One of the most popular festivals held at Walt Disney World is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival held in the fall. However, right now through May 30, 2016, Epcot is playing host to the International Flower & Garden Festival.
Besides garden after garden of meticulously arranged flowers, plants, and Disney character topiaries in the World Showcase, outdoor kitchens at each country have popped-up serving delectable bites that we’ve been sampling each weekend since the festival opened.
The small plates are priced around an average of $5 and are the perfect size for one person. By going from outdoor kitchen to outdoor kitchen one can quickly make a lunch or dinner out of country-hopping.
Of course, no light bite would be complete without a refreshing beverage to go along with it and there are just as many of those to choose from – both alcoholic and non.
Here’s a run down of what each country is offering along with our thoughts on what we have sampled so far:
Sunshine Seasons (inside The Land):
- Oak-grilled Vegetable Flatbread
- Tomato & Cucumber Salad
Urban Farm Eats (near the World Showcase Promenade):
- Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, B&W Gourmet Farms Baby Arugula, Feta and Balsamic Reduction
- REVIEW: Definitely worth trying! If you’re looking for something light and refreshing after walking around Epcot, give this salad a try. Very tasty and recommended.
- Vegetable and White Bean “Naanwich” with Arugula Pesto and Oven-dried Tomatoes featuring Seeds of Change® Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice
- Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragoût, Spring Vegetables and Marble Potatoes
- REVIEW: Pork was tender, the vegetables and potatoes were cooked perfectly and the sauce was good. Only regret was there wasn’t enough for two to share.
Pineapple Promenade (near the World Showcase Promenade):
- Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Taro Chips
- Pineapple Soft-serve
La Isla Fresca (near the World Showcase Promenade):
- Jerk-spice Grouper or Chicken with Mango Salsa, Chayote and Green Papaya Slaw with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
- REVIEW: We had the chicken – the portion was a good size to share, the mix of spice was very tasty and not overwhelming and the char from the grill added some extra flavor. Recommended!
- Jamaican-braised Beef with Pigeon Pea Rice and Micro Cilantro
- REVIEW: Another hit at this pop-up. Beef was well seasoned and oh, so tender! No knife was needed and it melted in your mouth. Not enough to share here tho. Recommended!
- Tres Leches with Guava Purée
Jardin de Fiesta – Mexico:
- Tacos de Camarón– Tempura Shrimp served with Hibiscus Flower, Caramelized Onions and Habanero Sauce
- REVIEW: The taco was a bit on the spicy side and the shrimp were not very crispy. The tortilla was much bigger than what was inside the taco.
- Corn Tortilla Quesadilla served with Roasted Mushrooms and Zucchini Blossom topped with Green Tomatillo Sauce
- Flan de Rosas served with Hibiscus Reduction
Lotus House – China:
- Gaoli Beef Bun
- REVIEW: So good, we went back for more! Plenty of beef and just as much flavor. Just the right size for one person to enjoy. Bottles of sriracha sauce are on the counter should you want to kick up the heat a little bit. Recommended!
- Beijing-style Candied Strawberries
- REVIEW: While the Beef Buns are a favorite at this stand, the strawberries are the runner-up. The crisp sugarary shell does break off as soon as you bite into them, but they are still sweet and juicy.
- Vegetable Spring Roll with Orange Sauce
Bauernmarket – Germany:
- Currywurst with Paprika Chips
- REVIEW: The brat lacked any flavor. As my dining companion said, “it tastes like tofu.” The lack of any flavor made the dish very bland. The only redeeming quality was the paprika chips and the sauce that went along with them. My recommendation? Go order a brat with sauerkraut from the Biergarden instead.
- Chicken Fricassee with Green Asparagus and Peas served with Uncle Ben’s® Rice Pilaf
- REVIEW: The chicken was shredded and got lost in the rice and sauce. Had there been more chicken the dish may have been better, but it was not.
- “Armer Ritter” Egg Battered Toast with Cherry Compote and Powdered Sugar
Primavera Kitchen – Italy:
- Pollo ala Parmigiana – Breaded Breast of Chicken, Tomato, Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese
- REVIEW: The chicken was a bit rubbery, the breading lacked flavor and was bland, the sauce and cheese didn’t do much to liven up this dish.
- Mezze Lune Primavera – Egg Pasta stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach in a Creamy Sauce with Spring Vegetables and Pecorino Cheese
- REVIEW: Think vegetable lasagna. It is a heavy dish so be prepared to share. Lots of cheese and flavor, but like I said, it’s a heavy dish so unless it’s your first, find friends to share it with otherwise you may not have room for anything else. Side note, the presentation makes you think it’s a microwave dinner – that could be improved upon.
- Cremoso al Pistacchio – Pistacchio Cream, Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream
- REVIEW: A light dessert, that may leave you wanting more!
The Smokehouse Barbecue and Brews – America:
- Pulled Pig Slider with Crispy Onions and Coleslaw
- REVIEW: A heaping helping of pork topped with the onions and slaw made for a great slider, however there was way too much bun.
- Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad
- REVIEW: You get about two ribs per portion and we’ve had a few portions so far, and some are very meaty and some are not – but that’s how ribs are. They have an excellent smoky taste as they are smoked right there! Several BBQ sauces are available to try. Delicious!
- Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños
- REVIEW: Not my favorite dish here at The Smokehouse. The brisket was flavorful but there was too much of the cheese sauce.
- Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans
Hanami – Japan:
- Frushi – Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry and Melon Rolled with Raspberry Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream on the side
- Chicken Edamame Bun – Steamed Bun filled with Chicken and Edamame and topped with Curry Sauce
- REVIEW: There’s a lot of bread. A lot. And very little chicken. Try the Beef Bun at the China pavilion instead.
- Beef Teriyaki Udon – Thin-sliced Beef, Onions and Noodles tossed on the grill with Soy and Ginger
Taste of Marrakesh – Morocco:
- Harissa Chicken Kebab with Sweet Couscous Salad
- Falafel Pocket with Cucumber-Tomato Salad and Tahini Sauce
Florida Fresh – Between Morocco & France:
- Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds, Goat Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Shrimp and Stone-ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro
- REVIEW: A good, solid, comfort food. Three shrimp seasoned just right over a bed of grits. The only comment I have… I could not find any of the Andouille sausage! Not one piece. Did the preparation change?
- Florida Larder Board – Orlando-made Ricotta Cheese, Cahaba Farms Micro Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic, Country Pâté and House-made Pickles
Fleur De Lys – France:
- Tarte à l’Onion Alsacienne – Alsatian Onion Tart with Sautéed Onions, Fresh Thyme and Rosemary on a Flaky Puff Pastry Crust
- REVIEW: Think French Onion Soup on a tart. It was delicious with plenty of sweet onions on top of the flaky crust made this a nice dish to share.
- Cassoulet au Confit de Canard – Pulled Duck Confit with Braised Flageolet Beans
- REVIEW: I was looking forward to some duck, since it’s one of my favorite dishes… however, I was disappointed. Why? Simply put, there was little duck and a lot of beans. But what was there was very flavorful and tender and the beans weren’t all that bad either.
- Macaron Chocolat Framboise – Large Raspberry Macaron with Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry Jam
Cider House – United Kingdom:
- Land-harvested Field Greens with Apples, Dried Blueberries, Stilton Cheese and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Pear Cider-brined Shredded Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage and Pears and Branston Dressing
- REVIEW: Think St. Patrick’s Day and you pretty know what this is going to taste like. Shredded corned beef with good flavor and sweet cabbage make this a good choice and enough for two to share.
- House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare
- REVIEW: A weird combination that didn’t sit well with either of us who tried it. The biscuit was just “ok” and the salmon had a very, very strong fish flavor. We did not finish the dish.
- Freshly Baked Lemon Scone with Crème Fraîche and Mixed Berries
After putting this post together I realized we have quite a lot of “eating around the world” to do at Epcot before the festival is over! I will update the post with more pictures of the various dishes as we work our way through them all.
In the mean time, if you’re planning a visit to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, be sure to get a copy of the International Flower & Garden Festival Passport when entering Epcot, or download a copy here.