.
Notes: This was a very tasty pairing; the meat was tender and the pickled onions paired very nicely with the smoked corn cake. However, the proportion of corn cake was a little overwhelming. The aoili was a nice balance to the surprisingly intense heat from the skirt steak. The Zinfandel was a perfect pairing for the skirt steak, it had dark berry notes, with a pleasant astringency from the tannins; it was almost refreshing in the intense Florida heat.
Second from Flavors from Fire! is Smoked Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes, Cheese Curds, Pickled Onions and Beer-Cheese Fondue paired with Bell’s Brewery Porter, Comstock, MI.
Notes: The small portion size worked to the benefit of this rich and popular dish. The highlight here is definitely the delicious cheese curds which blend well with the tender and moist corned beef. The porter is also enjoyable in that it pairs a mild flavor of chocolate and coffee notes with low-moderate bitterness. The porter is a perfect palate cleanser after the heaviness of the cheese curds.
Next up is the Wine and Dine Studio which offers its own pairing Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese (Trio of Artisan Cheese paired with Trio of Wines)
Notes: This is one of the rare semi-misses from the Food and Wine Fest. While the cheeses were pleasant, the wines were a bit uninspired, because each wine lacked flavor and didn’t have complimentary notes with the cheeses. In defense of this dish though, the small card that accompanies the Palette lists the cheeses more prominently than the wines, so perhaps the focus here should be on the cheeses instead.
- Gorgonzola with Cow & Sheeps Milk paired with Reata Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley – The Goronzola here is good: smooth and earthy with a firm, crumbly texture. So a solid cheese. The wine has apple and pear notes, but lacks depth for this strong cheese.
- Artigiano Aged Balsamic & Cipolline Onion paired with Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rosé, Oregon – This was my favorite cheese of all those in this palette, a lovely blend of the acid from the balsamic and the sweetness of the cipolline onion. The highlight for me was the cheese crystals in this sample which added interest to the texture. The wine here is overwhelmed by the cheese (however, I tried this wine again with better results…read on!)
- Italico paired with Spellbound Petite Syrah, California – My least favorite of the cheeses, the texture here was overly smooth, and left an odd mouthcoating. The flavor was mild, bordering on bland. On the contrary, I did really enjoy this wine which was dark and fruity (blackberry?) with vanilla notes. I would pair the wine with a stronger cheese.
The last dish I tried at the Food and Wine Festival also happened to be my favorite: Seared Scallops, Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms paired with Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rosé
Notes: You may think it’s a little risky to eat scallops at a themepark in 80 degree weather, but this is Disney we’re talking about! These scallops were perfectly done, buttery and smooth with the slightest sweetness and they paired beautifully with the cerlery root puree. The wild mushrooms and brussels sprouts were well cooked and flavored, and all of it pulled together by the subtle truffle notes throughout the dish. I had the Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rose with this and found that the flavor pairing of the heavier main really made this wine shine, highlighting the delicate fruity notes throughout.
Overall, the Food and Wine Festival is an amazing event with so many options to suit any palette. Once again, Disney’s ability to serve high quality items to an estimated 30,000+ people daily is an impressive feat. That they can do it so well is a miracle.