Disney World has a new festival to kick off 2017 with the inaugural edition of the Epcot International Festival Of The Arts. During 6 weekends from January 13 - February 20 Epcot pays homage to the Arts : Visual, Musical, and Culinary.
As a big fan of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and the other events that have added food stations and kiosks over the past few years, we were excited that this festival was also going to add 8 different Food Studios with a variety of artistic culinary creations that have not been part of previous Epcot offerings.
During this Only WDWorld review we rate and rank 11 of the dishes that we tasted at this year's festival. This is but a sampling of the over 40 Festival Food offering and the many special drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). We will rank the ones that we tried in reverse order from #11 working our way up to #1, so read through them all or scroll to the bottom to find out which ones were our favorite. Don't worry, we've included pictures of each of them!
Disney International Festival Of The Arts Food Review
11. Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake with Maple Syrup, a Waffle Crisp, and Candied Bacon
This dish from the E=AT^2 Food Studio had a lot of promise, but we were not impressed with the final result. The waffle crisp was actually a waffle sandwich with a layer of caramel in the middle which unfortunately becomes hard as a rock when inserted into a frozen shake and become very difficult to eat.
The ingredients sounded amazing, but the final result was underwhelming, not awful, but it ranked the lowest of all the dishes we tried.
10. Trio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts
Honestly, this dish was one that we selected before our visit as one that we MUST try. Again we were not impressed. The 3 Croissant Donuts each had a different savory filling: Whipped herb cream cheese with sea salt; Chicken mousse with fresh herbs and Everything bagel seasoning; & Spicy tuna with sriracha mayonnaise and sesame seeds.
The chicken mousse was so flavorless that we thought it was the herbed cream cheese. The other main challenge was that the Croissant donuts were incredibly difficult to bite into without squirting the filling everywhere.
Lastly, this was served at the Painter's Palette inside the Odyssey Festival Showplace. The plates were made up ahead of time and we missed out on some of the presentation process that made the other dishes so great.
9. Smoked Salmon Tartare, Caviar, Crisp Lavash, and traditional accomplishments
The smoked salmon could be found at the Masterpiece Kitchen located in the Canada Pavilion. At $12 this was one of the more expensive dishes that we sampled. Although we love sushi and salmon, this beautifully presented dish did have the flavors required to make it stand out.
It was really good, but certainly not great. It is a very impressive looking dish, but after eating it we were left hoping for more memorable flavors.
8. Roasted Pork Roulade
At the Artist's Table near the American Adventure we sampled this artistic take on comfort food with pork, carrots, potatoes topped with a red wine sauce. From this dish on up through #1 is where we really noticed the difference between the food at this festival versus the others at Epcot. There was a significant emphasis put upon creating an edible piece of art and each part of the dish was carefully and individually placed upon th plate in a specific manner to deliver the desired artistic rendering.
Although the ingredients indicate comfort food the flavors indicated that this was well beyond the typical that we were enjoying!
7. Flank Steak Guarache
Found at the El Artista Hambriento (The Hungry Artist) located in the Mexico Pavilion was this incredibly tasty piece of art. Consisting of flank steak, black beans, salsa de Chile de Arbol, Frisee lettuce, Queso Fresco, Red Cabbage, Shredded Carrots, and Chipotle mayonnaise on grilled corn dough, this dish tasted as good as it looked.
The steak was plentiful and the flavors of all of the ingredients worked well together to make a well executed dish.
6. Port-wine Poached Pear
We discovered this enticing dessert at the Cuisine Classique Food Studio in the Germany Pavilion.The port-wine poached pear was combined with vanilla panna cotta, pistachio crumbs and a pansy flower.
This dessert had it all, good looks and tantalizing flavors! Even non pear lovers will find this dessert amazing The combination of pear, panna cotta, and pistachio worked really well together.
5. Braised Beef Short Rib
Short rib may be a trendy ingredient these days, but this piece of art from the Cuisine Classique Food Studio had incredible flavors to enjoy besides the attractive presentation.
The Braised short ribs was combines with parsnip puree, broccolini, baby tomatoes, and aged balsamic. Every bite was amazing!
4. Deconstructed Purple Sweet Potato Pie
We have to admit that we were a bit leary about this one. Visually this is one intriguing dessert. The purple is supplied naturally from the use of purple sweet potatoes.
Found at the Decadent Delights Food Studio near the entrance to the World Showcase this wild looking dessert combines purple sweet potatoes, salted caramel, bourbon soaked cake, and marshmallow whipped cream.
The perfectly balanced flavors were a complete surprise. This dessert is so much more that its shocking purple color. Definitely a MUST try!
3. Wild Mushroom Risotto
Fans of Le Cellier and their famous mushroom fillet are not strangers to the incredible wild mushroom risotto that they offer. I would dare to say that this stand alone rendition offered at the Masterpiece Kitchen in the Canada Pavilion is the best ever!
The combination of wild mushroom risotto, aged parmesan, truffle shavings, ad zinfandel reduction carefully assembled one cup at a time results in true "Wow Factor!" when it comes to flavors.
Do not pass over this amazing dish, you will regret it!
2. Pan Seared Scallop
When it comes to discovering a combination of flavors that go perfectly together this dish takes the prize. The beautifully presented scallop dish at The Artist's Table in the American Pavilion almost could be topped.
The pan seared scallop is served on a bed of chorizo and roasted pepper coulis and topped with a parmesan crisp. Each one is carefully assembled by a culinary artist with exacting care.
We didn't think it could be beat until we tried the eventually #1 dish!
A re-imagined interpretation of a BLT does not sound like a grand prize winning dish, but for us it was, narrowly beating out the pan seared scallop.
This BLT consists of crispy pork belly, tomato jam, and a soft poached egg expertly assembled at the E=AT^2 Food Studio. This dish quickly went from something that sounded intriguing to a dish we couldn't get enough of. The flavors complemented each other well and the appearance was a true work of art. The chefs carefully assembled each one to get the look just right and to make sure the soft poached egg was intact in its perch atop the pork belly.
Festival Review SummaryDisney World may have a new fan favorite with the Epcot International Festival Of The Arts. Not only did it deliver with a wide array of visual arts to see and an impressive Broadway themed night time concert, but the food was a big hit. By bringing new dishes created just for this festival and not rehashing the same Food & Wine Festival tapas, Epcot has created another reason to visit during the Winter season. Well done!
Pandora - The World of Avatar is set to open this Summer at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but here are some images just captured to show the progress of construction. The above picture shows a construction wall at the entrance to the new Pandora - The World of Avatar section of Disney's Animal Kingdom and a glimpse of the impressive floating mountains that were made famous in the movie.
Disney World guests are getting ready to step into what promises to be an immersive environment that will transport them into the world that James Cameron created with the help of both James Cameron and his team combined with the talents of Joe Rohde and the Disney Imagineers.
There are two highly touted attraction that will become must do's for guests:
- The family friendly Na’vi River Journey will send guests down a sacred river hidden within a bioluminescent rainforest. Their journey will end in an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman, a figure who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora.
- The Avatar Flight of Passage excursion will offer the jaw-dropping experience of riding on a Banshee over the world of Pandora.
Shown above are different angles of the construction of the giant show building and the floating mountains of Pandora. These can be seen by Animal Kingdom visitors, but you cannot get any closer to them at this point in time.
Excitement builds to see if the amazing Joe Rohde who led the original design team for the Animal Kingdom theme park again succeed with his skill at creating detail and story filled attractions and spaces that transport guests into the heart of the stories.
The 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be making its annual appearance at the Walt Disney World Resort from March 1 - May 29, 2017. This family friendly event makes an already amazing Epcot theme park ever better!
Million of Blooms To EnjoyNo matter when you choose to visit the Flower & Garden Festival you will be greeted by an amazing array of flowers and gardens to enjoy. Some, like the ones pictured above are best enjoyed from the elevated view point that you get if you ride the monorail from the Ticket & Transportation Center to Epcot.
If you enjoy the landscaping at Epcot during the rest of the year, you will be in awe of the fantastic job that the Disney World horticultural team does for this festival. Everywhere you turn there are naturally colorful blooms and foliage to take in.
Topiaries, Topiaries, and More TopiariesOne of our favorite parts of the Festival each year is seeing all of the incredible topiaries. From fan favorites like Minnie Mouse & Mickey Mouse to Frozen royalty Queen Elsa and Princess Anna there are many to enjoy located throughout the Future World and World Showcase section of Epcot.
Each year the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival contains activities beyond just viewing all of the impressive flower, gardens, and topiaries. These include listening to the free concerts during the Garden Rocks concert series each weekend, gardening seminars that show you how to create some of the gardens and displays yourself, and food at one of the several Outdoor Kitchens set up around Epcot's World Showcase.
Music, Educational Seminars, and Food!
There are also special play areas and activities for the kids to enjoy.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is free to enjoy with your regular admission to Epcot! This just makes it an extra special way to enjoy Epcot and a reason to book a Spring vacation to Disney World.