The EPCOT® International Food and Wine Festival has been underway for a couple weeks, giving us ample time to sample the food booths decorating World Showcase and beyond. Several old favorites have returned from the past, but a handful of new dishes join them too for what has been a strong early showing of this year's festival offerings.
This might be the definitive dish to take the conversation around Food and Wine this year, and for good reason. It's sizable, made to be shared and is friendly for picky eaters while still being exciting enough for those who want something different from standard theme park faire.
Containing sea salt and malt vinegar fries, barbecued bacon fries with smoked aïoli and sweet potato casserole fries with candied pecans, toasted marshmallow cream and caramel whisky, this dish offers some different fry options than what is available on the al la carte Fry Basket menu. The first two selections are exceptionally salty and a bit more similar in construction and flavor than expected, but the novelty made them each enjoyable (though we find the barbecued bacon fries to be the better of the savory options).
The sweet potato casserole fries were the real star of the show. Rich and bursting with sweetness, the decadent marshmallow cream elevated these fries to a must-have.
Crispy Barbecued Pork Rinds with Pimento Cheese
Found at the Swanky Saucy Swine booth, one of our favorites from last year returns with even better quality. This enormous portion means there's good value to be had here. The pimento cheese is chilled, a significant detail in the festival's early hot months, and the seasoning on the pork rinds adds layers to the dip. This remains a fun, shareable cannot-miss festival item, and it is even better now that the pork rinds are more consistently cooked than they were in the past.
Potato and Pea Samosa
It's going to be difficult to find a dish we love more than this at this year's festival. This dish isn't afraid to play with spices—a trend we're grateful for at this year's festival—but the coriander-lime cream drizzled atop helps to balance. A crispy, flaky crust serves as the perfect shell for the warm, flavorful interior. This large, heart dish makes a phenomenal statement on how Disney has been elevating its plant-based dishes.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Buffalo Sauce
Oh, yes, you read that correctly.
Brew-wing introduces a ton of variety with this year's wings lineup, but the crispy Brussels sprouts are a standout item. With the just the perfect blend of rich, classic buffalo sauce over crispy sprouts, fans of the vegetable will likely be walking home with a new favorite festival dish.
Disney's kitchen did not come to play when upping their spice quantities at this year's festival, and this dish proves it. Bringing a substantial amount of heat that it balances with the freshness of lime (and available ranch nearby), the sticky, saucy wings were impressively meaty. Though we've yet to try all the wing flavors at this year's festival, the quality of these reassured us that the rest are going to have to make our must-try list, too.