EPCOT’s International Food and Wine 2018 Reviews (Trip 3)

Trip 3 – September 23

We’re taking a weekend with friends to do Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. I have been so excited because this is a first time for Chris which honestly blew my mind considering the fact that he has lived in Florida his whole life and loves scary things. Of course being in Orlando for the weekend meant we would have another opportunity to try some things at Food and Wine. When we were walking to the festival I decided to buy the Remy’s Ratatouille Hide-n-Seek map for Chris and I to do. It’s a scavenger hunt throughout the countries where you must find Remy and he’ll be holding an item. Once you find him you’ll put the sticker that is associated with that country on the map. When you find all the Remys, and you’re correct, you can turn your map in for a little gift. It’s a fun thing to do with kids but I’ve done a similar one for Flower and Garden with adults for a bachelorette and loved it. I figured since Chris and I were going to adventure throughout the countries that it’ll be a fun little additional thing to do. Safe to say we only got through two countries this time around.
IMG-6743.JPGAnd this time around I suggested we get a portable gift-card and put how much we’re planning to spend so we don’t go over our budget. You can pick between 3 different gift cards for Food and Wine this year and we went with the blue one. Plus it’s super cute and I wore it on my wrist and didn’t have to take my wallet out a million times. The only time I did was when I got carded once by a college program cast member. Before we went this weekend I took the time to calculate exactly what we’re planning on trying so we had an idea of how much to put on the card. We agreed to put on $60 ($30 each) and actually didn’t spend it all this trip!
IMG-6744
We arrived to Food and Wine a little earlier than I expected this time around, and we actually only stayed for an hour. Let me tell you; it might be September but it felt like middle of summer. Chris and I were dying from the heat. Chris said if we stayed maybe 10 minutes longer he would have died or passed out. Folks when we go to the parks I have us prepared. We bring portable fans, a huge water bottle, rain jackets, umbrellas, camera, extra film, etc. etc. We walked around with fans and literally left feeling like we took a shower… in sweat. Gross, sorry, but it’s true. We didn’t even make a single fastpass this time because it was so hot. Even escaping into the stores for a little AC barely helped. I’m hoping our next visit that it’ll be at least slightly cooler that it’s bearable to be out around the afternoon time. I don’t understand how people can stay in the parks from morning to night. Anyways here are our reviews!

Quick Statistics
We spent a total of $53.00
Food: $28.75
Drinks: $24.25
Food Items: 5
Drink Items: 3
Avg $5.75 Per Food Item, or $2.88 per person
Avg $8.09 Per Drink Item

Spain

IMG-6745Seafood Salad with Shrimp, Bay Scallops and Mussels, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar, and Smoked Paprika
$6.00 / Gluten Free
Chris: 6/10
Stacy: 5.5/10
This was our first stop on our trip this time around. Chris wanted to start where we left off last week and the next booth up was Spain. We had originally two dishes we wanted to try here; the Seafood Salad and the recommended Spanish-style Paella. Since the booths have photos associated with the booth, and since most of the people around there were eating what they serve, we took a look around and noticed that the paella was mostly rice and very little meat. Plus we cheated and had a quick lunch before we came so we weren’t super hungry. Therefore we decided to pick one and went with the salad since it was hot outside and the salad was cold.
The salad was pretty good, probably wouldn’t get it again because it didn’t feel like it was worth the price. Chris mentioned he loved the bay scallops and mussels the most, this man loves his scallops so it was no wonder that was his favorite part. If you don’t like cold seafood this dish is probably not for you. My only problem with it was that it contained olives and peppers which were not part of the description, and it felt like the dish was mostly peppers anyway. Overall I think we’ll come back and try the paella another time because it was recommended by a few friends.

Italy

IMG-6746Mezzi Rigatoni: Vodka Sauce, Crispy Pancetta, and Parmesan Cheese
$7.00 / NEW
Chris: 9.5/10
Stacy: 8/10
Frozen Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila
$10.00
Chris & Stacy: 8/10
Chris was really excited for the Italy booth, this man loves his penne vodka pastas and anything with vodka sauce. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of vodka sauce. I don’t know what it is about it, it has never been my pasta sauce of choice. This year Italy changed their whole booth menu, all 3 dishes offered were new to the booth. I always get a little hesitant because if the menu items were changed I feel it was because the previous ones were either not a hit, or not popular. But anyway, it was a given that we had to try the new Mezzi Rigatoni dish and it was recommended to us out of all the dishes available.
Now for a girl who isn’t a fan of vodka sauce this dish was absolutely yummy! It also felt like a good portion of food for the price. The crispy pancetta (which at first I thought was bacon) gave it a great flavor and texture to the dish. Chris loved this one, he said that it’s really close to his favorites so far.
We also were so hot that we decided to try the Frozen Margarita which actually wasn’t Frozen. When I ordered it at the booth the Cast Member mentioned that it’s actually not frozen but “chilled”. I thought it was strange and either the machine was broken and they served it chilled only, or the festival menu lied. Regardless the drink was tasty but it felt like it belonged in the Mexico booth as opposed to the Italy booth. Yes it had limoncello in it but it gave it more of a lemon margarita flavor and didn’t go with the Italian theme in my honest opinion. Whether this drink is meant to be frozen or not it was a large size drink, actually the same size for a normal cup of beer. So for the price this was totally worth it and it cooled us down.

Hops & Barley

IMG-6747New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream, Crispy Fired Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side
$5.75 / NEW
Chris: 6.5/10
Stacy: 7/10
Quick story: As we were walking towards this booth Chris asked if there was anything at Fife & Drum that’s Food and Wine only and I realized my whole life I’ve called the Fife & Drum booth where they sell Turkey Legs FIRE and Drum and had the biggest blonde moment that we laughed about forever. I won’t be able to live this down… I have also never done the American Adventure show here so it’s now on our short-term to-do list when we come back in October with friends for Food and Wine.
New to the booth this year and a highly recommended dish was the New Brunswick Slider. We were both super excited for this dish and it fell a little sub-par for both of us. The meat was good and the bread was good; but just like the burger from Next Eats there was a bad portion of meat to bun ratio. It was hard to taste the meat if you took a bite as a sandwich, the flavor got lost in the potato roll. The roll itself was good and flavorful but I just wish I could taste it less and more of the things inside of it. I honestly couldn’t tell this came with pickled vegetables on the side until I started to write this review and looked at the menu. If there were any it was maybe a dime size and you can tell in the photo above. Overall this was OK, probably wouldn’t get it again. 
IMG-6750
Heavy Seas AmeriCannon APA, Baltimore, MD
$4.25
Chris: 7
Stacy: 8
Educational moment regarding the difference between a APA (American Pale Ale) and a IPA (Indian Pale Ale):

The short answer is that IPAs are hop-and-alcohol-heavy pale ales, originally created to last lengthy shipping times, while APAs have a balance of malts and hops, with a lighter character and citrusy punch to them. – IPA VS APA: DOWN TO THE LETTER, Liquorland Toast

There is actually a beer flight which includes this beer, and it also contains 3 Daughters Brewing A Wake Coffee Blonde Ale (St. Petersburg, FL) and North Coast Bewing Co. Blue Star Wheat (Fort Bragg, CA) for $9.00. However, Chris isn’t a huge fan of Blondes and we only cared to try the APA so we opted out of the flight. Since each of the beers are $4.25 you’ll save money to do the flight if you’re interested in all three. I really liked the APA, I can’t say I’ve had a APA before so it’s mainly the reason it sparked my interest. Tasted similar to an IPA even though there is clearly a difference but nothing too special.

Brazil

IMG-6752Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions
$5.75 / Gluten Free
Chris: 6/10
Stacy: 8/10
Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
$4.25 / Vegetarian / Gluten Free
Chris: 2/10
Stacy: 8/10
Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça
$10.00
Chris & Stacy: 6.5/10
Boy is there a lot to talk about at this booth. We were getting very full and skipped over the countries and booths in-between Hops & Barley and went towards Brazil because it had the most items we wanted to try. We opted out of one of the items that was on our to-try list and that was the Moqueca, which is new this year. It was half due to being full and half due to the photo didn’t look like what I pictured the dish to look like. Maybe we’ll try it next time because this was recommended.
Every year Brazil’s booth tends to be my favorite featuring flavorful and popular dishes. Since this was a first for Chris I highly suggested to get the Pork Belly and the Cheese Bread. Chris volunteered in Brazil one summer a few years back and told me that most people in Brazil tended to eat rice and beans for the most part. Not sure if it was just the region he was in but I also don’t disagreed with him. I think sometimes there is a misunderstanding of the festival to have authentic foods from the regions they represent. It’s easy to get lost in the translation thinking you’re trying foods those people eat and not foods inspired by those regions. I only stand with this notion because my favorite booth, Poland, was taken out and featured non-traditional dishes from that region.
I digress. The Crispy Pork Belly was cooked better than the last few years I’ve had it but this time it was a little on the dry side. I always tend to get a fatty one and don’t eat half of it so I was very content that we got a good piece. Chris said it reminded him of Cuban food and had too many beans for the dish. Since we live in a spanish dominate part of Florida and had our fair share of good cuban food I have to agree with him that this dish really tasted like a typical Cuban dish.
And on the drive home Chris got a little upset that I let him walk around Epcot, to the car, and to a gas station with a huge piece of black bean in his teeth. To my defense I did not see it! But it made for a good laugh (on my end) and a not so good “my girlfriend let me look like a fool” laugh from Chris.
We also tried the Pão de Queijo which is Brazilian cheese bread and always one of my favorites. Chris did not like it. I’m not sure what it was about it that left a bad taste in his mouth but he was not a fan. He actually rated it a 2 because he felt bad I told him it’s my favorite and honestly said he would give it a 1. I’m not hurt because obviously everyone has difference tastes but I love this dish. This year it went up in price, it used to cost $3.00 for two large pieces and I always felt it was a great bang for your buck, especially since it’s filling. Here is what the cheesy inside looked like below.
IMG-6753And finally, per recommendation, we had the Frozen Caipirinha which I had the hardest time pronouncing. And I looked up what it was:

Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (sugarcane hard liquor), sugar and lime. Cachaça, also known as caninha, or any one of a multitude of traditional names, is Brazil’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage. Although both rum and cachaça are made from sugarcane-derived products, in cachaça the alcohol results from the fermentation of fresh sugarcane juice that is then distilled, while rum is usually made from refinery by-products such as molasses. – Caipirinha, Wikipedia

First thing Chris said to me was that it tasted like apple sauce, and honestly it tasted like an adult apple sauce. Which is interesting because it did not include any apple flavored items. The drink wasn’t my favorite out of the frozen ones offered at Food and Wine. It tasted okay, and for a drink that apparently had a lot of alcohol you could barely taste any. Safe to say I had Chris finish this one off because I wasn’t feeling it and it wasn’t as refreshing as I was hoping it would be. It tasted very sweet and apple-y.

Overall Statistics
We spent a total of $180.70
Food: $103.37
Drinks: $77.33
Food Items: 18
Drink Items: 11
Avg $5.74 Per Food Item, or $2.87 per person
Avg $7.03 Per Drink Item

Check Out Our Other Trip Reviews Here:
Trip 1 – September 9
Trip 2 – September 14
Trip 4 – October 13

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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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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