6 must have bites at 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival


The annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival is here. These six must have bites at the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival will keep fans coming back multiple times over the 75 day duration.

Foodies, Disney fans and locals anxiously await the annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival. The annual event has grown year after year. Expanding to the longest duration, 75 days, and the most food options, the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is epic. But, all those choices can be overwhelming. These six must have bites are a great way to start your food extravaganza.

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photo by Cristine Struble

Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Lemongrass Cream at Coastal Eats

One of the new marketplaces for 2017, Coastal Eats is all about seafood. The must try dish is the Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Lemongrass. First, the crab cake is divine. Large pieces of flaked crab make the crab cake quite filling. This crab cake definitely is more crab than breading in the ratio.

To lighten the crab cake, the avocado lemongrass cream is a delightful balance. The brightness from the lemongrass combined with the lusciousness of the avocado are a wonderful combination. Sitting on a bed of crunchy Napa cabbage slaw, the balance of textures is a perfectly composed bite.

While the other two Coastal Eats choices are also good, the lump crab cake is hands down the winner at this new marketplace.

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photo by Cristine Struble

Smoked Corned Beef with Warm Crispy Potatoes, Pickled Onions and Blonde Ale Beer Fondue at Flavors from Fire

Another new marketplace, Flavors from Fire was a popular stop on the opening day. While I thought that this marketplace would be heavy on the heat, the best dish featured a smoky, earthy option.

The Smoked Corned Beef was a hearty, filing dish. The corned beef had a subtle smoked flavor. The consistency was more like brisket than traditional corned beef. My dish had substantial pieces of corned beef which made for a very large portion.

I was slightly confused with part of the dish’s description. The crispy potatoes were actually potato chips. They were well seasoned and tasted good, but the description was a little misleading. I would have liked a little more acidity to the pickled onions. It would have helped to cut through the cheese fondue.

Overall, I really liked the dish. It would be a great dish for a cool, fall day. Flavors from Fire did have a signature beverage, Swine Brine. This bourbon cocktail has a pork wing garnish. I didn’t try it, but I regretted passing it up. I was unsure of the mustard in the cocktail, but other guests commented that it was quite good.

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photo by Cristine Struble

Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs, New Zealand

I’m a huge fan of seafood. This mussels dish sounded like a winner in its description and it was. The mussels were well prepared, but the flavor was really on point. The garlic was pungent yet not overpowering. With the breadcrumbs to add a little texture, this dish was a stellar choice.

A perfect choice to enjoy with the mussels is the frozen wine cocktail. Everyone has been enjoying frose all summer, but this white wine frozen cocktail was delicious. Featuring a favorite wine, Kim Crawford, the frozen wine cocktail was perfectly cold on a really hot day. While I wish that my cocktail stayed frozen longer, I could have had a quite a few.

The frozen wine cocktail paired well with the mussels. The grapefruit notes from the wine cut through the butter and garlic. If you’re looking for a cocktail stop in between waters, I would mark the New Zealand marketplace as a must.

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photo by Cristine Struble

Light Lab

One of the most talked about new marketplaces was Light Lab. Even before the doors opened, people lined up to experience this black light cocktail bar. While food isn’t the draw (or featured), the color changing cocktails make for an entertaining experience.

Guests walk into a lab area. Servers in lab coats create these scientific, color changing creations. The colors are one color in black light and another in daylight. The whole area is fun.

Watching the T=CC2 getting made is worth the $3 price tag. The cotton candy and vanilla tonic water non-alcoholic drink is very sweet. I only drank half of it because it was really sweet for my tastes. But, this area is about experimentation. Spend the $3 and try it.

The Blue Spectrum is a better tasting cocktail. Epcot has used these Boba balls before during the Festival of the Arts. They are also used in Pandora at Animal Kingdom. Still, the sparkling wine and Boba balls are quite good. The cocktails’ colors make it fun too.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try all the craft beers. Maybe on the next visit, I can check out a few of these experimental beers. Can’t drink everything in one visit.

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photo by Cristine Struble

Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri at Active Eats

Anyone who says that good for you food lacks flavor and it boring needs to try this dish. The roasted Verlasso salmon with quoin salad and arugula chimichurri is a lovely combination of brightness, flavor and texture. The salmon is delicate. With the arugula chimichurri, the salmon has a boost of flavor without a heavy sauce.

The quinoa salad brings the whole dish together. The crunchy peppers add texture. Each flavor and nothing is muddled. On a hot day, this dish is a top choice.

Plus, the dish is extremely colorful. While we all know that we need to eat the rainbow, this dish entices the eyes.

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photo by Cristine Struble

Seared Shrimp and Scallop Cake with Cold Noodle Salad

Thailand returned after a seven year absence and the Seared Shrimp and Scallop Cake with Noodle Salad makes it a must stop. The cold noodles are quite flavorful. The cold temperature makes a good contrast to the warm cake.

The seared shrimp and scallop cake has a crunchy crust. In contrast to the warm, smooth center, the cake is a satisfying bite. Each cake has large pieces of shrimp and scallops. The single plate is a very filling dish. The flavor is strong, yet not overpowering.

Next: Tips for surviving the annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival

These dishes are just six of the numerous offerings at the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine festival. Other stops on our first visit included the Craft Beer pavilion and the chocolate marketplace. After walking all around Epcot we can’t wait for another visit. Hopefully, we can enjoy all the delicious offerings before the food festival ends in November.