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Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2020


Things at Disney World are a little different this year, as is much of the rest of the world.  However, Epcot found a way to make sure guests were still able to enjoy a Taste of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  While this event is a bit smaller than in years past, it actually makes it much more manageable in my opinion! There's enough booths to keep it interesting, but not so many that you wind up overwhelmed with choices.

September 1st was the "official" first day of the Food and Wine Festival, merchandise was released, Flower and Garden merchandise was discounted, and we were excited to kick it all off. However, some booths weren't actually open on this day.  Some were listed as "coming this fall" and some we saw open on Friday.  We were told that a few booths were only open on weekends, but not sure how that's going to evolve over the course of the festival.


One of the silly things we missed the most was the Festival Passport, which is completely digital this year.  You can find it on the My Disney Experience App complete with menus for all of the booths.  We normally enjoy writing our thoughts as we go around, but completely understand the need to go digital this year. 
Festival Merchandise
While the construction walls were a bit of a nuisance in the Future World section of the park, the World Showcase was as lovely as ever.  The lighter crowds meant lots of space to move around, some beautiful views, and very little lines for the booths! On Friday evening, we did notice moderate lines forming, but all day Tuesday and Friday afternoon we never waited for more than one party in front of us at any booth.  This is pretty typical of Epcot Festivals where Friday nights and Saturdays are very popular times for eating and drinking around the world.

One of our favorite parts of the festival was the abundance of tables and places to eat!  They were all distanced and we never had trouble finding somewhere to pop our food down so we could take our mask off and enjoy our food and drink while stationary.  

We spent two days in Epcot this September and ate at quite a few booths, but we didn't get to them all.  Here's a review of the items we tried.  

Islands of the Caribbean

We were wildly disappointed to find the Islands of the Caribbean booth closed on Tuesday since it was a "must-try" for us, but so happy when we walked by on Friday and it was open!  This was when we were told about the weekend-only booths.  It's also possible it's normally only open Saturdays, but since it was leading into Labor Day Weekend they included Friday.  The Cast Member I spoke with said he thinks that was the case for this booth, Spain and The Alps.

The booth is light and airy, and offers two savory options and one sweet. They also offer beer, sangria and a frozen mojito.  When we arrived, they let us know about a brand new menu item, a peach white wine.  Of course we had to try that in addition to what we were already getting! 

Open on Friday!
Closed up on Tuesday
Frozen Mojito & The off-menu wine
Ropa Vieja Empanada with Tomato Aïoli  & Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt (GF) 
Everything we tried was quite delicious.  The food was hot, fresh and full of flavor!  There was borderline too much sauce on my empanada, but that was really my only complaint.  The frozen mojito was light and refreshing on the incredibly hot day and the wine was sweet to start but had a nice dry finish so it went great with the bit of heat in the food items. 

China

The China booth is always a favorite for many as it is more familiar flavors that could be kid friendly.  We were pleasantly surprised to see our food being prepared to order.  The hot dumplings topped with the cold slaw, and the bao bun being piled high with beef. 
Chicken Dumplings with Chinese Slaw
Mongolian Beef Bao Bun
Happy Peach: Peach Liqueur and Dark Rum along with our two food items          
Another booth that left our bellies happy!  We've had hit or miss luck with bao buns in the past, but this one was so pillow soft and piled high with delicious beef. The chicken dumplings aren't going to drop any big surprises, but they were hot, fresh and delicious.  Definitely a good option for someone who wants a more familiar food.  

The Alps

The Alps quickly became a festival favorite after it's debut last year, because, well, who doesn't love melty cheese? You can get the swiss raclette with or without ham, a blueberry tart, and a variety of wine beverages here.  

Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Alpine Ham, Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and Baguette & Masion Willm Reserve Gewurztraminer
We opted for the alpine ham version of the savory dish to share. We were once again greeted with hot and fresh food, you could see them cutting the cheese off the big block in the booth which is always a treat.  The wine was cold and refreshing to the melty cheese. The picture might not look like much, but buried under there are lots of little baby potatoes and the cutest little pickles you ever did see.  Even though it was a hot day, you couldn't keep us away from this warm, comforting goodness!

The America Pavilion

There are a few stops around the American Pavilion that offer up Food and Wine Festival treats.  The main booth is Hops and Barley, which we skipped this go around.  But there's also the Block and Hans which has a great assortment of domestic adult beverages ranging from beer to cider to mead. This isn't necessarily a festival exclusive, but I still love to stop by to see what they have on the menu. 

However, what I think is a bit of a hidden gem of this year's festival is the Funnel Cake Stand.  They are offering up a special festival version of this classic American treat, topped with Mexican-style street corn for a savory take on this fried delight.  This was a "must-try" for me going into the festival since I love elotes (Mexican street corn) and funnel cake!  
Mead from Block and Hans
Street Corn Funnel Cake topped with Roasted Corn, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro and Cumin Crema dusted with Paprika
I was not disappointed with my choice to try the funnel cake and I ate the whole thing!  It was light and airy with a hint of sweetness in the dough, balanced so nicely with the cheese and spices. The mead had a nice hint of berry and wasn't too sweet so it was very refreshing on a hot day,

World Showplace

This was perhaps one of my favorite changes/additions to this year's festival.  There were four great booths, all close together, and in AC with lots of tables!  Bonus: they had live entertainment playing intermittently!  I love some piano playing of Disney tunes to get me in the food-eating mood :) 

Now, this area can be a bit hidden if you haven't been there before, it's tucked back between the UK and Canada Pavilions.  This sign helps pull you in but there's also a Joffrey's cart to the right that helps be a landmark for you as well.  Everything is housed in that blue building down the path.

World Showplace Entrance Marker
Decor inside World Showplace
In addition to the booths, there was also a festival merchandise shop set up inside where I was able to find my must-have item of this year, the stainless steel wine tumbler! 

Festival Merchandise Shop
Some of the merch for sale
Plenty of space for social distancing in lines!
Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese with Boursin® Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese topped with Herbed Panko & L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc Old Vines, Columbia Valley, WA
I've been known to say that "mac and cheese is my love language" so it took a lot for me to not try one of each!  Ultimately I went with the classic mac topped with Boursin (which I like on its own as well) and was not disappointed.  It was hot, creamy, flavorful and mmm just so good!  It paired beautifully with the chenin blanc which is also one of my favorite white wines in general.  However, my mom was not as big of a fan of the Boursin on top as it does have a bit of a strong flavor.

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream, Poland
Spanakopita, Greece
Bleu Spectrum: Blanc de Bleu Cuvée Mousseux with Boba Pearls & tenshən Rhône Style White Blend, Central Coast
Festival Favorites had actually our only disappointment of the festival this year.  The pierogis were room temperature at best, but borderline cold.  The flavor was there, but the temperature just really threw off the whole dish for us.  The Spanakopita from the same booth was nice and hot and delicious with the flaky layers of pastry and yummy spinach filling.  One of my favorite festival drinks was also featured here, which I first had at Epcot's 35th Anniversary so I was happy to see it make an appearance.

Nitro cake pops are finished to order!
Liquid Nitro Chocolate Cake Pops with Crumbled Twix® Chocolate Bars & Frozen S’mores with Whipped Cream Vodka  
This was a great way to cap off our day at the festival!  The nitro cake pop was surprisingly large and I loved watching the cake get dipped in the chocolate and then the liquid nitrogen - made just for me!  The frozen s'mores (also available in a non-alcoholic version) was so delicious without being overly sweet so it went nicely with the chocolate. 

Shimmering Sips

Any other fans of the "POG" (Passion Fruit, Orange & Guava) Juice you can get at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort? Well Shimmering Sips takes it up a notch by making it into a mimosa!  Definitely one of my favorite beverages for earlier in the day.  Last year, they offered a mimosa flight which was delightful, but flights aren't a part of the current festival this year so I just picked my favorite.  The booth also offers strawberry ice cream and banana bread if you'd like to nibble while you sip! 

Tropical Mimosa
France

France is an ever-popular booth, and it's so easy to see why.  The last few years, everything I've tried from the booth has been just delicious and this year was no different.  I tried one of each and was impressed with each one!  The set up was slightly different here, with the order being taken on one side of the booth instead of at a little stand before you get to the booth like most others, but otherwise it was great as ever!  

Pictured Below: Tarte aux Oignons Caramelises et Chévre: Goat Cheese Tart with Caramelized Onions on a Flaky Pastry Crust; Canard Confit à l’Orange: Braised Duck Confit à l’Orange with Mashed Sweet Potatoes; Tarte Tropezienne, Coulis Framboise: Brioche Cake filled with Light Pastry Cream and Raspberry Coulis; La Vie en Rose Frozen Slushy: Vodka, Grey Goose L’Orange, St. Germain Liqueur, White and Red Cranberry Juice.

Earth Eats

Earth Eats is intimidating for some, amazing for others, and somewhere in-between for many.  Why is this? Earth Eats is entirely plant-based in their food offerings!  If you are vegan or vegetarian, this is amazing for you! If you're a meat-lover, you might be wary of these substitutes, and many might not even notice.  If you haven't tried plant-based items before, this is a great chance to sample and see what you think.  I'm personally an omnivore, but really like the Impossible brand meat products.  

The other confusing thing about this booth, is they are using souvenir cups marked "Trowel and Trellis" for their adult beverages, since that's where the drink originated.  So this booth is a bit of a hybrid of the Flower and Garden Festival booth and the Food and Wine Booth.
Here I am getting our food!
Impossible™ Farmhouse Meatball with Lentil Bread, Spinach, Marinated Vegetables, and Creamy Herb Dressing (Plant-based) & Bloomin’ Blueberry Lemon and Ginger Tea featuring Twinings of London® with Tito’s Handmade Vodka served in a Mason Jar
There were more than a few other booths that we didn't quite make it to, there just wasn't enough room in our bellies for all the deliciousness! 

The Donut Box - marked as "Coming this Fall"
Do any of these items speak to you?  Are any of your favorites not mentioned?  Let us know your thoughts on the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2020 in the comments below!

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