EPCOT’s International Food and Wine 2018 Reviews (Trip 1)

When Chris and I first started dating our friends constantly mentioned to him how much I love Disney. The one thing he said to me was that he never thought he would go to Disney as much as I do, nor did he think he would enjoy it. I think he thought it was very childish. I took him on a trip to Disney “my adult way” in February of 2018. He did mention to me that it was the most magical and eye opening trip that he has ever been on. Since then, we have gone a handful of times with friends and even did Dapper Day! Dapper day was also a first for Chris.

And here we are almost half a year later and the next thing I know is that Chris became a passholder in April. Chris and I have been fortunate enough to be able to stop by Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival during our passthroughs on our weekend travels and even planned a weekend getaway. Chris really wants to explore each country from top to bottom so I made it my mission to explore with him and discovery things I have also never seen. And I decided this year to blog about each of our stops during EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival. We’ll do a Top 25 of our favorite food and/or drinks once we felt we tasted enough.

Quick fun facts regarding this year’s festival. Most of this information is from the WDW News Today article which I will link below. You’ll want to check out the full article because it includes a downloadable cost calculator link so you can make sure you don’t put (too much of) a dent in your bank account.

“This year the Festival features 42 separate locations and nearly 300 specialty items. That’s going to put a dent in anyone’s pocket. In fact, sampling every festival item would cost you $1660.64*, and that’s not even counting multiple flavors of ice cream! […] If you want to focus on the new food items, those 32 snacks will cost you $199.28. […] If you’d like to sample one item from every booth or location offering a special festival offering, that is going to run you $193.48 for those 40 items. […] The  average item costs $6.73, up from $6.19 last year. That does include some outliers, like the $32 glass of Dom Pérignon, but so does last year’s number. Overall, prices haven’t increased much this year, up an average of an 8.7% compared to last year’s prices, although you can compare that to the 1.9% increase that a one day value season ticket would cost you to attend the festival. Most of the returning items went up $0.25 and some not at all.” – Analysis: How Much Will the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Cost You? by RonD’Anna on behalf of WDW News Today.

Trip 1 – September 9

We were coming back from a visit to Gainesville where the Florida Gators lost to the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time in 31 years. Crazy. Chris spent his high school and college years in Gainesville, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have his friends and family still live there. We have planned to attend a few games this year, and this was the second.

On our way back we sometimes like to stop in Orlando to have lunch/dinner and stretch our legs out. Now that we’re both pass-holders and the Food and Wine festival is going on it just made since to take this opportunity to check it out. We got to explore for about 2 hours for our “mid-way” pit stop on our travels home.

Quick Statistics
We spent a total of $61.75
Food: $43.12
Drinks: $18.63
Food Items: 7
Drink Items: 4
Avg $6.16 Per Food Item, or $3.08 per person
Avg $4.66 Per Drink Item

Flavors from Fire

Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli
$6.75 / NEW
Chris: 8/10 
Stacy: 7.5/10
Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, and Mango
$3.75
Chris: 7.5/10 
Stacy: 8/10
First stop on our expedition of Food and Wine, and it did not disappoint. Flavors from Fire booth is actually only in its’ second year and they added a new item to the menu: the Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak. The steak wasn’t over or under cooked and had a good taste of seasoning to it. I wasn’t a fan of the corn cake, but to be honest I don’t really like cornbread or corn baked anything so it’s not a huge surprise the cake wasn’t for me. But they did pair really well with the steak, the slaw and the Cilantro Aïoli on top tied it together.
Next up we had the Chocolate Picante, which was a pretty great dessert for its price. The dish was airier than we both expected but we also did not read the description until after we tried it to find out what it was. We thought it was going to be a rich chocolate cake and it was a light mousse. It was the perfect amount of chocolate to mango and had a interesting spice at the end. If you do not like spiced chocolate you will not like this dish.

Light Lab

3 Daughters Brewing Blueberry Peppercorn Hard Cider St. Petersburg, FL
$4.25
Chris: 8.5/10
Stacy: 8/10
Last year this booth was a huge miss for me. I thought it was over hyped, over priced, and honestly not tasteful. However, I see the appeal because this booth is indoors (read: AC), and it’s under ultraviolet light, and there were more kid-friendly options. They changed a few items from last year but I wasn’t sold on anything they offered; and per my request we entered the booth and skipped out on ordering. Chris said nothing sparked his interest anyway.
But outside the booth (still part of Light Lab) is the alcohol section of a few brews. They had two flights offered here: a Cider flight and a RGB flight. The Daughters Brewing Blueberry Peppercorn Hard Cider was apart of the cider flight along with a rose hard cider and a berry hard cider. Chris’s interest was in the peppercorn hard cider so we choose to only select that one. It was so tasty with a good flavorful kick at the end which was not overpowering. Probably one of the better ciders I tried before and would recommend to try it.
If you’re not into ciders the RGB flight includes a blonde, a golden ale, and a “tart”. The brews, when put in a line, make up the colors of Red Green and Blue, or so they say. The tart is defiantly a defining red color but the others were still beer colored.

Next Eats: Earth Eats

The Steakhouse Blended Burger: Blended Beef and Wild Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun
$5.00 / NEW
Chris: 6/10
Stacy: 7/10
Earth Eats got a face-lift for the menu this year with all new items. It was hard to pick which one to try since both of the items were burgers and similar, but we went with the The Steakhouse Blended Burger since it had more of what we like to eatWe both agreed that while the burger itself was amazingly delicious the burger to bun ratio was completely off. There was way too much bun and not enough burger. If the ratio was better this would deserve a higher score.

Next Eats: Coastal Eats

Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn and Butterbean Succotash and Chili-Chipotle Butter Sauce
$6.00
Chris & Stacy: 7/10
I like to refer to Chris as a scallop expert. This man loves his scallops and most of the time if we go somewhere that has scallop on the menu it’s his order of choice. So it was easy to pick what to try at this booth once we saw the Seared Scallops option. Scallops were cooked well but I didn’t like the succotash. I didn’t think it paired well with the scallops at all. This would be given a lower score if it wasn’t for the cook on the scallops and the good seasoning. We did walk towards Canada and noticed there is another scallop dish which sounded way better and is highly recommended so I’m hopeful the Seared Scallops at The Wine & Dine Studio will have a higher score.

The Wine & Dine Studio

Artist Palette of Cheese and Wine
$11.75
This was the wine flight ($16) and the trio of artisan cheeses($5.95) together

Trio of Artisan Cheese featuring La Bottega di BelGioioso® Cheeses:

  • Crescenza-Stracchino
  • CreamyGorg Gorgonzola Dolce
  • Artigiano Vino Rosso

Chris & Stacy: 7/10

Wine

  • Reata Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
  • Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rose, Oregon
  • Spellbound Petite Sirah, California

Chris & Stacy: 7.5/10
One of my favorite food experiences is a good wine and cheese pairing. I’m a total sucker for wine tasting and cheese tasting, I totally get it from my family who are all about a quiet sit-down and some fine (mostly french) cheeses. It was a no-brainer for me to pick up the Artist Palette of Cheese and Wine. I also love this whole area, it’s decorated beautifully and embodies the spirit of the festival. We both agreed that the wine was average and so was the cheese. The pairings were about average also.  But we both agreed that the CreamyGorg Gorgonzola Dolce is a 10/10, it’s some of the best cheese pairing we’ve had. We really liked the Sirah but it was a sub-par Sirah of the ones we’ve had prior. Overall if you want to get a taste, the palette is the best way to go to save you some money.

Australia

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies
$7.75 / Gluten Free
Chris: 7.5/10
Stacy: 8/10
Coopers Brewery Original Pale Ale
$4.25
Chris: 6.5/10
Stacy: 6/10
One of my favorites is back this year: the Grilled Lamb Chop. Chris mentioned it was alright and that my mother has made lamb chops better than these. And no I’m not just saying that because she’ll probably read this, it is a 10/10 honest opinion that the way she makes them is literally the best. I think what this was missing that hers typically has was that juicy flavor. I can’t say that it was cooked dry but it didn’t have that juicy middle full of that lamb flavor. Majority of the flavor came from the mint pesto and the potato crunchies. But I still always recommend this dish because if you like lamb you’ll still like/love this. We also tried the Coopers Brewery Original Pale Ale, which I think I have had before and both agreed it was alright. It is a lighter beer than we’re used to and didn’t have anything really memorable to it. Honestly probably pass on this one and go with a bud light for the same price but bigger cup at the English Pub down the road.

Canada

“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with a Truffle-Butter Sauce
$8.00 / Gluten Free
Chris: 8/10
Stacy 9/10
Moosehead Radler: Lager infused with Grapefruit, Grape, and Lemon Juices, New Brunswick
$4.25
Chris: 9/10
Stacy 8/10
One of my favorite booths at the festival is always Canada. Everything I get here I always tend to like and the “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon is always in my top 5. Fun fact, Le Cellier doesn’t have an equivalent to this filet mignon in their restaurant. Maybe that has changed since I went there 3/4 years back, don’t know. But I look forward to this steak every year.
As long as I can remember the filet has been at this booth and always a star for most people. The cook on it was good, Chris preferred if they asked how to cook it and maybe it would have been a little under medium. I think you can request the cook but I wasn’t thinking about it when we originally went to order it. It is a little more on the pricer side for the dish and honestly I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. So if you’re like us and really love a good tasteful steak you may want to get your own dish and not share.
We also went with the Moosehead Radler which blew Chris away with the flavor. It’s refreshing, tasteful, and memorable. He liked the beer better than the steak. If you like a more citrus flavor to your lager this is must try for you.

Check Out Our Other Trip Reviews Here:
Trip 2 – September 14
Trip 3 – September 23
Trip 4 – October 13
Trip 5 – November 4

Check Out Our Food and Wine Festival: What to Try and What to Avoid

Tell us what we should try in the comments section below!

To-Try/Recommendation List:

  • Baked Shrimp Scampi Dip (Next Eats: Coastal Eats)
  • Beef Nigiri (Japan)
  • Beer-braised Beef (Belgium)
  • Braised Beef “Stroganoff” (The Cheese Studio)
  • Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak (Flavors of Fire)
  • Chicken Dumplings (China)
  • Crispy Pork Belly (Brazil)
  • Croissant aux Escargots (France)
  • Croissant Doughnut – any (Taste Track)
  • Frozen Caipirinha (Brazil)
  • Frozen Mimosa (Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar)
  • Frozen Mojito (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Frozen Wine Cocktail (New Zealand)
  • Guinness Baileys Shake (Ireland)
  • Hummus Fries (Morocco)
  • Jerk Spiced Chicken Lollipop (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • La Passion Martini Slush (France)
  • Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle (The Chocolate Studio)
  • Loaded Greek “Nachos” (Greece)
  • Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake (The Cheese Studio)
  • Mezzi Rigatoni (Italy)
  • Mimosa – any (Shimming Sips Mimosa Bar)
  • Moqueca (Brazil)
  • New Brunswick Slider (Hopes & Barley)
  • Pao de Queijo (Brazil)
  • Red Wine Flight (The Festival Center Wine Shop)
  • Seafood Salad (Spain)
  • Seared Scallops (The Wine & Dine Studio)
  • Smoked Corned Beef (Flavors From Fire)
  • Spanish-style Paella (Spain)
  • Spice-crusted Verlasso Salmon (Next Eats: Active Eats)
  • Steamed Green Lip Mussels (New Zealand)
  • Teriyaki-glazed SPAM Hash (Hawai’i)
  • Tropical Mimosa (Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar)
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Stacy is a natural born Disney lover. Since she was a little girl she would have the cassette tape of Beauty and the Beast on repeat during car rides singing every song, repeating every word. Now as a young adult Stacy is trying to figure out how to be a successful adult, post-graduation, and runs away to Walt Disney World on the weekends. Besides Disney, Stacy loves the simple pleasures of life like sunflowers, french fries, cuddles with her beloved pooch, time with her amazing boyfriend, and diving deep into a TV show series. Follow her adventures on her personal Instagram @StacyTally.

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