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Taste of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Epcot's most artistic festival of the year just wrapped up and I couldn't wait to check out the last week of things to get my fill.  As usual, I'm here for the food which has more cold weather vibes than other festivals I've attended, but there's also fun merchandise around every corner, beautiful flowers in bloom, and artistic photo opportunities to be found.  Whether you attended this festival and want to reminisce with me or you didn't get a chance and want a recap, you have come to the right place! 

Let's start with the general vibe of the festival.  It is colorful and casual, it really did feel like we were walking around a local arts festival at times (just with a lot more Mickey Mouse in the artwork.)  There were a few topiaries up but not anything like Flower and Garden, and of course the food booths were around but not as many as Food and Wine, it actually felt a lot more manageable.  The food is all inspired by art in some way so even though it's around the World Showcase, it isn't all exactly tied to the countries nearby. There were of course the typical Epcot rides and a few fun character appearances we spotted as well.  And with the festival occurring in January and February, the weather was close to perfection for us which was so nice.  

Of course what makes this festival stand out is the art itself.  You can create your own art, be a part of the art, watch masters at work and purchase art to take home of many different types and styles.  There were so many gorgeous options to choose from, but I didn't think photos of the art would really do it any justice so you'll have to visit for yourself to see the art for purchase. In the World Showplace throughout the day, you can even catch an artist creating a masterpiece on stage while you dine on some festival favorites!
Create your own Spin Art
Be a part of famous masterpieces
Now let's talk about the food.  I was constantly WOWed by the dishes we tried at this festival.  It took us three days to try all these delights but we didn't stay all day/night so I think it could be done in a day in a half if you were really motivated. This was easily some of my favorite festival food from Epcot.  

Goshiki — Japan

Vegetable Gyoza: Vegetable-filled Spinach Gyoza with Tofu atop Mashed Potatoes with a Kamaboko Fish Cake, Pepper Strings and Tonkatsu Teriyaki Sauce & Pink Snow: Sake, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, and Calpico dusted with Snowflake Confetti
The Deconstructed Dish

Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings of London® Chai Tea Shake with Cream Bourbon garnished with a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon
Deconstructed BLT: Crispy Pork Belly, Soft-poached Egg, Brioche, Watercress Espuma and Tomato Jam & Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped New York-style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries and Sugar Cookies
Pop Eats
Tomato Soup with French Onion and Bacon Grilled Cheese, Almond Frangipane Cake layered with Raspberry Jam and Belgian Chocolate & Tomato Soup Can Bloody Mary 
This was one of my favorite booths because the food was just so fun and beautiful.  Who doesn't love a grilled cheese and tomato soup?  I found it to be slightly greasy but good overall.  The almond cake was so moist and delicious! The Bloody Mary wasn't our favorite but we loved the cup it came in that can totally be a little souvenir as well! 

Vibrante & Vívido

Blue Corn Pupusa-stuffed with Cheese and topped with Shredded Pork, Guajillo and Árbol Chile Sauce, Cabbage Slaw, and Aji Amarillo Crema (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine – Blue)
Frozen Piña Colada
I was surprised by how filling the blue corn pupusa was but also how delicious it was!  I was a little nervous about the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine items being more about color than flavor, but this definitely was tasty!  The Pina Colada was also surprisingly delicious and really hit the spot on a sunny Floridian day. 

L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise – France

Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl, Croissant à la Truffle Noir d’Hiver: Black Winter Truffle Croissant & Moelleux à la Framboise et aux Chocolats Valrhona: Molten Chocolate and Raspberry Cake with Pure Origin Valrhona Chocolates 
The inside of the winter truffle croissant
What can I say? The booth outside France just never disappoints at a food festival in Epcot and this was no different.  The portions were surprisingly large and everything was decadent and delicious. 

El Artista Hambriento (The Hungry Artist)

Frida Carrot Margarita: Casa Noble Blanco Tequila, Carrot Juice, Ginger Cordial, Lime Juice, and Agave Nectar 
Chile Relleno: Fried Poblano Pepper filled with Flank Steak, Black Beans and Tomatoes drizzled with a Poblano Cream Sauce & Taco de Chocolate: Chocolate Candy Shell filled with Mexican Chocolate Mousse with a touch of Chile topped with Tropical Fruit 
Living in Texas, I'm always a bit skeptical of Mexican-inspired food elsewhere, but I was once again impressed here!  The margarita was unique and refreshing with the carrot juice and the chile relleno was another large portion and delicious with the chocolate taco being such a fun little treat to round it all out!

The Masterpiece Kitchen

Vanilla, Rose Water and Pistachio Panna Cotta (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine – Pink)
Wild Mushroom Risotto, Aged Parmesan, Truffle Shavings and Zinfandel Reduction
These two dishes were definitely masterpieces. The risotto was warm and comforting while the panna cotta was almost too pretty to eat. I didn't think something so pretty could also be so tasty, but my oh my it was so good as well!

Festival Favorites

Remy’s Ratatouille with Eggplant, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Tomatoes and Red Pepper Piperade (Plant-based) (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine – Red)
Painter's Palate

Prime Steak Tartare with Pickled Vegetables, Parsley Salad, Béarnaise Anglaise and Sous Vide Quail Egg
Pistachio Cake with Cherry Mousse and Morello Cherries (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine – Green)
Mosaic Canteen
Mouskoutchou: Orange Cake with Cinnamon-Chocolate Mousse (Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine – Orange)
This dessert was one of my favorite bites of the whole festival.  I loved the hidden surprise of chocolate under the bright orange and the flavor combination of orange, chocolate and cinnamon just sang together. Yum!

L’Arte di Mangiare — Italy 
 
Rosa Regale
The Painted Panda

Old Shanghai Shi Zi Tou: Pork and Water Chestnut Meatballs served with Taro Root & Sea Butterfly: Butterfly Pea Flower infused Cocktail with Lychee Syrup, Vodka, Light Rum and Magic Boba Pearls 
This meatball was huge and another favorite of mine.  I'm a meatball fan in general, and this was such a unique twist on them!  Everyone was asking about this drink too, it was fruity but not too sweet and definitely had a bit of a punch to it - a definite winner for me!

Cuisine Classique
Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib with Parsnip Purée, Broccolini, Baby Tomatoes and Aged Balsamic & Opera Cake: Almond Joconde, Coffee Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache 
The Artist's Table

Beef Wellington: Mushroom Duxelle, Prosciutto, and Puff Pastry with Red Wine Demi-Glace and Fennel Cream
What dish looks best to you? Let us know in the comments below!

Maci Schau
Maci is an avid foodie and loves trying out new restaurants and seasonal food offerings in the parks.  You can email Maci at maci@kingdomkonsultant.com.

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