Epcot is by far our most favorite Disney park. This year we were lucky enough to be there at the same time that the International Food & Wine Festival was going on. Where else can you go on a trip around the world without packing a suitcase or clocking in many miles on an airplane? The theme of the festival this year (and it's the 13th annual) was "Cities in Wonderland". In addition to the wonderful countries already at Epcot, there were food booths from cities around the world.
You were also able to attend culinary demonstrations, wine seminars, book signings, taste seminars and bottle signings. In the evenings you could attend the "Eat To The Beat" concert series at the American Gardens Theatre. The line-up included Boys II Men, David Cassidy, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, En Vogue, Jon Secada and Sheana Easton, to name a few.
This year the festival ran from September 26 to November 9 which would give you plenty of chances to visit this spectacular event. There were many visiting wineries and breweries from around the world to answers any questions and sample their vineyard's finest offerings. There were also visiting chefs & speakers from around the world. A few names I actually recognized: Cat Cora from Food Network's Iron Chef program, Jamie Deen, Paula's son, Robert Irvine from Food Network's Food Challenge program, along with a multitude of Walt Disney World Chefs.
The best part for us was being able to taste a sampling of food from various countries that appealed to us for a nominal fee. We started toward the right side around the world showcase and the cities/countries we tested were:
**Eastern Europe - Krakow, Poland; we had creamy wild mushroom soup, kielbasa and potato pierogies with caramelized onions and sour cream.
**North America - Montreal, Canada; we had cheddar cheese soup, maple glazed salmon with arugula and roasted corn.
**Africa - Marrakesh, Morocco; we tasted grilled beef and hummus in a pita pocket, chicken brewat rolls and walnut baklava
**Asia - Tokyo, Japan; my hubby had the spicy tuna roll, California sushi roll, seaweed salad w/shrimp and mandarin oranges.
**North America - San Franciso, USA; my daughter had the California strawberry shortcake
**Europe - Cork, Ireland; potato leek soup with a Dubliner cheese stick, boxty w/bacon chips and kerrygold garlic & fresh herb butter, a sampling of Irish cheeses.
**Continental Europe - Bologna, Italy; my daughter had the pizza with sausage and baked ziti.
**Continental Europe - Munich, Germany: we ate regensburger sausage with sauerkraut in a pretzel roll along with apple strudel (this was one of our favorite booths)
**Continental Europe - Vienna, Austria; yummy beef goulash with a bacon dumpling and apricot cake
**Continental Europe - The Mouse Catch; we had a lovely selection of various cheeses and Heineken beer
In between these samplings we picked up a few drinks and beer along the way to wash it all down. We came out the other end of world showcase full and a little pickled. I want to point out that the food samplings are basically aimed for one person but my husband & I shared some of them, as did our daughters. Be prepared for lots of casual strolling and eating. We probably only went to a third of the food booths but it was a great experience and one we will do again.
Disney does a great job bringing this all together at one destination and it's only up to you how much you want to eat, drink and spend!!!