On July 15th, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival started, too early, in my opinion. The food booths sprung up quickly and the excitement was there for opening day. Since the opening, I have been three times and during those visits, I have found some favorites. My favorites will definitely change as the festival continues because I still have so much to try. I have avoided all of the hot dishes possible because I want to save those for when the weather gets cooler because eating hot heavy food in 95-degree weather is not fun. I have tried to focus on food that is light and refreshing. I made a list of all the things I want to try throughout the festival and I haven’t even gotten close to being halfway through the list but with that being said, I still found some great dishes that everyone needs to try.
New booths always catch my attention at these festivals, so naturally I go to them first when visiting the park. The Noodle Exchange booth, which is near Starbucks, is a brand new booth filled with noodles – who doesn’t love noodles – and they have some great offerings. Warning: the food here comes in a normal-sized portion, not a tasting portion, so this could be treated as a meal. The dishes are also extremely hot, so not necessarily good to eat while in the heat. I ordered the Shrimp and Coconut Curry Rice Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Thai Basil at this booth although it was 100 degrees outside. I really enjoyed this dish. After taking my first bite, I knew this would be a dish I’d come back for the minute it gets cooler outside because the flavors were just amazing. I am a sucker for noodles, so I had a feeling this booth would make me happy. The shrimp were fantastic and the Thai Basil really added to the dish.
Over at the Morocco pavilion, Tangerine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina reopened for the festival as a new festival booth and this brought me my new favorite sweet treat: the Pistachio Cake. The Pistachio Cake is filled with cinnamon pastry cream and candied walnuts. The cake is light, fluffy, and perfect for a hot day. On top of this cake is a decorative piece of white chocolate that is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like a tile you’d find in a Moroccan marketplace. The smells coming from this new booth were extremely captivating so I can’t wait to go back and try more foods from Tangerine Cafe: Flavors of Medina.
As I said previously, I am a sucker for new booths, so it’s no surprise that my next favorite is from the Rotunda Bistro located in the American Adventure pavilion. I love crab so when I saw they had a Chilled Crab and Avocado Parfait, I knew I had to try it. This dish does come with caviar, but don’t worry, you are able to ask for it without the caviar if it’s not your thing. I got this dish because it looked weird and I wanted to know if it tasted as weird as it looked, but it didn’t. This dish is cooled so it’s perfect when you need to take a break from the heat and cool off. Don’t be fooled by this, though; there is a slight kick to this dish which confused me because nothing indicated that there would be some spice. I think that’s why it made my favorite list so far because it was something different and unexpected.
Recently, a few new booths opened up that weren’t supposed to open until October 1st but Disney decided to surprise us. One of those booths is one that I’m so excited to try, but sadly haven’t just yet, and that is the Mac & Eats booth. I love mac and cheese; it’s my comfort meal. Even though I wasn’t able to try this new booth, I asked a cast member working there which dish they recommended guests to try and they said the Cowboy Mac and Cheese. The Cowboy Mac and Cheese has smoked pork belly, brisket burnt ends, pickled peppers, and onion straws. This is definitely a Mac and Cheese dish for those that love brisket and pork belly. For my vegetarians, don’t worry, there’s plain Mac and Cheese along with a plant-based option. I plan on trying each type of the mac and cheeses at this booth and when I do, you all will know. This booth is located near Test Track and Mouse Gear.
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival runs through November 20th, 2021 so there is still plenty of time to try all of the food items at the different marketplaces. Don’t forget that there are still some booths that don’t open until October 1st which means more food options and possible new favorites.
If you’ve visited the festival this year, which food items would you recommend?