We’re counting down the days to Aug. 31 and the opening of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. And with 75 days this year, there’s plenty of time to sip and taste your way through the 35 Marketplaces circling World Showcase Lagoon and stretching into Future World.
Still, the sheer amount of food and drink can be overwhelming, so we’ll give you a head start by sharing our favorites from the multiple chef tastings of new dishes and from working on the new cookbook for this year’s festival.
In no special order, here are nine new tastes that we recommend not missing at this year’s festival:
1. Crispy Chicken with Griddled Cornbread and Red-Eye Gravy at the Farm Fresh Marketplace is the trifecta of Southern cooking.
2. Sounds kooky, but the Teriyaki-glazed SPAM® Hash with Potatoes, Peppers, Onions and Spicy Mayonnaise is a winner in the Hawai’i Marketplace.
3. The Bougatsa at the Greece Marketplace is ethereal: warm phyllo strudel with sweet vanilla custard, lemon honey syrup and cinnamon. East dessert first!
4. The Madras Red Curry with Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Chickpeas, and Basmati Rice in the India Marketplace is vegetarian, gluten friendly and delicious.
5. Spain Marketplace gives us the perfect carry-around nibble: Charcuterie in a Cone with a selection of imported Spanish meats, cheeses and olives with an herb vinaigrette.
6. Spain gave us another new favorite, the Sweet Olive Oil Cake with Powdered Sugar and Lemon Curd. Sublime.
7. If you love the Cheddar Cheese soup at Le Cellier, the Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread at the Ireland Marketplace will make you happy. Nicely pairs with the new Guinness Blonde American Lager.
8. We’re fans of the Cauliflower Risotto with Pulled Chicken, Artichokes, Spinach, Parmesan Cheese and Aged Balsamic at the new Almond Orchard Hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. (They’re also pouring Dom Pérignon and Vueve Cliquot at this Marketplace.)
9. Scallop fans will love the Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn and Butterbean Succotash and Chili-chipotle Butter Sauce at the new Coastal Eats Marketplace. They’re pairing the dish with a nice pinot gris from Oregon.
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival dates are Aug. 31- Nov. 13. The Party for the Senses grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at EpcotFoodFestival.com.