2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Final Update

The weather is finally starting to improve, so of course that means Food & Wine is nearing its end. We made our final visits this past weekend. It was our only visit of the year with nice weather. I didn’t have a single sweat stain on my shirt when I got home, can you believe it?

Today would be a mix of new items and last chance favorites. The items we enjoyed enough previously to sample again were:

Banana Almond Soft-Serve Sundae
Teriyaki-Glazed SPAM Hash
Fritto Misto
Short Rib Tostada
Piggy Wings (were horribly dry this time)
Xi’an Pancake with Beef
New England Lobster Roll
Coconut Rice Pudding
Freshly Baked Carrot Cake
Spicy Roll (Tried again because first was a bust. This one was good!)

Other than the Piggy Wings, everything lived up to its previous glory. We also tried 7 items that we had not yet tried this year. First up, New Zealand!

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2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Mexican Tequila Lunch (10-19-18)

We return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for our last special event of the year. I have wanted to attend the Mexican Tequila Lunch ever since I found out that was a thing. I love tequila, and have a decent selection on my bar at home.

The only reason it took this long to attend this event is that I don’t know anybody else that loves tequila. Kim totally hates it. So I decided that we would attend, and I would have to suffer and drink tequila for two!

The Mexican Tequila Lunch is held at La Hacienda de San Angel. The event was scheduled for 12:00 PM. And they really mean 12:00. They didn’t remove the rope blocking access to the restaurant until 12. We weren’t even allowed to sit on the benches outside. Promptly at 12, they removed the rope and escorted us inside. Once inside, you gave your name and were escorted to a table. Just like the French Family Traditions Lunch, you were assigned a table, but not a particular seat at the table.

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2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival – French Family Meal Traditions (10-7-18)

When my wife and I first began attending the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot, we didn’t even know that there were all sorts of premium experiences taking place. We were perfectly content going from booth to booth, sampling the best each country had to offer.

Then one day we stumbled across a food seminar taking place in the festival center. After that, the floodgates opened.

Kim (my wife) has always been an avid watcher of Food Network and the like. And I am an avid eater of good food. So attending some of these events was a no brainer. For a few years we attended pretty much any event that featured a celebrity chef. It wasn’t long before we added the Party for the Senses to our yearly itinerary.

Last year we attended our first regional meal. We started small, with the Parisian Breakfast. That was a hit, so this year we decided to forego the Party for the Senses and add a couple of proper regional meals.

I had always been intrigued by the Mexican Tequila Lunch, so that was the first I booked. Look for that review in a couple of weeks. After that, we had to choose between Italian and French meals. Since we eat much more Italian Food in our day to day lives, we went French.

French Family Meal Traditions
Park: Epcot
Venue: Monsieur Paul
Date: October 7, 2018
Time: 12:00 PM
Cost: $95 plus tax
Includes: Five course Meal with wine pairings

This event is held at the more upscale of Epcot’s two French restaurants, Monsieur Paul. Monsieur Paul is in the same building as Chefs de France, but on the second floor. The entrance is on the backside of the building, to the left of the entrance for L’Artisan des Glaces.

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Best Items of the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

At this point I’ve tried 65 different items from this year’s Food & Wine Festival, so I feel it’s time to rank the year’s best and worst dishes. There are still a handful of items that I’m still planning on trying for the first time. But most of these items are things I’ve been waiting for cooler weather before trying… and who knows if the weather will ever get cooler. I really don’t want to wait until November to publish these lists, as then they will be of no use to anybody.

I’ve decided to list 12 items in the best category. I’ve settled on this number because I feel that is how many items separated themselves in terms of their tastiness.

Make sure to read our list of the Worst Items of the Festival.

We’ll start at #12 (the 12th best):

The Best

#12 – Seared Scallops (Wine & Dine Studio)

Seared Scallops

This was by far the best of the two scallop preparations at this year’s festival. The scallops were large and perfectly cooked, and the puree and wild mushrooms were excellent accompaniments.

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Worst Items of the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

At this point I’ve tried 65 different items from this year’s Food & Wine Festival, so I feel it’s time to rank the year’s best and worst dishes. There are still a handful of items that I’m still planning on trying for the first time. But most of these items are things I’ve been waiting for cooler weather before trying… and who knows if the weather will ever get cooler. I really don’t want to wait until November to publish these lists, as then they will be of no use to anybody.

I’ve decided to list 9 items in the worst category. I’ve settled on this number because I feel that is how many items separated themselves in terms of their offensiveness.

I’ll try to point out any instances where I feel like the item is objectively good, and just not meant for my palate.

Let’s start with the Worst, starting at #8 (8th worst).

The Worst

#9 – Guinness Baileys Shake (Ireland)

Guinness Baileys Shake

This is one of those items that a huge Guinness fan would probably enjoy. To me it carries over the worst aspects of Guinness, without any of the good. I don’t taste the Guinness at all when it goes down, but I still get the unpleasant bitter aftertaste.

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2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Sunday Brunch with the Chef… featuring Masaharu Morimoto! (9-23-18)

Yesterday we attended our second Sunday Brunch with the Chef event of the year. You can read about our first brunch with Tiffani Thiessen here. This time the featured chef would be original Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto! We’ve seen him one time before, at his Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! event in 2016. It was one of the best chef events we’ve seen, and we’ve seen some good ones! So we were very excited to see him again.

Sunday Brunch with the Chef
Park: Epcot
Venue: World ShowPlace
Date: September 23, 2018
Time: 11:30am
Cost: $129 plus tax
Includes: Wine toast, brunch, meet & greet.

The set up was pretty much identical to the Thiessen brunch. We checked in outside of the World Showplace. They began checking people in right around 11am, at which point you are assigned a table. They opened the doors at 11:15. Today we were sitting at the Experience table. This was a much better location than we had for Thiessen, though I was still disappointed we didn’t get the front row. Our table would have one other major drawback as well… a couple brought a baby that screamed throughout pretty much the entire event. Why would you bring a baby to an event like this? At some point the dad took the baby to the back of the room, but everybody could still hear him loud and clear throughout the entire event. Not cool.

Just like last week, we had a signed photo, menu, and question card waiting for us at our place setting.

Morimoto Swag

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2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Day 7

Coming up soon I will have a post detailing the Sunday Brunch event featuring Morimoto that was held today. In the meantime, here are the festival items we tried later in the day.

Once again, I will not be fully reviewing any dishes that I’ve reviewed previously. I’ll just list them up front, with some very brief notes. The repeats from today were:

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Almond Orchard (Instead of the awesome almond thins they were served with previously, they were served with bland stale table crackers.)
Fritto Misto – Italy (Still an awesome, large portion of fried deliciousness.)
Xi’an Beef Pancake – China (This one was loaded with beef, and even better than before. It may be in my top 5 now.)
Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake – Cheese Studio (This one was room temperature, which knocks it down a peg.)

And now, the 4 new items we tried today! First up, Almond Orchard!

Almond Orchard Booth

Almond Orchard Menu

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2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Day 6

After the Toy Story Land Annual Passholder Play Time event that we attended on 9-18-18, which you can read about here, we did some Food & Wine snacking. What a shock, I know!

I’ve decided not to bore you any more by doing full reviews for items that I’ve already reviewed previously. I’ll just mention here that in addition to the items in this post, we also repeated the following dishes (anything notable will be in parenthesis):

Ropa Vieja Empanada – Islands of the Caribbean (Just as good as before.)
Coconut Rice Pudding – Mexico (Rice was softer this time.)
Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake – Cheese Studio (It was served colder this time, and as a result was even better than before!)
Frozen Mimosa – Shimmering Sips (Still can’t taste the alcohol, but it’s delicious anyway.)

So from here on out this will just be the new stuff!

First up, Islands of the Caribbean!

Caribbean Booth

Caribbean Menu

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2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Day 5 (Just a snack, really)

This post will pick up after our Sunday Brunch with Tiffani Thiessen on 9/16/18. You can read all about that here.

We weren’t quite full at the event’s conclusion, so we hit up a few Food & Wine booths to finish the job.

Stop #1 – Hawai’i

Hawai'i Booth

Hawai'i Menu

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2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Sunday Brunch with the Chef… featuring Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski!!!)

Welcome to our first special event at the the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Today has been circled on our calendar for a while. We usually attend a few of the paid events every year, and 2018 would be no exception. However, those events usually involve boring (not really) old chefs like Morimoto or Robert Irvine. Not today, no siree Bob! Today we would be attending an event featuring none other than Kelly Kapowski! Growing up, Saved by the Bell was one of my very favorite shows. I was very invested in Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski’s relationship. I was devastated when she broke Zack’s heart and hooked up with Jeff. How could she!?!?!?

Anyway, today’s event was the third in the “Sunday Brunch with the Chef” series. The first event was held two weeks earlier, featuring Jamie Deen. The second was one week earlier, and had featured Richard Blais. I had considered attending that one, but there were two guests that interested me more, and these events aren’t cheap! The details for this event are below.

Sunday Brunch with the Chef
Park: Epcot
Venue: World ShowPlace
Time: 11:30am
Cost: $129 plus tax
Includes: Wine toast, brunch, meet & greet.

In the days leading up to the event, I read on a forum that the seating was preassigned, and as such there was no reason to arrive especially early for this event. That ended up not being true, much to our detriment. We strolled up at about 11:10, only to find out that seating was assigned as you arrive, and lots of people had arrived before us. So we ended up a pretty bad table, too far away to get any useful photos during the event. Had I known, I would have arrived at about 10:30 to make sure we got a good table. Grrrr! Pictured below are our tickets, with “Flavor” being our assigned table.

Tickets to Tiffani Thiessen Brunch

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