The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is well underway. One of the highlights, of course, is a trip around the World Showcase to sample the fare from the country Marketplaces. A lot of the old favorites are back, including the surprisingly popular cheese soup from Canada and the lobster and seafood fisherman's pie from Ireland (here's a link to that recipe).
import restrictions -- they couldn’t get real haggis from Scotland, at least not in the quantities that they would need (though all you have to do is tell people its sheep organs cured inside a stomach and you’re not going to need a whole lot of it). Anyway, the vegetarian haggis ($3.25) is OK, though I like the neeps and tatties served with it a lot more (that’s mashed rutabagas and potatoes to you).There are some new items to try this year. Scotland is a newcomer to the International Marketplaces. One of the dishes it is featuring is haggis, but it's a vegetarian haggis, which sounds a bit like an oxymoron. Traditional haggis, as you may know, is a sort of sausage that is made from a sheep's heart, liver and lungs, along with various other things, and encased in the animal's stomach. Vegetarian haggis might contain kidney but only kidney beans, along with other legumes, vegetables and grains. Why not the real thing? Epcot's executive chef Jens Dahlman says it was a matter of
Also at Scotland, a delicious seared salmon ($4.50) with cauliflower puree, watercress and malt vinaigrette. (When I stepped up for a taste, I was told that there was no cauliflower available, sadly.)
The Brazil Marketplace is serving a delicious crispy pork belly with black beans, onions, avocado and cilantro. It’s well worth the $5.25 charge.
The most amusing item is at the South Korea kiosk where they’re featuring kimchi dog. To the horror of many westerners, dog is, for many Koreans, not a pet but an ingredient. But don’t worry, it isn’t Pluto between the buns but rather a wiener made mostly of pork. Dahlman says that Disney has a sausagemaker in Sarasota who made the hot dog to his specifications, with lots of hot spice. It’s topped with a kind of slaw that is supposed to be kimchi but which is less pungent than the real stuff. Still, it’s a pretty good hot dog and it doesn’t pull any punches on the spiciness. That one will cost you $3.75.
There were some long lines on the first weekend and one of the longest was at the Florida Local kiosk where they were serving Florida grass-fed beef sliders ($3.75) and Florida shrimp ceviche ($4.25).
There are, of course, dozens of other things to eat and drink. As I say in the video, take one lap around the World Showcase just to look at what’s offered. You might even ask other folks what they had and what they’ve liked. Then do a second lap and stop and the kiosks that looked the best to you. You’ll save money that way -- and the extra lap will help you burn more calories.