Runners and walkers from all over the world will soon converge at Walt Disney World Resort for runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend. The only fall east coast runDisney event is also not-so-coincidentally the final weekend of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Given that it’s fast-approaching, I thought now would be a good time to share what I enjoyed at this year’s Festival.
Let’s start with my faves beginning with a cocktail, shall we? My favorite beverage just happened to hail from France, La Passion Martini Slush. This comes as no surprise since the France Pavilion is known for their martini slushes. In fact, I’ve never met a French martini slush I didn’t like. They do them up right! The Festival edition consists of Grey Goose Le Citron vodka and cranberry and passion fruit juices. Tre bien!
Up next is my favorite savory item, the Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and Feta Cheese. This one comes from the Chew Collective. This is one that I would love to recreate at home. The beef was tender and full of flavor with a light marinade. The apricots were grilled and caramelized, and their sweetness was perfectly offset by the saltiness of the feta cheese.
And my favorite dessert goes to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Raspberry Torte from The Chocolate Studio. This was a very generous portion that could easily be shared. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. This was a rich and creamy dark chocolate ganache filling a crisp chocolate crust with a few whole raspberries sprinkled in. Y’all, this was definitely one of the top ten desserts I’ve had in my life.
As I was basking in my chocolate heaven, wondering how on earth I was ever going to recreate this at home, I noticed this.
Um, that’s the recipe, y’all! Even better, it looks pretty easy. I will be attempting this.
Also found in The Chocolate Studio was probably my biggest disappointment of the Festival, the Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel.
It’s basically chocolate mousse flash-frozen right before your very eyes in a bath of liquid nitrogen, drizzled with warm caramel and sprinkled with an almond nougat crumble. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? And it might have been had it not been my most anticipated dish from last year. This was my very favorite thing last year. I craved it all year and was thrilled when I saw it back in the line-up. However, it didn’t live up to my memory and was quickly replaced by the torte.
Rounding out The Chocolate Studio offerings was the Red Wine Chocolate Truffle.
As you can see, this thing was coated in cocoa powder. Waaaaaaaaaay too much cocoa powder. The truffle within was a quality dark chocolate truffle with a smooth, yet dense center. I could not detect the red wine, however. I enjoyed it, although it’s not something I would repeat if given the chance.
Back in France, I’m never disappointed, not by the food, the drink or the Cast Members. I had the Beef Bourguignon with Mashed Potatoes. Can’t you just hear Julia Child say, “boof?”
The beef was tender and savory with a rich wine sauce that I would have been perfectly happy drinking out of a glass. The potatoes were nothing to write home about, but nicely helped offset the richness of the “boof.”
Since I mentioned how nice the French Cast Members are, here’s this gem of a CM handing me a St. Germain Sparkling Kir, sparkling wine with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. Doesn’t he look super nice and friendly?
Brazil, in the spirit of the Olympics, was represented this year, and I tried this Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans and Tomato. It was rich but oh, so tasty.
To wash it down, I tried this Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer. It was very dark and full of smoky flavor but very smooth. Yummy!
Rounding out what I was able to try at the Festival was the Loaded Mac and Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions.
This was rich and creamy, with a bit of a kick. It was a very generous portion that I recommend sharing.
With it, I ordered the Florida Orange Groves Mango Mama Wine. What a fun name! It tasted exactly as I expected, very sweet and light with a hint of mango.
All good things must come to an end and such is the case with the Festival. I never get to enjoy as much of it as I want, but it’s always a joy. As I left the park one night, this was my sight.
I was reminded how lucky I am to live in a free country where all this fancy food is a real luxury, as is the vacation itself.
What was your favorite Festival dish?