It’s that time of year again! The temperatures are nearing the 100’s, the humidity is so thick you can cut through it with single use plastic products, and Halloween is in the air. That can only mean one thing: The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has begun! The festival began on August 30th, 2018, and will run through November 12th, 2018. We went to the first day of the festival and ordered a LOT of food to bring you reviews of everything we could. While there wasn’t a ton that impressed, our team made of veterans and novices alike were able to agree there’s seven (YEAH SEVEN) items that you can’t miss at this year’s festival. Let’s take a look!
Islands of the Caribbean – Jerk-spiced Chicken Lollipop with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt – $5.50
We didn’t anticipate the Islands of the Caribbean to be one of our favorite booths of the year, but here we are. The jerk-spiced chicken lollipop is brand new for 2018 and brings a flavorful and tender piece of chicken to the front of World Showcase. While the jerk spice isn’t too noticeable, the chicken was still amazingly tender and very flavorful. The mangoes on the side pair well with the well-cooked chicken making this dish one of our favorites of the event.
Flavors from Fire – Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli – $6.75
This item replaced one of our favorites from 2017 at the Flavors from Fire booth, but that’s okay because it’s just as amazing. There’s an underlying spiciness to the skirt steak that’s rather intense for an Epcot festival, but that’s everything we absolutely adore. The coleslaw on top helps to cut-back the spice and the aioli rounds-out the flavor profile. The smoked corn cake below helps hold everything together making this an absolute winner.
Ireland – Guinness Bailey’s Shake – $10.50
Bailey’s will run you about $18/bottle at your local liquor store, but good luck being able to mix a Guinness and Bailey’s shake at home like this. Fortunately Epcot takes the mixing pain away and provides the end result: a smooth, rich, and creamy shake that’s simply to die for. There’s hint of the Bailey’s cream liquor and an underlying flavor of the Guinness beer. A few chocolate flakes on top help bring this mixture together into one perfect drink. Plus you get a souvenir plastic cup to take home (somehow a rarity at this event), what’s not to love?
Taste Track – Croissant Doughnut (Any Variety)
There’s four varieties of the croissant doughnut to try from Taste Track, and they’re all good in their own way. The ‘cronut’ gained popularity a few years ago and has been sweeping the nation since. This delicate doughnut is usually found at the Refreshment Port but during Food & Wine it’s moved to the Taste Track kiosk right outside of Test Track. It’s crunchy on the outside, flaky on the inside, and has a great coating of cinnamon sugar to make it almost like a churro (not the Walt Disney World kind which is bad though). Pair it with some gelato for an extra $2 and you have an amazing dessert that *almost* can’t be beat.
Refreshment Port – Beef Brisket Poutine: French Fries with Beef Brisket, Beer Cheese Sauce, and Poutine Gravy topped with Crispy Onions – $8.69
We’re not quite sure how this qualifies as real poutine, but we’re willing to accept that piling meat and cheese on top of fries makes for one heck of a meal. Introducing the beef brisket poutine from the Refreshment Port, right before Canada on the World Showcase promenade. This ‘poutine’ comes loaded with the standard Disney fries topped with a gigantic portion of beef brisket that’s tender and juicy. Other quick services at Walt Disney World can’t figure out how to cook hamburgers, but Refreshment Port has this beef brisket figured out on day one and it’s a glorious experience. The cheese sauce and onions on top attach themselves to the fries making for forkfuls of enjoyment.
You’ll want to split this one with friends, it’s a gigantic portion. That’s probably the only time you’ll hear that in a Food and Wine article on this site…
Taste Track – Pancake Milkshake – $5.00
Remember the first Wreck-it Ralph 2 trailer that premiered earlier this year? If you don’t you can watch it here. There’s a bit at the end where Ralph and Vanellope get into a mobile game where ‘the bunny gets the pancake, the kitty gets the milkshake’. Epcot decided rather than give you pancakes and milkshakes that they would combine them into this amazing creation. It sounds almost too good to be true, but it lives up to the expectations. The best part about this is that the milkshake DOES taste like a pancake with a hint of maple syrup too! This one shouldn’t be missed during the festival, it’s a fun treat that everyone will enjoy.
I know, it’s not from a booth, but it’s a festival offering. The funnel cake is topped with the obligatory powdered sugar before the addition of maple ice cream and candied bacon. It’s a sizable slab of maple ice cream that’s absolutely awesome. There’s enough candied bacon on top to make anyone happy; the cast member kept pouring more on until everything was covered. We don’t often get funnel cakes from here but this one was freshly made and didn’t arrive in an overly solid state as most do. The ice cream is put on top after the cake is pulled from the fryer, so it begins to melt as it hits the hot funnel cake. Overall this is quite the treat for anyone who likes maple or bacon, or both! It gets our spot for number one best item at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2018!
So that’s our top seven items. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!