After more than a year of offering abbreviated editions of its year-round schedule of festivals, Walt Disney World has dropped the qualifying words “taste of” and is once again hosting the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
Except that it’s still not the food and wine festival you know from prepandemic days. There are no cooking demonstrations from visiting celebrity chefs; no wine tastings hosted by world renown winemakers; no food-pairing dinners or luncheons; and most notably, there are no Party for the Senses events on the schedule, the Saturday night extravaganzas that were always a highlight of the festival.
So basically, it’s still just a “taste of” or a festivalette.
Also, you should know that even though the food & wine festival kicked off on July 15, some aspects of it will not open until Oct. 1, including the Ireland, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Kenya, India, the Alps, Mac & Eats, and Lobster Landing marketplaces.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good eats to check out right now, including some new marketplace offerings, but I’ll let festival chef Kevin Downing give you the details in the video below.
I have to agree that the Swanky Saucy Swine marketplace has some of the best bites, including that crispy pig ear salad but also the roasted porchetta.
And the Noodle Exchange is worth visiting, too, for the traditional beef pho and the char siu pork udon. By the way, don’t be confused by the name – it isn’t necessary to bring noodles from your own pantry to exchange at the booth; they’ll take cash.
If you want something over the top, try this outrageous kitchen sinker from the Donut Box (there really is a donut underneath all of that stuff). And you’ll want to stop in at Brew-Wing, the coolest marketplace of all – because it’s inside.
Seriously, it gets hot walking around out there. Which is another reason you may want to wait until October to visit when the other marketplaces open. And by the way, Oct. 1 is also the target date for the unveiling of the new section of the France pavilion with Le Creperie restaurant and Ratatouille ride. I got a sneak peek at the new space – sorry, no photos allowed – and it looks great; lots of attention to details.
The festival runs through Nov. 20, so you’ll have plenty of time to check it out. You must prepurchase a park ticket and have an Epcot reservation to attend.
Attendees at Epcot’s media preview received admission to the park, samples and a gift card to purchase food from various kiosks.