I finally got to tell you about the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, but I almost forgot the entire reason that race exists: the Epcot Showcase of Nations Food and Wine Festival! Each fall, Disney hosts an expansive Food and Wine festival, in which the Showcase of Nations is transformed with additional food stands for numerous other countries. In total, there are 36 countries/regions represented. Given it is Friday and a time for favorites, I am going to list off my favorite items from the festival, and some items that were worth a bite, but not quite as memorable. Thank goodness I took pictures of the menus, because we had so many good nibbles and sips it’d be hard to remember them all! 1. The Spicy Hand Roll from Japan: Japan did not hold back in creating a delicious and rather large hand roll that took numerous bites to finish. This roll included both tuna and salmon and a delicious, lick-your-fingers-when-it’s-done-it’s-so-tasty Kazan Volcano sauce. Both Mrs. BakeNBurn and I ordered this and I could have had another and called it a meal.
2. Given I am Greek and spent this past weekend making my Nicolau family baklava, I have to go with Greece’s spanakopita! My mother, I think, makes the best
version (she makes a spanakopita crustard, aka pie, which will knock your socks off), but these delicate triangles had just the right balance of cheesey gooeyness and spinach.
3. Speaking of cheese, I have to follow-up number two with the griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey. It was the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and I really wanted to lick the paper tray when I was finished.
4. Moving on to good ol’ America, and in keeping with my love of cheese, I have to say that the American lobster macaroni and cheese (or pasta alfredo as they attempted to market it) was delectable. The hubs and I savored every last bite of this mac ‘n’ cheese – because what’s better than pasta, cheese, butter and lobster? I also had their carrot cake, which was tasty, but not overly exceptional.
5. Canada did a great job with their “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce. Although the filet was a little overcooked and tough, the sauce was delicious and not overpowering.
6. Je aime la France! As one should expect, I focused on some bubbly and dessert in France. It’s really what I most enjoy about French dining – Champagne, pastries, and all things dessert. The sea salt caramel crème brulee was quite a tasty treat, although could have used more sea salt to balance the caramel. The sparkling pomegranate Kir Royale, however, whet my palate with perfection!
7. Having recently visited Scotland, which someday I will share with you, I had been craving a local dessert called Cranachan. This dessert is traditionally served
as whisky (or Scotch to us Americans) soaked raspberries, layered with whipped cream and toasted oats. It is DELICIOUS. This version, sad to say, did not live up to my memories from Whiski, a fabulous whisky bar and eatery along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The raspberries weren’t soaked in whisky at all, so the hubs and I also ordered a sample of Scotch to pour into it. Good, but still not quite right.
8. Danke Deutschland! The Riesling samplers were awesome. Both Samantha and I spent some time in Germany, being the military brats we are, so of course we had to pop over to Germany. We were torn between the beer or the Riesling flight, but we went with the wine. It was delicious. We both liked number 2 the best, but I had a preference for the third, and Samantha for the first, so we split them perfectly and enjoyed each tasty sip!
9. The hubs loves himself some duck, so we stopped in China for the Beijing Roasted Duck in Hoisin Sauce, which was almost sticky bun style. I took a nibble and it was awesome, so this one I wish I had saved more room to eat in entirety.
10. We stopped in Mexico, even though we would later dine at La Hacienda, so the hubs could get his tequila flight and I could try the mango-strawberry margarita. The tequila flight was decent and the margarita too sweet. If you go to the San Angel Inn restaurant in Epcot, you pick varying quality levels for your tequila flight, which is a much better option.
11. Of course an offering of Prosecco in Italy was a delight, and really a tradition whenever in the World Showcase!
12. And finally, who would I be, the Anglophile I am, if I didn’t get a hard cider from England? Alas, it was not Bulmer’s, but I do enjoy the occasional Strongbow as well!
Sadly I wasn’t able to get to everything. Our stomachs just wouldn’t allow it. The next time I go, I would recommend either a true whole day in Epcot (starting at 11am when the booths open) and break it up with some of the other activities’ Epcot has to offer (maybe not Mission Space, unless you really do want to lose your lunch to fit in more food…). We were able to see Captain EO (any Michael Jackson fan NEEDS to see this MJ meets Star Wars movie music spectacular – directed by George Lucas and everything!). It’s one of the hubby’s favs, so of course we had to educate Mr. and Mrs. BakeNBurn. We also rode Soarin’, Spaceship Earth (LOVE it, always a favorite thanks to the narration of Dame Judy Dench), and Living with the Land. We, of course, closed the day with one of my favorite firework shows, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. I mean, I may have the CD soundtrack and know all the words to the song… You know… Overall, it was the perfect way to end our Disney trip with such incredible friends.
Isn’t the Epcot Food and Wine Festival the best excuse an adult could have to drink around the world? Which nation looks the best to you? Aren’t you impressed we stayed awake to eat and drink that long?