After taking a week and a half off from eating everything in sight at the 2oth Annual Epcot International Food And Wine Festival, I decided it was time to make a return trip to sample some more foods that I wasn’t able to during my first excursion. I used this opportunity to visit more of the actual countries in an attempt to fill my Passport instead of trying different dishes at kisoks that I’ve already been to. I’d rather try something different than something similar.
One of the constants I’ve heard this year was that the Canada kisoks Wild Mushroom Filet Mignon with Truff Butter from Le Cellier was by far the winner of the Food And Wine Fest. It also weighs in as one of the most expensive items as well (in keeping with that Le Cellier tradition). But with a full Disney Gift Card and an empty stomach (and since the line for Scotland was extremely long to start at) I headed into the great white north to sample this lauded beef.
At first bite I knew I was going to love every following taste. The beef was tender (as a cut of filet mignon it’s already in the sweet spot) and cooked to perfection, and the truffle butter sauce was an amazing addition. While it stood as quite salty on it’s own, when eaten with the beef it was a fantastic compliment. Though I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms (it’s a texture thing) I am starting to warm up to eating them in dishes, so these hit every note of what I expect so far from a mushroom with an earthy taste and chewy texture, not some thing I would eat on their own but when paired with the beef and the truffle butter it provided a nice grounding flavor.
Wanting to try something a little different when heading through the United Kingdom pavillion I stopped at the Ireland kisok and selected the Irish Cheese Selection Plate. Carrying and Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Irish Porter as well as some bread and a sweet fruit compote. The first one sampled was the Dubliner, which I found rather like a cheddar. There was a nice sharpness to it and just a little bit of a drier texture, but it was so similar to a cheddar that I originally thought that it was until I tried the actual cheddar and felt the softer difference in texture and a little more sharp bite. The standout was the Irish Porter as it was a cheese I’d never had before. Made from milk and Guiness Porter, the cheese was very soft and had a nice sweetness from the porter that it was combined with.
While the soda bread and compote were a nice inclusion in making this more like an actual cheese platter, the fruit was much too sweet and I only ate about half of my portion, and actually used the bread to eat the fruit with to cut the sweetness down.
Passing through France my next stop was the Brazil kisok as I heard good things about the offerings there. After a little bit of deliberation I decided to go with the “Little Hidden One” or Escandidinho de Carne, a layered meat pie with mashed yucca. I’ve always been a fan of Shepard’s Pie and when I read the description of the pie I figured this would be right up my alley, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Yucca is very much similar to a yellow potato, with a good little sweetness that you don’t get from your normal white potato while not as on the far sweetness as a yam. Meanwhile the ground beef was a little more spiced and played nice against the mashed yucca. A very tasty dish that’s not too alien for someone that’s a little scared of foriegn foods.
Holding a kiosk in it’s own pavillion Morocco was the next stop on the trek around World Showcase. After having two dishes that were both beef heavy, chicken seemed like a good alternative with the Harissa Chicken Roll. Very similar to a taquito, the dish was a lightly fried roll with spiced shredded chicken and veggies inside. What separates this from the aforementioned food is the use of Moroccan spices which tend to be a little bit sweeter usually while still holding some spice. But being flavorful and light makes this a good alternative to some of the heavier foods at the Festival.
Since I skipped Germany on my first visit to sample both Poland and the Brewer’s Collection, I decided now was the time to give it a shot, and ordered the Schinkennudeln, a pasta gratin with ham and cheese. I wasn’t prepared for the brick of food I was about to recieve.
A sort of casserole the dish was rich with lots and lots of cheese with some pockets of cured ham inside, and while it was incredibly dense and probably not something I would eat out in the hot Florida sun again, I think this would be an amazing cold winter day food. You really can’t go wrong with pasta and cheese baked together, but this was something I couldn’t eat a lot of due to that heaviness.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to try but always a little scared of: haggis. But when I saw it was available at the Scotland kisok I figured Disney haggis would be safer and better than any other. For those that aren’t aware, haggis is traditionally sheep innards cooked with oatmeal, and onions inside a natural or artificial casing. Served with the tradtional Neeps and Tatties (or mashed rutabaga and mashed potatoes) this was the only dish I was a little worried about, and not for any reason besides haggis has been so reviled that it has a little bit of an image problem.
But I’m adventurous and wanted to do it, and I have to say I was pretty surprised. I really enjoyed it and excuse the poor comparisson, but it reminded me of cheap corned beef hash from a can. The texture was a little strange as the dish wouldn’t hold any sort of form but I enjoyed the haggis more than the rutabaga and potatoes. Is it something I’d try again? Yes, depending on where I was and if I felt the establishment was trustworthy (like Disney), but ultimately it wasn’t my least favorite thing at the Festival.
I also had a chance to sample the Fresh Potato Pancake with Scottish Smoked Salmon and Herb Sour Cream, which was very good as well. Much lighter than I expected, mostly because I assumed the potato pancake would be more like a latke, not the thinner fluffy hash brown style it was. The salmon was cut extremely thin and had a nice smoke to it that was balanced out by the pancake as well as the little sweetnedd from the sour cream drizzle on top.
Some of the big news for this years Food And Wine Festival was that for the first time in it’s 20 year history, the event was going to be expanding it’s footprint into Future World with the Next Eats area. Home to two kisoks brought to Epcot in conjuction with ABC’s cooking talk show The Chew, both would feature dishes sourced from sustainable goods and use cutting edge kitchen technology in their preparation.
The first of these new kisoks I visited was the Sustainable Chew for the Pork Sparerib with Red Wine, Fennel, Mascarpone Grits. While I enjoyed the grits (because honestly it’s something that I never eat), I found the spareribs lacking. more bone than meat in the portion didn’t give me the best sampling but from what I gathered it was just pork. Nothing really standout about it.
The second of the new Chew kisoks didn’t fare much better. Selecting the Olive Oil-poached Salmon with Corn, Bacon and Pepper Jam, I was also a little let down. The salmon was good but no different from any other piece of salmon cooked well, or even the salmon atop the Scottish potato pancake. The corn and bacon pepper jam was delicious but not enough to raise the dish as a whole to something the level of the filet mignon from Canada.
Fab Five Dishes From Food And Wine Fest 2015 – Part 2
5. Morocco – Harissa Chicken Roll
4. Scotland – Fresh Potato Pancake with Scottish Smoked Salmon and Herb Sour Cream
3. Germany – Schinkennudeln
2. Brazil – Escondidinho de Carne “Little Hidden One”
1. Canada – “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce
So what have you had at the Food And Wine Festival? Is there anything I missed out on that I need to check out? Was I just wrong with one of my reviews? Let me know at email@example.com and don’t forget about Part 1 right here and look forward to Part 3 coming soon!