The crux of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is, without a doubt, the food and wine mentioned in the marquee. Peppered along the World Showcase Promenade are the kiosks of the Marketplace. The 20+ stands invite guests to sample cuisines from all corners of six continents. Each year offers something new to try, and 2010 will be no different with the additions of South Korea, Belgium, and Singapore, but also offers up familiar flavors, with nine representatives (Japan, France, Poland, Mexico, United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom) having attended every single incarnation of the festival.
In addition to the sampling plates and glasses of adult beverages, of which 1,200,000 plates are used, 600,000 forks, and 33,000 bottles of wine, there are a plethora of other dining experiences not to be missed. From Tequila Tastings and Sweet Sundays filled with the best in pastry, to Party For the Senses and Culinary Adventures, there are a broad range of dining events to fit ever palate and budget.
Once guests can look up from their plates, there is a whole new world of experiences to entice the other senses. For starters, there are educational workshops, tours, and seminars to indulge in that are hosted by some of the brightest gastronomical minds in the world. Often times found in the Festival Center, otherwise known as the former Wonders of Life pavilion, this domed space also provides shopping space for cookware, art, wines, and culinary books, often times with an author or two on hand.
As night settles around the World Showcase Promenade, the atmosphere begins to heat up and what had been a banquet of scents and tastes during the day morphs into a feast for the ears as the Eat to the Beat concert series takes to the stage in the American Gardens Theatre. Artist like Vanessa Carlton, Billy Ocean, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and En Vogue are all able to top off an amazing evening. During the 2010 festival, the night will be more alive than ever as the inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon takes place on October 2nd.
Returning back to the food at hand, there are a variety of dishes that can be found throughout the Marketplace. While not every booth will be a smash hit, there are a few items that are immediate rock stars. Such items include the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie (found in the Cork kiosk) that takes what the sea will give and turns it into a warm trip down memory lane into guests’ own family kitchens, Kefta (from Marrakesh) that is the epitome of savory, portable street foods, or even the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (found under the Montreal banner, but also a staple of Le Cellier) which is a fan favorite all year round.
The menu may change from one year to the next, but the emotional ties that connect us all to our foods and, undeniably, to our own friends, families, and roots, remain constant. Whether consciously or not, it is these same bonds that can be found the world over and which we share with one another during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
Now that we've tasted what the international marketplace has to offer, head on over to The Disney Food Blog and see the worlds of flavor offered up by the microcosm that is California and
Next week we will conclude our series of dining in Disneyland and Walt Disney World with AJ of