And Disney chefs and executives on Sept. 4 gathered with media and local food bloggers to share details on what some of the newest and most notable dishes, beverages and events that this year’s festival will feature. The annual food and wine extravaganza — an event that brings a huge boost to Central Florida’s $50 billion tourism industry — features food and beverage “Marketplaces,” or kiosks that are set up around Epcot’s World Showcase, celebrity chef cooking and wine tasting demonstrations, seminars, special events and high-end parties.
“Epcot is the foodie park, so if you are a true foodie, Epcot is the place to be,” said Michael Reiss, operations manager of the Epcot fest, adding that this year’s lineup of marketplaces will continue to feature food-and-wine pairings, which was introduced a year ago. “We’re always raising the bar with the quality of our offerings.”
If you — like many Orlando foodies — are gearing up to hit the festival, here are some things that you shouldn’t miss:
This year the Patagonia Marketplace will debut, and for those who don’t know, Patagonia is the name of the South American place where Chile meets Argentina. The featured dish from that marketplace was roasted Verlasso salmon with arugula chimichurri and quinoa salad.
The new Puerto Rico Marketplace is particularly close to the heart of Epcot Executive ChefJens Dahlmann, whose wife is from Puerto Rico. This year’s featured dish previewed at the event was the Ensalada de Carrucho, a fresh Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro.
The marketplace formerly referred to as Florida Fresh was renamed Farm Fresh and features items including the griddled “Yard Bird” — or free-range chicken — topped with house-made habanero sauce served with braised mustard greens and kale.
For the local-sourcing fans, the Florida grass-fed beef slider with pimento cheese at the Hops & Barley Marketplace is a winner. The pimento cheese topping includes something called “hellish relish,” which is made with jalapeños.
Though it wasn’t quite ready in time for the festival preview, this year’s ever-popular escargot at the France Marketplace will take on a new form as a tart. The escargot tart will feature a creamy mix made of spinach, shallots, garlic and the delicious snails plus bacon! France also will be bringing to the marketplace a specialty vegetarian offering known as gratin de crozet, a dish similar to macaroni-and-cheese but made with a more firm-textured pasta and including mushrooms.