A Taste of A Taste of Epcot's International Festival of the ARts

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Festival of arts 2021Matt Stroshane, Walt Disney World

Epcot’s latest “Taste of” event is International Festival of the Arts, now underway through Feb. 22.

As in previous, noncrisis years, the International Festival of the Arts celebrates all things artistic, whether they be on a canvas, a stage or a plate.

The “Taste of” preceder is what Epcotians are appending to all festivals while the world is on fire. You’d think that this festival would be best suited for these times because traditionally artists have to suffer for their works.

I recently attended a media event showcasing some of the things featured at this year’s Festival of the Arts, but there was a surprising dearth of food to sample. Sort of a taste of the Taste of.

Festivearts ratatouille

And I hope that what was presented to the well-distanced media and bloggers isn’t the best of this Taste of. It included a rather odd ratatouille that had mostly zucchini and squash, seemingly steamed, molded in a timbale on a plate and then ladled with sauce. It isn’t something I’d order in the park, though undoubtedly it will be a big seller during the festival because all things ratatouille are enjoying an irrational surge in popularity.

Festivearts pistachio

And the pistachio cake with cherry mousse and morello cherries lacked perspective, to put it in artistic terms.

Festivearts tomato soup

But the tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwichettes was quite satisfying. It might be the equivalent of a Thomas Kincaid painting but I liked it.

The rest of the media event showcased some of the performance art that will be on display, including a performing artist who rocked out while creating a painting of Goofy; the Voices of Liberty a cappella group; and an athletic performance that started out looking like it was going to be a pole dancing exhibition but then morphed into aerial acrobatics.

There was one exciting announcement made to the group. Beginning in February a new exhibit will open called The Soul of Jazz: An American Experience. It will be in the America pavilion, of course, and will be based on the recently released animated film “Soul,” which is excellent, by the way, and worth signing up for Disney+ to see.

And you’d think that tying in some soul food items with the exhibit would be a no brainer, but I was told there are no plans to do so. Huge missed opportunity to highlight the contributions of Black Americans to the country’s overall culinary experience.

Following the event, I strolled around the World Showcase, but it was still early and most of the food marketplaces had not yet opened, so I didn’t have a chance to sample any of the other foods.

Festivearts painting

But there are some fun returning exhibits, including the cut-out tableaux that let visitors insert themselves into famous paintings. I’m sure Munch’s “The Scream” has a long line waiting for selfies, especially later in the day.

If you want to visit Taste of Epcot’s International Arts Festival you should know that a park reservation and valid admission ticket are required before your arrival. Tickets are not for sale on site. For full details visit the festival website.

You should know that media members attending the preview event were given complimentary parking and park admission and a gift card to purchase items from the closed kiosks.

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