Fall is in the air, when the divas venture out of air-conditioning in search of Florida's fabulous food festivals. Our perennial top pick is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Disney World, open daily through Nov. 10, where we happily sip and nosh our way around World Showcase at more than 25 international Marketplaces along the waterside. (And burn those calories with a mile-long walk around the park's lagoon.)
We adore the small bites, just enough for a taste or two. From escargot in France to crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro in Brazil, and kimchi hotdogs in South Korea, we get our happy on as we sip a cocktail or wine with each little dish.
A favorite that's back this year is the Garlic Shrimp at the Australia Marketplace. Pair with a cool chardonnay or a pale ale, then traipse off in search of the next discovery – it's a delectable trip around the world without a passport.
Garlic Shrimp Aussie Style
24 medium shrimp (16/20), peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons oil from sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
3/4 pound broccoli rabe, cut into thirds
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Heat olive oil and sun-dried tomato oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Add shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, tossing once or twice. Add garlic, tomatoes, and broccoli rabe; cook another 2 to 3 minutes, tossing once or twice.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Diva confession: When possible, buy wild American shrimp, supporting U.S. fishermen (especially vital to Florida's economy). The shells should be shiny and the meat should feel firm against the shell. Ask to smell the shrimp when you're buying it thawed or fresh—it should have a fresh salty smell like the ocean, with no fishy or ammonia odor. Black spots are an indication that the shrimp is not fresh. And yellowing shells is a sign of the use of sodium bisulfate, a bleaching agent used to remove black spots.