Review: Final round of recommendations for the 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World

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With only a week remaining in the 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Michelle and I decided to make one more visit to ensure we ate all we wanted before the unique blend of cuisines from around the world disappears until next year’s event. After trying new dishes in our first visit, and a variety of new and old in our second trip, this third time out was all about enjoying whatever sounded best to us at the time.

This time, we decided to head to the Food and Wine Festival for lunch, offering more time to eat and digest without being rushed by the park’s closing time. We also made it out having spent a bit less money than the last two trips, with a total of $33.50 this time.

Our trip around the World Showcase began once again in Argentina where Michelle wanted another Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree ($5.00). This time we shared it and I happily devoured my portion. We also shared a table with some nice local ladies who were also eating around the world and after seeing our skewer, they went over to the Argentina booth and each got one themselves. But before that, I had seen one of them eating a dish from nearby Brazil, which enticed me to try it.

It was Brazil’s National Dish – Feijoada ($2.75), which despite its low price is a substantial portion of black beans and pork in a stew. It came out steaming hot and was quite filling and enjoyable down to the last bite.

Brazil - Brazil’s National Dish - Feijoada ($2.75)

Diving into dessert early, Michelle wanted the Rice Pudding (with Driscoll’s Only the Finest Berries) from Scandinavia ($2.75). I tried a few bites and found it to be sweet, but not overly so. The strawberries on top were fresh and vibrant, but the pudding itself was definitely the star of the dish, with each creamy morsel.

Scandinavia - Rice Pudding with Driscoll’s Only the Finest Berries ($2.75)

In South Africa, the Seared Filet of Beef with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Braai Sauce ($5.00) is worth the price for the tender beef, which has a nice crust of spices on top, though the sweet potatoes are rather uninteresting, offering only a mild flavor.

South Africa - Seared Filet of Beef with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Braai Sauce ($5.00)

At the “Cheese” booth, it was finally time for me to try the new Artisan Cheese Selection, which I had skipped in the last two trips to the festival. For $4.50, I got more than I had anticipated, with 3 very different cheeses each paired with additional items to enhance their flavors. I would classify the cheeses as mild, medium, and strong tasting – something for everyone to enjoy. My favorite of the three was the Thomasville Tome Sweet Gras Dairy, pictured at the left below. Topped with honey, this semi-hard cheese offered a great nutty flavor, hitting me somewhere between cheddar and parmesan. Pictured in the middle paired with OceanSpray Craisins (an event sponsor) is Chevre Affine Wyngaard Kaas, which surprisingly had the most mild flavor of the bunch. I’ve had chevre before and was not a fan, but I enjoyed the smooth texture and light flavor of this one. Finally, Le Delice de Bourgogne Lincet is a creamy, milky cheese, perfect for spreading on the supplied crackers. On its own, this cheese is extremely strong and pungent, but when combined with the sweet fig becomes a complex and enjoyable bite. It’s definitely not for everyone.

Cheese - Artisan Cheese Selection with Thomasville Tome Sweet Gras Dairy, Le Delice de Bourgogne Lincet and Chevre Affine Wyngaard Kaas ($4.50)

We had saved one of our annual favorites of the Food and Wine Festival for this trip, Poland’s Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream ($5.00). This year, the pierogies have shrunken down in size, though three smaller ones are on the plate instead of two larger. Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, these pierogies are delicious, particularly when eaten with the sweet cooked onions. The kielbasa has a fantastic flavor, but the portion is far too small. Mine were cut so thin I could barely even taste them. Fortunately, Michelle’s pieces were thicker and I was able to take a bite of hers to enjoy it. For $5, I would expect a bit more meat on the plate.

Poland - Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream ($5.00)

I couldn’t resist getting the Lamb Slider with Tomato Chutney ($5.00) at New Zealand, as it was one of my favorites in 2010. Once again, this small burger is packed with flavor, with the chutney perfectly complimenting the lamb patty. My only complaint is how sloppy and difficult to eat this slider is, as the chutney drips all over and causes the bun to slip and slide around. But I managed to eat every last bit of it.

New Zealand - Lamb Slider with Tomato Chutney ($5.00)

To finish, I wanted a different dessert, so I tried the Lamington (chocolate and coconut covered yellow cake, $3.00) at Australia. I liken it to an oversized and improved Mounds bar, with a thick layer of chocolate and fresh coconut shavings enveloping the moist cake inside. Like many of the event’s other desserts, the portion size is great for the price and was just enough to leave me stuffed in the end.

Australia - Lamington (chocolate and coconut covered Yellow Cake) ($3.00)

While this trip concluded our visits to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival for 2011, there’s still time to enjoy these and many more dishes before the event wraps up on Sunday, November 13.

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