The food served at the World Showcase pavilions is a large part of Epcot’s appeal. Visitors are often as excited about dining at the Disney World park’s Le Cellier Steakhouse and Restaurant Marrakesh as they are about riding Test Track and Spaceship Earth. Epcot, therefore, is a natural setting for the resort’s International Food & Wine Festival, which runs through November 13.
Now in its 22nd year, the festival has added features and booths (or “marketplaces” in Disney-speak) and extended its schedule to 75 days. What began as a way to boost attendance during the quieter fall shoulder season has grown into an enormously popular and grand-scale event. This year, there are 35 kiosks serving over 200 items, which can be purchased a la carte. Disney also offers an eight-item tasting sampler voucher. Although the sampler is convenient, it’s generally less expensive to pay as you go.
The booths represent most of the park’s country pavilions such as France and Japan, as well as many visiting nations and regions including New Zealand, Patagonia, and Belgium. There are also specialty marketplaces such as The Almond Orchard and Flavors from Fire, which features items that are muy picante.
Each booth typically offers three small dishes, a dessert, and a few wines or beers. The Spain market, for example, is serving a tasty seafood salad with mussels, scallops, and shrimp in a smoky vinaigrette. Other choices include paella as well as Spanish cheeses, meats, and olives that the festival is calling “Charcuterie in a Cone.”
Spain’s sweet offering is olive oil cake. During my culinary adventure at Epcot, I found that the dollop of lemon curd served with the dessert…