Are you finding yourself stuck on how to plan your global tasting session at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? With 35 marketplace booths offering food and beverage options from around the world deciding where to start and how much to spend is a challenge in itself. If you’re not sure where to begin, or which items are worth it both in taste and in cost, keep reading to see our top 10 recommendations for the best eats at this year’s event.
Croissant Doughnut with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream & Gelato from Taste Track
This “cronut” was delicious and was easily one of my favorite desserts of this year’s Food & Wine Festival, and maybe even of our entire trip. If you’ve had the cronuts from the Refreshment Port near the entrance to World Showcase, these cronuts (without the toppings) are the same. The chocolate hazelnut cream works perfectly with it, and the raspberries are a nice touch.
My one suggestion with this one is to either skip the gelato or order it on the side. I tried breaking the cronut apart with a spoon (and then with a fork and knife) to get all the flavors in one bite but that just wasn’t working. And since it was weird (and messy!) to hold the cronut with gelato on top, I ended up leaving the gelato on the plate while I ate the cronut. The gelato in the Italy and France pavilions is 100x better and likely homemade where this was not. If you really want gelato then order this on the side, if not hit up Italy or France when you get to World Showcase. (The gelato is also an extra $2 bringing the total cost of this cronut up from $6.50 to $8.50.)
Jerk Spiced Chicken Lollipop from Islands of the Caribbean
I’m going to be totally honest with you guys and say that this was actually one of my least favorite items from Food & Wine Festival, but Chaz LOVED it so much I just couldn’t skip out on adding it to this list. Although this one wasn’t my thing, it’s definitely a flavor that I’m just not into and it could very well be one of your favorites too–so if it sounds interesting I would still suggest giving it a try!
Anyway, this dish featured a jerk spiced chicken lollipop garnished with roasted sweet plantain salad and mango chutney yogurt. If you like mango, pineapple, and general sweeter flavors particularly when they’re over something more savory I think you’ll love this one (think pineapple pizza, or pineapple in a pulled pork sandwich). If that’s your jam then this is the dish for you! Chaz loves this combination of sweet and savory, and he quickly devoured this one and now recalls it as his favorite food from this year’s festival. At $5.50 it’s pretty standard for Food & Wine pricing and it would count as a snack if you’re using the Disney Dining Plan.
Marinated Chicken with Peanut Sauce & Stir Fried Vegetables from Thailand
Thailand is one of my favorite booths, and while I’m all about peanut sauce you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. I actually really enjoyed the vegetables in this dish. Sometimes you eat something with meat, and when the meat is gone you sort of dread only having veggies yet–not the case with this one. The stir fried veggies complimented the sauce so well that if they offered a vegetarian version I’d happily order it without the chicken.
This portion feels ‘shareable’ at least in terms of how shareable these sample-sized plates can be, and for that combined with the price point of $5 (or a Disney Dining Plan snack) I would say this one is a good value. If I were on the Dining Plan I’d probably even spend the $5 out of pocket and save the plan credits for something more expensive at the festival.
Shrimp Quesadilla from Mexico
We loved everything from Mexico this year, but we have to call out this quesadilla as one of the best! It’s made with a fresh corn tortilla, shrimp, Oaxaca Cheese, with spicy Guajillo Sauce on the side. The cheese and the sauce really make this dish as they are both unexpected flavors that work really well with everything in the quesadilla. (P.S. if anyone has a copycat recipe for this sauce please send it my way!)
Again in terms of portion sizing at Food & Wine, I think this is an easily shareable dish. You can cut the quesadilla right down the middle and still have a decent tasting portion for two adults. At $7.25 it’s a little pricier than many of the other items (though I would expect that with any kind of seafood) but it does still count as a snack credit so good news for those on the Disney Dining Plan!
Xi’an Pancake with Beef from China
My go-to in China is always the Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles but this year I really wanted to try something different and I’m so happy I did! The beef was cooked well, and everything from the sauce glazed over it to the pancake itself were very flavorful. The pancake even had a hint of garlic to it, so if you’re torn between this and the noodles like I was you can still get a taste of that garlic flavor here.
We shared this one because we were eating a lot that day (so we essentially shared everything) but if you’re only hitting a couple of booths you could definitely eat this on your own. $6.75 felt like it was a little pricey when we ordered it, but once we tasted it we were cool with it. From a value perspective I would go with something like this over the more expensive items like the lobster roll from Hops and Barley or the filet mignon from Canada (both are $8).
Korma Chicken from India
If you like Indian food, this is another booth where I think you would be pleased with anything on the menu. The Korma Chicken is my favorite item though as the sauce (similar to a butter chicken recipe or even a lighter curry) goes best with the naan bread and while not too spicy it does have a little kick to it. If you can’t get over to Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge during your Food & Wine trip but you’re still craving the bread service, ordering this is a great way to get that little fix of naan with a specialty sauce without trekking over to the resort.
The description in the menu mentions a cucumber salad–What you see in the above photo is what we got. This could vary, and it’s possible that we were just given a small scoop of salad, (and it was delicious regardless) but that’s just something to think about if you were banking on having more with this dish. At $5.25 the price for the Korma Chicken is quite reasonable, so we recommend this one regardless of your Food & Wine budget. You can get more for your Dining Plan credits at the festival, but all in all you’ll still come out ahead with most of the booth items priced above $5.
Berbere-style Beef Tenderloin Tips from Africa
I order these beef tips every year at Food & Wine Festival–I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite beef option (and there are a lot of beef dishes this year, so that’s really saying something!) These are spicy (so I love them) but if spicy isn’t your thing I would skip this and go for the braised beef from Belgium instead. I love how the marinade picks up on all of the spices in this dish, and how well it all goes with the peppers and onions. You can’t see it in the photo but the beef tips are actually served on top of pap, so if you’re on the fence about spicy flavors that will help cool it down a little bit. These tips come in at $5.50 making them another great value when paying out of pocket at Food & Wine and a solid use of Dining Plan credits as well.
Charcuterie in a Cone from Spain
First of all, I’m a total sucker for charcuterie, and while you can find it all over Walt Disney World this nifty little cone makes it easy to carry and snack on while walking through World Showcase and that’s a win in my book. The cured meats and cheeses in this are really delicious and if you know me you know I love anything with olives. Is it the most outstanding charcuterie in Disney? Well no, my personal favorite is BaseLine Tap House in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but I almost always get this dish at food and wine because the flavors are great and it’s a nice change to have a cold dish and something that’s much more portable.
Plus, if you’re not dining somewhere with charcuterie (because with the exception of BaseLine it’s usually at table service restaurants) this is a quick and inexpensive way to have some. For whatever reason this is priced at $6.50 and the seafood paella in Spain is $6. While this seems a little strange to me, I think it’s worth the $6.50 out of pocket for something tasty, refreshing, and portable, and the extra $.50 makes this an even greater deal for those on the Dining Plan.
Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote from Belgium
For years of going to Food & Wine, I always skipped the Belgian Waffle writing it off as something similar to what I’d be able to find at home. I could not have been more wrong–the waffle and whipped cream are all good but it’s the berry compote that makes this dish. I usually tend to stay away from anything with berries in a sauce like this because I often find it to be much too sweet for my liking, but the berry compote with this waffle is perfect. And the best part is that it actually seems like fresh berries went into this dish, not the preserved variety from a jar that I would have expected.
There is a chocolate version of the waffle as well, and while it’s also a solid choice from the Belgium menu I much prefer the berry. Both waffles are only $4, making them a steal when paid for out of pocket and an average value for using your Dining Plan credits.
Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese & Stout Dip
This dip really surprised me, as I went into it expecting to prefer the (more popular) Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup from Canada, but I think I actually prefer this one, at least for a quick bite during the festival. As its name suggests, this is more of a dip and Canada’s version is quite literally soup. Sure, you dip the pretzel bread but at the end of the day it’s still soup. For a hot day at Food & Wine, I would recommend Ireland’s version, and we actually came up with a ‘hack’ of sorts to make this dish even better.
Chaz ordered this and a couple of other festival items while I had fish and chips from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop nearby in the UK pavilion. I got a table and he met me in the seating area on the water with the cheese dip (and a glass of mead) and when he ran out of bread we had a simple yet genius idea. We took the fries from my fish and chips and dipped them, making a uniquely Irish poutine of sorts that was incredible. So it will add to your Food & Wine budget a bit, but I highly recommend grabbing some fries to go with your cheese dip from Ireland. (The dip is $4.75 and Fish & Chips are $11.50. I’m not sure if they’ll do a side of just fries, but if not and you’re looking for more of a snack I would split the fish and chips.)
If you have any questions about visiting the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival or want to share your thoughts on what some of your favorite dishes are, leave us a comment below! (& don’t forget to tag your sweet Insta photos from Food & Wine with #castlepartylife so we can keep up with your trips to the festival too!)
P.S. You can learn more about this year’s festival, check out the full music lineup, book special events, and more at tasteepcot.com.