We’re home from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and ready to tell you all about the options we had this year. This year the festival runs from July 15th to November 20th. Some booths do not open until October 1st but we’ll add those in here once they open.
This year the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is back to being a full festival and not just a ‘taste of’. The big difference with this year though is that there is no Eat to the Beat concert series, which means I won’t be able to sing along to some 90’s bangers. There are some other big differences in terms of entertainment and festival offerings, but as a whole this festival is definitely more food and beverage based than anything.
Now let’s get into this years options!
Our first stop was at Earth Eats, which is sponsored by Impossible Foods. This year we do not get any dessert here and they only have two options. The first was the Impossible Burger Slider. This is the same as the last few years, however this was the best one we have had. The burger comes one a sesame bun and is topped with a spicy slaw and wasabi cream. The cream is the shining star in this.
The slider itself was very moist, the burger was cooked well, and you could taste the spicy slaw and the wasabi cream. I wouldn’t call this dish spicy at all, but it was very good and still a hit as it has been for many years. This can be pretty hit or miss, so if you get a bad one I recommend trying again another time.
The other option here is the Impossible Three-Bean Chili. This is one of the two vegan and gluten free offerings.
This option wasn’t great for us, but it didn’t help that it was pushing 90 degrees and we were in the mid day sun. The chili wasn’t very flavorful and just felt muted. The texture was fine for the chili with the beans and Impossible meat.
It came topped with some unmelted vegan shreds, despite how hot temperature-wise the chili was. There was also a little dollop of sour cream and corn chips on it. I would only get the slider from this booth again.
Next up is the Noddle Exchange which is new this year. The vegan option here is the Tofu Pho. This dish comes with Enoki Mushrooms and Thai Basil. This is the other one of the two vegan and gluten free offerings.
This option was very good but very hot in both temperature and flavor. There is no mention of it being spicy on the menu and I am glad I enjoy heat otherwise that would have been a very big surprise. The broth was flavorful enough and the noodles were really good. The mushrooms tasted like normal mushrooms and the dish as a whole would be better served in a restaurant. I would get this again when it is not summer in Florida.
If you continue away from the Noodle Exchange you’ll run into the Shimmering Sips booth which has Banana Bread again.
Last year we were let down by this, I think we had a bad day for it though and also we were all sick of banana bread at that point thanks to quarantine. This year the portion size is smaller but it was much more moist. The banana bread is topped with a tasty fruit compote with chunks of strawberries and blueberries, and a vegan whipped topping. It wasn’t overly sweet and tasted very good. We will be getting this again, plus it’s the only plant-based dessert option at the festival.
A new booth this year is not actually a booth, the Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina is located in the (old?) Tangierine Cafe location in Morocco. I guess it’s safe to say that Tangierine Cafe will not be returning as a quick service option for a long time now. The vegan option here is a Fried Falafel Pita.
We were super disappointed by this option. At first bite the falafel seemed good due to the crunch, however the inside was very weird. It was more of a cake consistency inside and it lacked any flavor. They put a small squiggle of tahini on it and then hiding under the balls is a mix of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce, none of which you get a bite of with the falafel. We will not be getting this option again.
The last plant-based option available is the Refreshment Outpost. This option is actually a returning option at a new location, previously found at the Africa booth. The Spicy Githeri features white beans, pigeon peas, quinoa and ancient grains, and a kachumabi slaw.
This dish is always a good one, but also another hot (temperature) option that is hard to enjoy when you’re melting in the sun. The texture of the ancient grain mix is really nice since the beans are very soft. We felt that the githeri wasn’t spicy, it had a very mild heat like curry. I love that this dish is just a nice vegetable/bean based option. This is definitely something we’d get again.
On October 1st two more booths will open that have vegan options, in India we will be able to enjoy the Madras Red Curry (which is now noted as plant-based and wasn’t last week when they released the menus). There will also be the return of the Mac & Eats booth (although it’s a new name) with the Macaroni and Cheese that features the house-made Italian Sausage and Peppers which was my favorite last year. Looking forward to those opening in a few months.
As a whole with the food we felt pretty underwhelmed and overheated. The options all felt hot, with the exception of the banana bread and falafel. After having 13 options at the Flower & Garden Festival we felt that we were missing options that could have been.
This years festival felt a little lacking. There weren’t a ton of merchandise booths as most of the merchandise could be found in the actual stores which had long lines. The World Showplace pavilion was also not open, which was a bummer because that was a great place to relax for a bit in some AC and enjoy live entertainment.
The America Gardens Theatre is home to Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty still, which you can find posted show times outside the theatre or on the My Disney Experience app. At the same location on select days you can find the America Gardens Bandstand. There is also the Jammin’ Chefs over in Canada again and then the Epcot Pianist over in the gardens of the UK pavilion.
One of our favorite activities with the festivals are the scavenger hunts, so be sure to grab the Remy’s “Ratatouille” Hide & Squeak map and find him around World Showcase for a prize. We’ll be doing that next time with our son as it’s a great way to explore the park and find new things!