The 22nd annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is going on now from August 31 to November 13, 2017. To celebrate Epcot’s 35the anniversary there are a record 35 Food Marketplaces! So many booths in fact, that many are located in Future World for the first time this year.
Having already visited the festival twice, on opening day and again during week two, we’ve sampled foods and beverages from around 20 marketplaces so far. We loved everything we tried at both Hawai’i and Hops & Barley. We were really disappointed in Farm Fresh. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back for another go before the event ends. In the meantime, you can read all of our thoughts on what we tried below (about halfway through this post.)
Check out the video below as well as our food reviews from more than twenty booths below. There’s also lots of photos of this year’s merchandise (FIGMENT!) and the new Legacy Showplace, celebrating Epcot’s 35th anniversary. If you’re looking for the full food menu and Eat to the Beat concert lineup, check out our complete festival guide!
FESTIVAL CENTER AND MERCHANDISE
The Festival Center is located in Future World to the left of Mission: SPACE. It’s your first stop for festival info, merchandise, cooking seminars, and more. You can also get a free sample of chocolate and passholders can pick up their free button here. I especially love checking out all the chocolate sculptures at the Ghirardelli exhibit.
Check out this video for a good look at all of this year’s merchandise.
Legacy Showplace, located in the old Odyssey restaurant building, is a tribute to Epcot’s 35 years that’s going on during the event. It shows off the past, present and future of this beloved theme park. There’s a big screen showing off construction photos from early Epcot, music is playing from various attractions (including many closed rides like Horizons,) and there are two small exhibits: one for Future World and the other for World Showcase.
FOOD MARKETPLACES – FUTURE WORLD
With so many marketplaces this year they not only surround World Showcase, but they also spill into Future World West. There are a few different areas each with their own theming and style. Next Eats is located between Imagination pavilion and Club Cool. I like the modern and art deco style designs for the food booths here.
Coastal Eats – Seared Scallops were incredibly disappointing.The scallops were soggy, maybe they were in a hurry, but hardly any sear. And the “Roasted Corn and Butterbean Succotash” it’s served with was lackluster. Baked Shrimp Scampi Dip was much better. Lots of shrimp in my serving and good garlic scampi flavor.
Coastal Eats – Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw was okay. I don’t think I’ll be getting it again though. Mostly just lump crab and no real cake to speak of. Kind of felt like I was eating shredded crab meat straight out of a can. But the Avocado Lemongrass Cream on top was yummy. I would suggest getting the shrimp and scallop cake from Thailand instead as it has much better flavors.
Earth Eats – Grilled Beef Skewer had an okay taste, but ours was really overcooked. Maybe sat too long under heat lamps or just cooked too long, but it was chewy. (Talk about Inspired by The Chew, amiright?) Romaine, Apricots, and Feta Cheese it is served with don’t form a cohesive salad and lettuce was warm and soggy by the time we ate it from sitting under the meat.
Flavors from Fire – Piggy Wings were yummy and I like that you can eat them like a chicken wing. The sauce was not all spicy, but was pretty good. I would say closer to a teriyaki than Korean barbecue flavor though.
Check out this video for a better look inside Light Lab.
Light Lab – T=C2 is all I ordered from this unique booth, and it was just plain awful tasting. It’s made from melted cotton candy and tonic water. It was cool to watch them make it, and it came with an awesome Epcot logo swizzle stick (that I totally kept as a souvenir,) but tasted like terrible cough syrup. At least the ambience is neat and the area is air conditioned.
The Chocolate Studio – Sweet Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte was delicious and decadent. I’m a fan of chocolate and raspberry flavors so I loved it, (but the raspberry flavor is strong so skip if you’re not a fan of that.)
The Wine & Dine Studio – Seared Scallops with Truffled Celery Root Purée is really good if you like seafood. There’s a good sear on the scallops (unlike the ones from Coastal Eats I had.) And the celery root puree was surprisingly yummy. Has a lot of wild mushrooms, which I love, but if you’re not a fan I would ask for it without them.
FOOD MARKETPLACES – WORLD SHOWCASE
With lots of returning favorites and a few marketplaces returning after being absent for a few years, World Showcase is loaded with a ton of options. We were big fans of Hawai’i, Thailand, and Hops & Barley at The American Adventure. Some of the booths look pretty cool too. The set up for Islands of the Caribbean has some great scenery including two small rockwork waterfalls.
Islands of the Caribbean – Mojo Pork with Black Beans and Cilantro Rice was pretty good (not pictured.) Had a good citrus flavor, but maybe could use a little seasoning. Rice and beans were okay. It was an okay dish all around and the included pickled red onions were a nice touch.
Hawai’i – Teriyaki-glazed SPAM Hash was pretty awesome with delicious potatoes and roasted peppers. Good flavors and big portion. And no, I don’t normally like SPAM, but even that tasted pretty good in this dish. Kalua Pork Slider was probably Jenn’s favorite dish of the day. Although, she will order it without spicy mayo next time as it detracts from the pineapple chutney (I like it with the mayo personally.) Passion Fruit Cheesecake was tasty, especially with the passion fruit stuff in each bite. A little soft for cheesecake, and maybe not the best dessert for a hot day. All great foods though.
Thailand – Seared Shrimp and Scallop Cake was one of, if not the best, thing I had so far. It’s seared, kind of spicy, and has big chunks of shrimp and scallop in it. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the flavor of the cold noodles it comes with, but I will get it again just for the cake part alone. Marinated Chicken with Peanut Sauce was really good too and I really enjoyed the stir-fry veggies it’s served with.
Farm Fresh – Crispy Chicken with Griddled Cornbread was the biggest disappointment of the day. We had high hopes for it I guess. The gravy is fine, tastes like sausage gravy. The cornbread was actually decent. But the chicken was a hard brick. Really unfortunate. Roasted Beet Salad with Green Beans wasn’t much better. I kind of liked the cold raw green beans in the vinaigrette, but besides that it was just a lot of cold squishy beets. Did not taste Roasted as the name suggested. The toasted walnuts were good at least.
Australia – Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp was really good and actually quite spicy. The Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas it comes with weren’t really worth eating though, all kind of mushed together. Worth it for the shrimp.
Australia – Lamington Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut, seen here cut open, was a pretty decent dessert. If you like coconut you’ll love it. Ours came out really cold, which on a hot day was just what I needed to cool off.
Canada – Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup is always touted by everyone as the best thing at the festival, but honestly I didn’t like it. Tasted more like fondue cheese than soup. The Pretzel Roll it comes with was awesome though. Our “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon wasn’t very good. Was pretty rare, which isn’t that bad for me, but also had a lot of tendons running through it, so was very tough to eat. Jenn didn’t like the Truffle-Butter Sauce taste either. I may give it another shot because I think it was mainly the cut we got that wasn’t great.
Ireland – Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip was really tasty. Kinda wish we had the Pretzel Roll from Canada to dip in it. After the Brown Bread it comes with ran out, I ate the rest like soup. Very tasty. Warm Chocolate Pudding was awesome. Our favorite dessert so far.
Ireland – Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard is our favorite dessert so far, seen here after we cut it open. It’s pretty much a molten lava chocolate cake covered in a cream that taste like Baileys. Really good chocolate flavor and molten texture.
France – Boeuf Bourguignon was okay. I like wine cooked foods so it had a good taste, but wasn’t anything too special. Mashed potatoes were kinda plain, but were fine with the sauce mixed in.
Hops & Barley at American Adventure – New England Lobster Roll was jam-packed with so much lobster I had to eat some with my fork before I could take a bite of the sandwich. I liked that it uses a butter sauce rather than mayonnaise. But wish it had some butter on top as it only came on the bread. Bread was warm and toasty too, which was a nice touch. You better like lobster, cause this comes with a lot of it!
Hops & Barley at American Adventure – In addition to the Lobster Roll, the Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese was really good too. We liked this more than the Burnt Ends Hash from the last festival. The Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing was good also. We had to take a break from food for an hour after this feast.
Spain – Charcuterie in a Cone looks really cool, but I wasn’t a fan of the flavors of the cubed meats. Cheeses, olives, and the thin meats were great, but cubed ones tasted like a chorizo sausage or something with an odd flavor. My opinion anyway. Sweet Olive Oil Cake was pretty plain, but was really good if you have a bite with the Lemon Curd at the same time. I like plain cake so I ate most of it, but Jenn was not impressed.
Brewer’s Collection at Germany – I had to try the Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate Beer because I am such a big fan of the Grapefruit Beer. It was okay tasting. Not nearly as good as the Grapefruit, but still just as easy to drink, so that’s nice.
India – Warm Indian Bread has a nice presentation. Jenn had never had naan, and she really liked the bread, but none of the sauces. I ate all of the Mango Salsa which was awesome. The Pickled Garlic was way too garlicky, like raw garlic, so I couldn’t eat more than a tiny taste and the Coriander Pesto Dip had kind of curry flavor I didn’t like. It’s still a fun thing to order and have everyone in your group taste the different dips. Mango Lassi (Non-Alcoholic) was a good drink, but more creamy, like milk, than I was expecting. It’s pretty much a mango smoothie and I liked it.
REMY’S HIDE & SQUEAK SCAVENGER HUNT AND MORE FUN
Unfortunately when we went to play Remy’s Hide and Squeak all of the items to find on the scavenger hunt had been moved indoors for the hurricane. Even though a few days had passed, they still hadn’t taken them back out to their actual locations. This made the game a bit tougher, but we still had fun. The hardest ones to find were in Future World, where instead of being near the food booths some were found in buildings that were pretty far away.
In addition to these cute keychains, another good souvenir we got were all the free pins for Annual Passholders. Not only can you pick up a big button from the Festival Center, but each of the booths in Future World offer passholders a small pin with every purchase.
Festival time at Epcot is the best time. I hope you enjoyed our coverage of this year’s event. I can’t wait to go back and sample some more yummy food and drinks, and with the festival running until November 13, 2017, there’s still lots of time. Be sure to watch the video for even more food booths, the Light Lab, and more. Stay tuned for more theme park news and events coverage!
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