Each year, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival continues to be one of the most anticipated special events for guests of Walt Disney World. Around World Showcase, kiosks are setup for the festival that feature food and beverages from countries and regions around the world. This year includes more than 25 kiosks with returning favorites, and new offerings from Scotland like the seared salmon, vegetarian haggis, and banoffee tart. The Scottish booth will also serve Innis & Gunn Original beer, which I recently discovered at the Grand Floridian, and what I may be most excited about, Scotch tastings from Glenfiddich with 12, 15 and 18 years included in the flight.
The kiosks will presumably, like in years past, take Disney Dining Plan snack credits for payment for most of the food and some non-alcoholic beverages. This is a fantastic use of your snack credits if you are on the dining plan as some of these individual items can often cost upwards of $6 or $7 like the lobster dishes at the Hops & Barley kiosk. The festival will definitely have me going back to some of my favorites including the escargot in France, Fisherman’s pie and cheese plate in Ireland, kahlua pork sliders and tuna poke from Hawaii, Florida shrimp ceviche, and Schinken nudel in Germany.
Another great thing about the Food & Wine Festival is that you get the opportunity to try some of the featured menu items from some of Epcot’s restaurants that you may not be able to get into very easily, like Le Cellier in Canada. For those not fortunate enough to get a reservation, don’t despair. You can sample the restaurant’s cheddar cheese soup and filet mignon with truffle sauce at this year’s festival booth.
In addition to the kiosks, the festival plays host to celebrity chefs and representatives from vineyards and other spirit companies. Many special events are offered over the festival’s almost two month span from September 27 through November 11 this year. Seminars and mixology classes along with tastings are among some of the more affordable extras that can start as low as $10 or so for some (occasionally passholder discounts are offered for select events). Other special parties, like the Party for the Senses, can go to upwards of $200 per person. Check out the festival page to see more details or call (407) 939-3463 to book.
One of the most fun parts of the festival is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. This year new acts join some of the favorites that have been coming back for years. Last year I got to see both Sugar Ray and Boyz II Men put on great concerts. This year’s lineup (subject to change and courtesy of Disney) is as follows:
STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
“We Built This City”
NEW! The Go-Go’s
“We Got The Beat”
“All Out of Love”
“All for You”
NEW! Edwin McCain
NEW! The Manhattan Transfer
“Boy From New York City”
NEW! Wilson Phillips
The Pointer Sisters
“I’m So Excited”
Boyz II Men
“End of the Road”
“Eye of the Tiger”
“Caught Up in You”
“Walkin’ on the Sun”
NEW! Spin Doctors
NEW! Christopher Cross
“Get the Girl Back”
Dennis DeYoung original member of the group STYX
“Come Sail Away”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Concerts take place in the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00pm each night. Some of these performers can be very popular and guests have been known to line up hours in advance to try to get seats for the show. If there is someone that you really want to see, try to get there an hour or so ahead of time to give yourself the best chance to get into the theatre. If you don’t get in, rest assured, you can still see/hear the music and the band from elsewhere in the American pavilion.
I cannot wait for the Food & Wine Festival to start! This is one of my favorite events of the year, I often try to spread out my visits over three or four days to sample a few items each time. This gives me time to digest between booths and also to give my wallet a rest since you can literally spend hundreds to thousands if you were to purchase each item at each booth of the festival. I won’t be able to go for a few weeks, but I know many who are going this weekend.
Have you been to Epcot for the International Food & Wine Festival? If so, what are some of your favorite items? Have you done any of the special events or tastings? What are you most looking forward to? Let us know!
Tables in Wonderland Food & Wine Festival Special Event
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview “Taste Your Way Around The World”
Odyssey Pavilion at Epcot®
Saturday July 27, 2013 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Price: $133.13, tax and gratuity included
Counting down the days to the Festival? Looking forward to international marketplaces featuring tasty tapas-sized dishes and refreshing beverages? Eager to try your hand at mixology? Ready for some Culinary Demonstrations? Excited to enjoy an exhilarating outdoor concert?
With the 18th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival just around the corner, we would like to invite Tables in Wonderland members only to a “sneak preview” of this year’s Festival! Join us as we sample the food and hear speakers talk about the new and exciting things we have in store for you this year! Learn what new marketplaces will be added, as well as new special events. Be one of the first to be “in the know” as we taste our way around the world!
The website will go live and begin taking reservations on Monday, July 1, 2013 at 10:00am.
When you go to the website please have the following information ready:
Tables in Wonderland Ticket Number (number beginning with a W and includes a date) First and Last Name of everyone in your party (you may purchase up to 10 tickets) Home address Phone number Credit Card Number Billing Address of the Credit Card Personal Email Address Food Allergies (if any)
Things to note about this event:
The event is limited to 150 Guests, and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland members. Park admission not required.
The menu for this event is inspired by the International Marketplaces:
Florida Local: Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with White Cheddar and Sweet & Hot Pickles South Korea: Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi
Terra: The Vegan Vine Red Blend Cheese: Once Upon a Vine’s The Fairest Chardonnay Brazil: Carnaval Moscato White Sparkling Craft Beers: Sierra Nevada, Torpedo® Extra IPA Poland: Frozen Szarlotka (Frozen Polish Apple Pie) featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
Brazil: Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro
Brazil: Cerveharias Kaiser Brewery, Xingu Black Beer
Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival Rewind
Florida Fresh: Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction
Florida Local: Florida Orange Groves Hurricane Class 5, Florida White Sangria
Canada: “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce Scotland: Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette With Baby Root Vegetables
Africa: The Wolftrap Red (Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier) New Zealand: Mohua Sauvignon Blanc
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2012 – Snack And Sip On This, Skip That
Every year at Food and Wine festival at Epcot there are a few booths that are either the same as previous years or things that are always available in the parks. While these items are yummy, they can be skipped if you are a on a time crunch while sipping and strolling around the park. I figured I would let you in on a few of these items!
Cheddar Cheese Soup: I know people go BANANAS for this soup and it is a top seller but this is both something you can get at Food and Wine, to go service AND table service at Le Cellier any time of the year. The line is ALWAYS super long and usually a bit of a wait.
My Advice: Skip This
Ice Wine: I am a HUGE FAN of Ice Wine. I had it for the first time many years ago at Food and Wine Festival. I make this a priority stop every year! The grapes for Ice Wine are only picked once a year, within a few hours from a special harvest of frozen to the vine grapes! It is a sweet dessert wine that is always such a treat no matter when you drink it!!!
My Advice: Sip on This
Assorted Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Cups: I feel silly putting this on the list but I have to let you know! Seriously, head to Publix and pick your own flavors and enjoy them for breakfast! I am a huge Greek Yogurt fan but, who needs to wait in line and bay 3.00 for yogurt… lol. I would sing a different song if they had fresh made Greek Yogurt however.
My Advice: Skip This
Ravioli di Formaggio All’emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli) : This is always a top seller and there is always a long line to sample this. After Food and Wine 2 years ago, Epcot set up an Italy booth just on the outside of the country where you could purchase this dish year round since it was such a popular and huge hit. This portion for Food and Wine is a bit smaller then the regular season portion so it isn’t really worth the bang for your buck!
My Advice: Skip This
Kefta Pocket: This is an item that they do sell in Tangerine Cafe but this is a smaller portion at a much smaller price without the sides. The Seasoned beef is always flavorful and it is put in a Pita Pocket! One of my favorite choices for lunch so this is the perfect size if you want to try something new!
My Advice: Snack on This
Kielbasa & Potato Pirogi with Caramelized Onions: My husband and I are HUGE Pirogi fans.. we eat them at least twice a month. I am convinced that the Pirogi that they serve are the same ones we buy at Walmart. They tend to be over boiled and very floppy, served with a small slice of boiled kielbasa, a mickey head squirt of sour cream and a few floppy onions on top. Save your self the time, make them at home!
My Advice: Skip This
Singapore Sling: This is a concoction of Gin, Fresh Pineapple Juice, Cherry Juice and Soda Water. If you are ready for a strong and sweet beverage then grab this! Our recommendation is to ask for a cup of ice and pour your beverage over the ice to cut down on the strength.
My Advice: Sip On This
These are just some of my notes. Please feel free to sip and snack and skip what you want. I am lucky enough to get to go to Food and Wine multiple times each year so I can be a bit picky when ti comes to what I want to spend my money on each year. Please Keep on the look out for some of our Favorites and some of our Not so Favorites in the coming weeks! Make sure you follow us around on Twitter to see what new Favorites we may have!!!
Beth went to the preview of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival yesterday, and here are some of the pictures that she tweeted!
And now here are some Quick Bites to keep in mind as you are going around the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Now these Quick Bites are extremely honest, and we have also included links to our friends over at The Disney Food Blog since they have AMAZING coverage of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for a different perspective and beautiful pictures!
* Beef Empanada – I tried this last year, but didn’t like it. It was the only thing that I actually threw out.
* Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée – I loved this. It was one of my favorite things at the festival.
* Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze – This is always good, but I’m not sure it is worth the cost. I would love to try to make it at home.
*Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies – Yum! I don’t recall the potato crunchies in previous years, but I can’t wait to try them.
* Steamed Mussels in Hoegaarden Beer Broth and Baguette – This is a festival favorite. I’ve always enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
* Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – So good! People wait in the long lines for this dish alone!
* Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles – Last year this was only 2 truffles per package. It wasn’t an expensive item and the prices were probably on par with high-end chocolate like Godiva, but I don’t think I’d spend my money on it.
* Hoegaarden – My personal favorite beer in Belgium (though not my favorite of all Belgian beers).
* Leffe Brune – This is a new one beer this year.
* Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Iced Coffee – Always delicious, but a very small serving.
* Altenmünster Oktoberfest – This is also available in the Germany marketplace and in the WS pavillion.
* Altenmünster Dunkel – This beer was so popular last year that it sold out with more than 2 weeks left in the festival.
* Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup – This is always a top seller, but I personally don’t care for it.
* Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and “Minus 8″ Onion Jam – I loved this last year. Officially, it doesn’t have a pairing, but I would recommend Niege (apple ice wine) with it.
** Neige Bubble – This actually won’t be at the festival because of a tornado at the orchard.**
* Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread – I love cheese, but I didn’t really like this one last year.
* Trio of Artisan Cheeses: Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar, La Bonne Vie Goat Brie and Rogue River Creamery Echo Mountain Blue Cheese – These are new cheeses in this selection this year.
*Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage – this was only okay. I don’t think I’d spend the money on it.
* Linda Bean’s® Perfect Maine Lobster Roll® – being a native New Englander, I was skeptical about this dish, but it turns about be delicious. Save your snack credits for this!
* Pumpkin Mousse with Craisins and Orange Sauce – the spices on this were delicious. Just like pumpkin pudding.
* Angry Orchard Cider – OMG. This is delicious. I must have more of it!
* Ravioli di Formaggio All’emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli, Creamy Beef Bolognese, Parmesan, Mozzarella) – popular, but I don’t really like it.
* Cannoli al Cioccolato (Chocolate-Covered Cannoli filled with Ricotta, Chocolate, Candied Fruit) – drooling just thinking about this!
On Saturday, July 28th, from 6:30 to 9:00pm, Tables in Wonderland will be hosting an event called Taste Your Way Around the World at the Odyssey Pavilion at Epcot. This special event for Tables In Wonderland members costs $110.00 per person, not including tax, but gratuities are included.
The event is being promoted as a teaser for those who can’t wait for the fall when the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts. It is a “sneak preview” of what is to come at this year’s festival and features speakers who will be talking about what’s new this year. There is a special website setup just for this event’s registration at www.disneyurl.com/sneakpreview. This is a new process they are trying out for this event as opposed to emailing Tables in Wonderland. It will provide you will instant confirmation if you successfully register. Online registration begins on July 2 at 10:00am.
The menu for the event will feature items from around the world to include:
Florida Local: Florida Shrimp Ceviche with Fire Roasted Vegetables, Fried Plantains and Cilantro
Florida Local: White Corn Arepa with Mangalista Pork Rilette and Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad
New Zealand: Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney
Scandinavia: Iron Horse Fairytale Cuvee
Poland: Frozen Belvedere Lemon Apple “Tea”
Singapore: Marques de Caceres Satinela
Terra: Chili Colorado with House made Chips and Cashew Cheese, featuring Gardein Beefless Tips
Singapore: Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and “Singa” Sauce Served with Carrots and Baby Green Beans
Canada: Mission Hill Syrah
New Zealand: :Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay
Dessert Trio From Desserts & Champange:
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranae
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel
Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote
Neige Premiere Sparkling Ice Cider
Soft Drinks, Water, Coffee, Tea
Italicized menu items indicate alcoholic beverages
This event is limited to the first 150 guests and park admission is NOT required. Each Tables in Wonderland member may register for up to ten guests including themself. You must have first and last names for each guest in your party, your TiW ticket number, mailing address, phone number, email address, credit card billing information, and any food allergy information at the time of registration. It is also suggested that you use a personal email address to register with as many company emails will filter the confirmation email as spam.
As are many people, I am a HUGE fan of Samantha Brown (@samanthabrown) from the Travel Channel. I remember the first time I ever saw her on tv. I was at my friend Suzanne’s house and she just happened to have the tv on the Travel Channel as background noise while I was visiting with her and her triplets. An episode of Great Hotels came on, the one about the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago (yes, I even remember which episode it was from a over a decade ago), and I was instantly captivated. There was just something about Sam (as she often refers to herself, making her immediately more accessible) that sucked you in. It is a certain je ne sais quoi, but I will try to articulate. She reminds me slightly of my best friend in that she is very approachable and friendly. Sam has an affable quality and isn’t afraid to laugh at herself or others when the situation warrants. She doesn’t mind making a fool of herself and likes to have a good time. On tv, she appears to be about one of the most down to earth people that you just want to be friends with, and she is in person too. I know because I had the pleasure of meeting her in the fall of 2010. And it all happened through the magic of twitter.
So Sam was one of the first celebrities I followed on twitter. I love following her globetrotting adventures as I have watching her numerous series from Great Hotels to Girl Meets Hawaii, Great Vacation Homes, Passport to Europe, Latin America and China, as well as all of her specials on the Travel Channel. I still think the Great Hotels series is my favorite since she visited WDW on more than one occasion to cover episodes on the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge. On top of this Sam has had more than a handful of Disney specials and continues to work with Disney on a regular basis cover the launches of the new cruise ships, Aulani and co-hosting the Disney Parks Christmas Parade in 2011. She is very endearing and can talk to just about anyone.
Anyways, I would tweet her every once in a while and never got a response until I realized that my account was set to private and she couldn’t see my tweets since she doesn’t follow me. Then, one day, after my friend Mary Jo Collins (@mojodisney) got a response from her, I decided to tweet Sam. Amazingly I got a reply! I couldn’t believe it. I was actually interacting with my favorite tv personality. I was in seventh heaven. Of course, I didn’t just let it go at a simple one time chance tweet, so I continued to tweet with Sam every so often and then, it happened. She confirmed she was coming to Disney World to film for a special. Here is how the conversation went:
So that is how it all came about. Through the wonders of social media I was able to meet one of the coolest and nicest people. For her to take time to say hi to me from her busy shooting schedule for the filming of the special Best Places I’ve Ever Been: Disney Memories, was completely amazing. Sam was very gracious and did keep me posted, just like she said she would. As she was escorted in by Cast Members and producers, a line quickly formed in the UK to meet her. I had been hanging out with one of my twitter friends, Susan (@marypoppins68), whom I had just met merely minutes before, when I got the message and we headed to the UK. If it weren’t for Susan, I wouldn’t have the awesome picture of me and Sam because I couldn’t get my silly blackberry to stop tweeting to be able to take a picture. I was next in line and then the CMs tried to whisk Sam away, but I protested (politely) telling Sam that I was @floridamingo with whom she had been tweeting. Immediately, Sam said to the CMs that she had a few minutes and insisted on getting a picture with me and we spoke for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe she did that just for me! After we met, she did have to get back to work and I snapped a few pictures of the filming. When she and her friend were on a break I approached Sam again and mentioned a few drinks she might like since it was during the International Food & Wine Festival and we all know she occasionally enjoys an adult beverage. She seemed to appreciate the tip and I went on my merry way with my mission accomplished.
I set out to meet Samantha Brown and I did just that. Despite the fact that I had two other trips planned for later that month, I booked a trip just for this opportunity. No, I’m not a stalker, I swear, but I really appreciate producing quality entertainment that is also somewhat educational and lets the rest of us live vicariously through it. It was an awesome experience and I actually spoke with Sam on another occasion as a call in guest during a fundraiser by the Be Our Guest Podcast crew. To be able to speak with her again was very cool and she even seemed to remember me (or at least pretended for my sake). For someone to put forth that effort for there fans is rare and I respect how gracious and friendly Sam was during both our in person and phone conversations. I can’t wait to see the next series or special that she has coming up as well as her continued association with Disney.
Here is a link to the special Sam filmed that day. She is up first so don’t be scared by the length:
The Eat to the Beat concert series is a super cool bonus to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
The concerts take place at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot’s World Showcase, and the cost is included with your admission to the park. There are concerts at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
I went to my first Eat to the Beat Concert, and it was AWESOME! I can’t believe that we have skipped this during our multiple trips to Epcot during the International Food & Wine Festival. I was stoked to see Sugar Ray with Shalon, Emily, and Tom!
It was a great concert! He played all of the hits you’d expect, some you didn’t (They loved the “Play Mean Machine” signs that Shalon made…WOOT WOOT!), and then threw in a few fun extras!
I absolutely suggest going early to get a great place in line. We got there 45 minutes early, and were given a ticket to turn in that allowed us to go in early to grab some great seats. We were able to hold some seats around us, but you can’t hold up too much space. And finally, be prepared to dance and have fun!
The remaining concert line-up* for Eat to the Beat is…
The Orchestra starring former members of ELO (“Don’t Bring Me Down”): 10/20-21/11
Howard Jones (“No One is to Blame”): 10/22-23/11
Boyz II Men (“End of the Road”): 10/24-26/11
Gin Blossoms (“Hey Jealousy”): 10/27-28/11
Sister Hazel (“All for You”): 10/29-30/11
Hanson (“Give a Little”): 10/31-11/1/11
The Pointer Sisters (“He’s so Shy”): 11/2-3/11
Night Ranger (“Sister Christian”) : 11/4-6/11
Air Supply (“Lost in Love”): 11/7-8/11
Richard Marx (“Right Here Waiting”): 11/9-10/11
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Go Daddy-O”): 11/11-13/11
*= The songs I listed are for recognition and not necessarily what they will play.
I know that Sugar Ray won’t be my last Eat to the Beat concert, and I hope to see you there!!!