It’s winter in Florida so it’s time for the 5th Annual Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts! This festival focuses on art, hence the name. Not only is it artwork, it’s artistic food, music, and more. Things are mostly the same this year from last, with the exception of the live Broadway performances not happening this year. This festival runs from January 8th until February 22nd.
There is plenty to see and do while visiting this festival. But most people just want to eat. So we set off to find all the vegan options we could at this years festival.
The addition of the Plant-Based Logo has made things a little easier for us, but not totally. Not all of the booths in this festival are Disney owned, which means they don’t have to follow the plant-based logos. There are a few items available to modify this year. Let’s start talking about food!
First up is the Plant-based Bratwurst from the Refreshment Outpost. This option is actually returning from 2020 and has no changes to it from then. This was not one I enjoyed last year, or this year.
The Beyond Sausage is topped with a Coffee barbecue Jackfruit, Slaw, and Mustard. The jackfruit has a pretty strong flavor, but not as strong with coffee this year and more barbecue. This option is incredibly messy and requires a fork, knife, and about 25 napkins.
Next up is another returning option, the Vegetable Gyoza from Goshiki in Japan. Just like last year this one requires some modifications. When ordering this you need to order it without both the mashed potatoes and fish cake.
The gyoza themselves are filled with tofu and other vegetables. They are the perfect amount of fried to soft steam texture and are topped with a Teriyaki Sauce.
Inside of the World Showplace Pavilion there are two booths with Plant-based options. First up is Remy’s Ratatouille from the Festival Favorites Booth.
This option was not what I hoped for. I was excited to try it, but the flavors fell flat. The vegetables, aside from the eggplant, were cooked well. But the flavor was of nothing and minimal tomato sauce. I am unsure if ratatouille should be this simple, but it was not something I’d get again.
Next to that booth you can get the Salt-Roasted Beet Tartare from the Painter’s Palate. This option is new for this year and something I was also really looking forward to trying.
Unfortunately this option was nearly inedible. I like beets, but these had something real funky going on with them. The pickled vegetables were the strongest pickling flavor I have ever had. The parsley “salad” in it was nice but very heavy with olive oil, and the béarnaise aioli didn’t add much. The whole dish smelled like tartar sauce in all honesty. The bread, however, was delicious, but so crispy that it tore up the roof of my mouth.
You can find a Coconut and Passion Fruit Smoothie at Vibrante & Vivido Food Studio. This is not marked as plant-based, but we confirmed with a chef that this was in fact a vegan option.
The smoothie was very sweet, but still enjoyable. Plus it came with this super cute plastic souvenir cup. A great option for kids.
The next option we found was the Lemon Soft Serve from Decadent Delights. This option does require a modification, you need to get it without the waffle cone. The raspberry soft serve here contains dairy, so only lemon is safe.
The soft serve tasted just like the lemon from Storybook Treats and was a nice sweet and tart flavor. It was a large portion and was more than enough to share.
The waffle cone contains egg, but there was no mention of the cone on the menu. I am mentioning this because they first called a chef which said the soft serve was safe, but when I was given the item it had a waffle cone. I asked about that containing anything non-vegan, they called the chef again and they said it was safe and “totally plant-based”. Since I don’t trust anyone, we went to find a chef in person instead of have them phone one for us. Chef Robbie was helpful and showed us the actual ingredients and we found the cone did have egg. I promptly returned to the booth with my untouched cup/cone and told them. I then received a soft serve cup without the cone.
The whole calling a chef to confirm versus just talking to one in person or seeing a simple ingredient list binder is one of my biggest frustrations with these festivals. If every booth had a binder (like Goshiki in Japan) I would feel more comfortable with finding out what things were safe. I have a hard time trusting a quick phone call with a chef in a hurry.
Anyway, the last thing we enjoyed was a modified latte from Joffrey’s Showcase Plaza location. The Caramel Canvas Latte requires a few swaps to be able to enjoy it vegan. This latte features Peanut Butter Syrup, Caramel Sauce, and Dark Chocolate Sauce topped with Snicker’s candy pieces. To be vegan you obviously remove the Snicker’s, Whipped Cream (that isn’t mentioned), swap milk for either Almond or Oat, and the big one, swap the Caramel SAUCE for Caramel SYRUP. The sauce contains dairy, the syrup does not. As a whole the latte was enjoyable with slight notes of peanut butter and chocolate.
Honestly the food was very much not enjoyable for us this year. We really didn’t love anything, we threw away more food than I ever have at a festival. The Vegetable Gyoza was my favorite for savory and the Lemon Soft Serve for sweet. I won’t be going back for any of this food though, which is a huge disappointment because I feel like they were trying really hard this year to offer new options, and the Beet Tartare was such a unique option that could have been so much better.
With food they have a few other fun things this year. Obviously there is plenty of artwork to purchase and booths filled with them all over the park. We also caught some of the chalk artists making some magic on the walkway.
There are cute designs on all the construction walls from Figment wings to butterflies. There is also the massive paint by number mural being worked on. They have it designated to only a certain amount of people at a time and the sections split up to keep social distancing in place.
This festival runs until February 22nd, next up will be the Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which starts on March 4th.
Watch our vlog from opening day!