Disney World’s chefs are all set for Epcot’s 2011 International Food and Wine Festival – the longest food and wine event in the country. It’s scheduled from September 30 through November 13, set all around the 40-acre lagoon at the World Showcase at Epcot.
A taste of six continents is offered at the stops along the way, with an emphasis on street foods as befitting an outdoor fest.
New this year are tastings from the Caribbean, Portugal, Scandinavia and Hawaii. Each setting includes traditional crafts and cultural exhibits and musicians representative of the country or region as well as wines or beers.
Samples of samples
Foods for sale at the kiosks range from $3 to $7 for tasting plates; wines and beers or other beverages sold separately.
Examples of the foods to be served and regions represented include:
- Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree at Argentina
- Seared barramundi with blistered cherry tomatoes, arugula, and lemon oil; and Lamington (a chocolate-dipped sponge cake) at Australia
- Ropa vieja and Jerk-spiced chicken at the Caribbean kiosk
- Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles; Pork pot stickers at China
- Escargots persillade en brioche; Coq au vin sur gratin de macaroni at France
- Kahlua pork slider with sweet and sour pineapple chutney; Tuna poke with seaweed salad at Hawaii
- Beef or falafel in a pita pocket at Morocco
- Seared sea scallops with vegetable slaw and lemon oil; Lamb slider with tomato chutney at New Zealand
- Calamari salad with fennel, smoked paprika and olive oil; linguica sausage with peppers and onions at Portugal
- Cured salmon, herring and shrimp salad; Swedish meatballs with lingonberries at Scandinavia
Concerts, cooking demos, wine seminars – more
Along with the popular tastings, numerous wine tastings, cooking demos and concerts are scheduled.
The popular Eat to the Beat Concert Series kicks off with Taylor Dayne, the week of Sept. 30; other acts include Jon Secada, Billy Ocean, Boyz II Men, Sister Hazel, Hanson, The Pointer Sisters and Air Supply.
The Party for the Senses, scheduled Saturday nights (except Oct. 26) during the festival, is a round-robin tasting from notable visiting chefs along with performances by Cirque du Soleil acts. Cost is $145 per person with theme park admission separate; it’s at the World Showcase Pavilion. For information or to book online, visit the web site.
Costs vary – theme park admission required
Food and event prices vary around the park, but some seminars and demos are free. Special events and mixology seminars with extra tastings require reservations.
- It’s a good idea to buy a Disney Gift Card at the Welcome Center (open 9 am. to 9 p.m. daily) to reduce your time in the lines while wandering around the park.
- Print out and plan a festival route before you go so you don’t miss the foods and drinks you really want to taste.
- Check in at the Welcome Center for that day’s special and premium events early on – many seminars, etc., are sold out by mid-day.
- Wear comfortable shoes and a hat – there’s a lot of walking and standing in the sun, though many opportunities for shade are inside the country exhibits.
- Take advantage of the ferry that moves you from America’s pavilion to the entrance to the lagoon – it’s free and provides a chance to sit.
- Lines are longest on Friday through Mondays; midweek they’re lightest.
- Go early or late and buck the natural trend to circle the lagoon clockwise to avoid some lines.
- Pace yourself if drinking alcohol – the combo of the sun and walking can make for an unpleasant evening.
- If you plan to stay and dine at one of the countries, make reservations well in advance either on Epcot’s web site, through a concierge at a Disney hotel, or on site by walking up to the podium – there are frequently no-shows or at least a waiting list.
Check Epcot’s web site for official lists of events, schedules and a festival map. You can book events and dining plans online at the web site as well.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, 2011
Where: Epcot, at Disney World, Buena Vista, FL
When: Sept. 30-Nov. 13, 2011
Cost: Theme park admission gets you into festival; food, seminars are priced individually.
Information and reservations: Epcot’s International Food and Wine website