Today I would like to introduce Whitney Mattox. Whitney is a Senior Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. When she is not at Walt Disney World, she resides in Upstate NY with her husband and two daughters. She has never met a dirty martini she didn’t like, and she’s currently bitter that the PeopleMover has not yet reopened.
Well, it is that time of year again! The 2021 Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is almost upon us, and the menus have been released!
I would be lying if I said I don’t look forward to the releases of all festival menus. I articulately make my lists - I have been known to color code items based on level of importance - and I’m not sorry about it! ;)
You have to go in with some type of game plan, of course!
This year’s festival is running the longest it ever has! It begins on Wednesday March 3, and concludes on Saturday July 5th.
Beyond the beautiful topiaries, the exciting scavenger hunts, and the enchanting butterfly exhibit, there is a foodie’s dream of delicious festival booths around every corner.
So let’s start with a few newbies to the Festival that really caught my eye:
*Photo courtesy of Disney®
EPCOT Sunshine Griddle
The EPCOT Sunshine Griddle in Future World East is a new booth and has options from my favorite meal - BRUNCH. I could brunch every single day. That mix of sweet breakfast-y foods and savory lunches melting together into one meal? Yes, please.
This booth also happens to have one of my FAVORITE things ever - Avocado Toast! Anytime I can get avocado toast somewhere, it’s on my list! In fact, everything on this menu sounds appealing to me, so I suppose I will be ordering one of each!
· Avocado Toast with Marinated Toybox Tomatoes and Fresh Goat Cheese on Toasted Ciabatta (new).
· Shrimp and Grits: Blackened Shrimp and Cheddar Cheese Grits with Brown Gravy and Sweet Corn Salsa.
· Corned Beef Brisket Hash with House-made Potato Barrels, Onions, Peppers, Cheese Curds, and a Soft-poached Egg with Tabasco Hollandaise (new).
· Fried Cinnamon Roll Bites with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Bacon (new).
· Froot Loops Shake (non-alcoholic; new).
· Joffrey’s Coffee Cold Brew Cocktail with Milk, Kahlúa Rum and Coffee Liqueur, and Vanilla Vodka (new).
Did you catch that? A Froot Loops shake!? And a Cold Brew COCKTAIL! I might never leave this corner of Epcot!
*Photo courtesy of Disney®
EPCOT Farmers Feast
The second new booth is EPCOT Farmers Feast in the World Showplace - which will feature a rotating menu.
Food Items – Rotating Menu 1:
· Spring Onion Soup with Crispy Shallots and Micro Chive (new).
· Duck Confit with Carrot Purée, Roasted Root Vegetables, Rainbow Chard, and Duck Jus (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Off the “Beet”en Path: Profiteroles with Red Beet Mousse, Golden Beet Pastry Cream, Whipped Goat Cheese Cream, and Candied Walnuts (new).
· 81Bay Brewing Co. Watermelon Mint Wheat Ale, Tampa, Fla. (new).
· Hibiscus Lemonade Cocktail featuring Islamorada Brewery & Distillery Hibiscus Gin (new)
*Fried Green Tomatoes
World Showplace will also feature some returning Festival Favorites: My favorite of these would be the Fried Green Tomatoes. My Grandma and I would make them every summer, so while of COURSE those remain supreme, these are a close second. The Blue Crab salad and Remoulade really make it!
· Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, Feta, and Balsamic Reduction (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider with Garlic Sausage, Chorizo, Cheddar Fondue, and House-made Pickle.
· Fried Green Tomatoes with Blue Crab-Fennel Salad, Remoulade, and Smoked Paprika Oil.
· Key Lime Tart with Toasted Meringue.
· Frozen Lemonade (non-alcoholic).
· 3 Daughters Brewing Maple Bacon Stout, St. Petersburg, Fla.
· Frozen Lemonade with Firefly Blackberry Moonshine.
*Photo from 2019 Festival - Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread with White Cheddar Cheese, Charred Vegetables, Clover Honey Sour Cream and Micro Citrus Greens
Another of my favorite booths is the Honey Bee-stro. While this year’s flatbread is a different variety of sweetness, in years past, it has been one of my favorite Festival items. I am looking forward to giving this one a try!
· Tupelo Honey and Sweet Corn Spoon Bread with Jalapeños, Bacon, and House-made Whipped Honey Butter (gluten/wheat-friendly; new).
· Lavender Honey Mustard-marinated Chicken Flatbread with Whipped Honey-Ricotta Cheese, Marinated Vegetables, and Purple Haze Lavender Goat Cheese (new).
· Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Whipped Cream, Whipped Honey, Crystalized Honey, Honeycomb, Dehydrated Honey, and Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses.
· Honey-Peach Freeze in a Souvenir Spike the Bee Sipper Cup (non-alcoholic).
· First Magnitude Brewing Co. Honey Bee Citrus Blonde Ale, Gainesville, Fla. (new).
· Florida Orange Groves Winery Orange Blossom Honey Wine, St. Petersburg, Fla.
· Honey-Peach Freeze with Blueberry Vodka.
*Photo courtesy of Disney®
Taste of Marrakesh
I already know that my husband’s favorite booth will be Taste of Marrakesh in Morocco. Anything with couscous, and he is happy! Though, everything at this booth sounds delightful to me also!
· Moroccan Seafood Couscous with Shrimp, Mussels, Olives, Preserved Lemons, and Anchovy Breadcrumbs (new).
· Shakshuka: Moroccan Baked Eggs in a Spiced Eggplant and Tomato Stew (new).
· Lemon Magdalena Cake with Fig Compote and Sangria Gel (plant-based; Garden Graze; new).
· M.I.A. Beer Company Pink Hibiscus Orange Wheat Ale, Doral, Fla. (new).
· Maeloc Pineapple and Pear Hard Cider, Galicia, Spain (new).
*Seared Scallops @ Northern Bloom
Another favorite is Northern Bloom in Canada. I can never have enough seafood, and I definitely enjoy these seared scallops every year! I like the Beef Tenderloin also, but only when it is early in the day. Personally, I find that if you go too late, the beef is too tough from sitting under heat lamps. But when freshly cooked, it’s delicious! I always want to try that Maple Popcorn Shake too, but I’m usually too full. Maybe this trip!
· Seared Scallops with French Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter Vinaigrette and Apple-wood-smoked Bacon (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Beef Tenderloin Tips, Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce, and Whipped Potatoes with Garden Vegetables.
· Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato.
· Maple Popcorn Shake (non-alcoholic).
· 81Bay Brewing Apricot with Maple Syrup, Tampa, Fla.
· Collective Arts Brewing Blackberry Fruit Beer, Hamilton, Ontario.
· Goose Island Beer Company Lost Palate Hazy IPA with Mango and Cinnamon, Chicago, Ill. (new).
· Maple Popcorn Shake with Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky.
· Beer Flight.
Jardin de Fiestas
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our family favorite - Mexican! Jardin de Fiestas ALWAYS has offerings that we can’t get enough of. Their tostadas have yet to be unsatisfying. And, they have a plant-based option as well!
· Tostada de Cochinita: Braised Pork on a Crispy Corn Tortilla with Black Beans topped with Pickled Onions, Mango-Habanero Relish, and Oregano (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Taco Vampiro: Braised Beef on a Corn Tortilla with Crispy Grilled Monterey Jack Cheese and Salsa Ranchera (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Sope de Chorizo: Plant-based Ground Chorizo on Fried Corn Dough with Black Beans and Avocado Mousse (gluten/wheat friendly; plant-based).
· Passion Fruit Margarita: Corazón de Agave Blanco Tequila, Passion Fruit Purée, Lime Juice, Nixta Corn Liqueur, and a hint of smoke with a Hibiscus Flower Salt Rim.
· The Garden Margarita: Ojo de Tigre Mezcal, Lettuce Juice, Ancho Reyes Chile Verde Liqueur, Lime Juice, Gracias a Dios Agave Gin, and a Sprig of Thyme.
· Tulum Mexican Craft Beer with Floater: Artisanal Lager with Citrus notes made with Caribbean Seawater and served with an Elderflower Liqueur Floater.
*Goat Cheese Tart
Fleur de Lys
Fleur de Lys in France has one of the tastiest savory items of the whole festival - the Goat Cheese Tarte. I may have had 2 or 3 on my last trip! I have my eye on that Chocolate Macaron Lollipop though!
But the gem of this booth - the LA VIE EN ROSE Slushy. I will not tell you how many of these I had. It’s true that I couldn’t walk near this booth without getting another.
· Tarte aux Oignons Caramélisés et Chèvre: Goat Cheese Tart with Caramelized Onions on a flaky Pastry Crust.
· Canard Confit à l’Orange aux Gnocchi à la Parisienne: Braised Duck Confit à l’Orange with Parisian Gnocchi (new).
· Macaron au Chocolate en Sucette: Large Chocolate Macaron Lollipop.
· Beignet Caramélisé, Fourré Crème Vanille, Glacé au Caramel Fleur de Sel: Caramelized Beignet filled with Vanilla Cream and Glazed with Caramel Fleur de Sel (new).
· Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 Draft Beer.
· VeRy Raspberry: Rosé Wine with Natural Raspberry Flavor.
· Chardonnay, Le Vieux Manoir (new).
· Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec Blend, Château Lorient (new).
· La Vie en Rose Frozen Slushy: Vodka, Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka, St. Germain Liqueur, White and Red Cranberry Juice.
Be sure to take a look at the other menus posted below!
Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market
· Potato Pancakes with House-made Apple Sauce (gluten/wheat friendly; plant-based; Garden Graze).
· Potato Pancake with Caramelized Ham, Onions, and Herb Sour Cream (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Toasted Pretzel Bread topped with Black Forest Ham and Melted Gruyère Cheese.
· Warm Cheese Strudel with Mixed Berries.
· M.I.A. Brewing Hugo, Doral, Fla.
· Bitburger Premium Pils, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
· Stiegl Brewery Radler Zitrone, Salzburg, Austria.
· Apfelschaumwein: Sparkling Wine and Apple Liqueur.
· Beer Flight.
· House-made Potato and Cheddar Biscuit with Salmon Tartare.
· Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Whipped Cream.
· 3 Daughters Brewing Pink Lemonade Hard Cider, St. Petersburg, Fla. (new).
· Bold Rock Watermelon Hard Cider, Nellysford, Va. (new).
· Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Triple Jam Hard Cider, Armada, Mich. (new).
· Samuel Smith Old Brewery Pure Brewed Organic Lager, Tadcaster, UK.
· Snakebite: Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Triple Jam Hard Cider and Samuel Smith Old Brewery. Pure Brewed Organic Lager.
· Cider Flight
*Photo courtesy of Disney®
Citrus Blossom - *Super important to remember if you are on the lookout for that ADORABLE new Orange Bird Sipper! Who doesn’t love some Orange Bird! I have always enjoyed the classic Meyer Lemon Lobster tail that is usually offered at this booth, so I am intrigued for a new spin on that, in the form of a Lobster Salad!
· Meyer Lemon-poached Lobster Salad with Grapefruit-Rosé Vinaigrette, Yuzu-marinated Hearts of Palm, and Avocado-Yuzu Panna Cotta (gluten/wheat friendly; new).
· Citrus-braised Crispy Pork Belly with Kumquat and Carrot (new).
· Citrus Shortcake: Orange Chiffon Cake, Lemon Curd, Mandarins, Whipped Cream, and Citrus Crumble.
· Orange-Lemon Smoothie in a Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup (non-alcoholic; new).
· Islamorada Beer Company Coconut Key Lime Ale, Fort Pierce, Fla.
· First Magnitude Brewing Co. Lemon Hefeweizen, Gainesville, Fla.
· Playalinda Brewing Company Hibiscus Lime Ale, Titusville, Fla. (new).
· Orange Sunshine Wine Slushy.
· Beer Flight.
Flavor Full Kitchen
· Grilled Baby Vegetables with Hummus Cream and Red Pepper Coulis (gluten/wheat friendly; plant-based; Garden Graze).
· Seared Verlasso Salmon with Farro Risotto and Micro Herbs.
· Strawberry Mousse with Chocolate Crisp Pearls.
· Blood Orange Agua Fresca (non-alcoholic).
· Cookie Butter Worms and Dirt (non-alcoholic).
*Photo courtesy of Disney®
Funnel Cake at American Adventure
· Mini Funnel Cake topped with Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, Blueberries, and Powdered Sugar.
· Frushi: Strawberry, Pineapple, and Cantaloupe wrapped in Sweet Rice and Pink Soy Wrap served with Whipped Cream, Drizzled Berry Sauce, and Toasted Coconut.
· Shrimp and Crab with Spicy Mayonnaise and Cucumber Slices finished with Creamy Avocado and Violet Sauce (new).
· Soy-glazed Pork Shank with Truffle Mashed Potatoes, Crispy Lotus Flower, Garlic Chips, and Green Onion.
· Sakura Zen Ale.
· Pineapple Sake.
· Blood Orange Sour with Fresh Mint (new).
· Future World East: Bloomin’ Berry: Frozen Lemon and Blackberry Syrup with a splash of Vodka (new).
· Showcase Plaza: Citrus Sunrise: Frozen Lemon and Passion Fruit with Mandarin Vodka (new).
· The American Adventure: Bubbly Brew: Jameson® Cold Brew Whiskey and Coffee with a splash of Coke® (new).
· Canada: Spring Flurry: Frozen Lemon and Cinnamon Whiskey (new).
La Isla Fresca
· Lamb Curry with Sweet Plantains and Rice (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer with Steamed Rice and Coconut-Lime Sauce (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Tropical Mousse Cup: Layers of Passion Fruit Cake, Coconut Mousse, and a Tropical Fruit Glaze with Fresh Pineapple.
· Tropical Freeze (non-alcoholic).
· Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. Hibiscus Guavacation Sour Beer, Orlando, Fla. (new).
· Tropical Freeze with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum.
· Papa Cakes: Potato Cakes filled with Shrimp and Water Chestnuts served with House-made Strawberry Sauce (new).
· Bon Bon Chicken Skewer with Sesame and Peanut Sauce.
· House-made Crab and Cheese Wontons.
· “Panda” Bubble Tea: Classic Milk Tea with Black and White Boba Pearls (non-alcoholic).
· Jasmine Draft Beer.
· Marco Boba: Amaretto, Iced Coffee, Milk, and Boba.
· Kung Fu Punch: Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango Syrup, Orange Juice, and Soda Water.
· Tang Dynasty: Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Gold, Light Rum, Strawberry Syrup, Piña Colada Mix, White Boba Pearls, and Soda Water (new).
· Crawfish Étouffée with Andouille Sausage and Dirty Rice (new).
· Cajun-style Roasted Oysters.
· House-made Boudin Two Ways with Spicy Mustard.
· Pecan Cake with Maple Whipped Cream.
· Pecan Praline.
· Bayou Cocktail: Bayou Spiced Rum, Coconut Rum, Fruit Punch, and Minute Maid Orange Juice (new).
· 81Bay Brewing Co. Orange Coriander Wheat Ale, Tampa, Fla. (new).
· Wicked Weed Brewing Day Light American Light Ale, Asheville, N.C. (new).
· Parish Brewing Co. Ghost in the Machine Double IPA, Broussard, La.
· Beer Flight.
· Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Plantain Chips.
· Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake.
· DOLE Whip® (plant-based).
· Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (non-alcoholic).
· DOLE Whip with Fanta® (non-alcoholic).
· 3 Daughters Brewing Tropical Hefe Wheat Ale, St. Petersburg, Fla. (new).
· Wicked Weed Brewing Fresh Pressed Wheat Ale with Mango, Pineapple, and Guava, Asheville, N.C. (new).
· Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company Alo’hop IPA, Lexington, Ky. (new).
· Playalinda Brewing Company Violet Lemonade Ale, Titusville, Fla.
· Florida Orange Groves Winery Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, Fla.
· DOLE Whip topped with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum.
· Pineapple Beer Flight.
· Margherita: Rustic Italian Flatbread with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella.
· Arancini: Sweet Sausage Fried Risotto Balls with Pomodoro Sauce.
· Traditional Sicilian Cannoli: Crisp Pastry filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate, and Candied Orange.
· Peroni Pilsner.
· Pinot Grigio.
· Rosa Regale.
· Italian White Sangria with Prosecco.
· Italian Red Sangria with Cabernet Sauvignon.
· Italian Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila.
· Pineapple Skewer with Tajin Seasoning (gluten/wheat friendly; plant-based; Garden Graze).
· Islamorada Beer Company Key Lime Hibiscus Ale, Ft. Pierce, Fla. (new).
· House-made Italian Sausage and Peppers Poutine (plant-based; new).
· Popsicle Trio: Honeydew, Raspberry-Mint, and Coconut-Lime (gluten/wheat friendly).
· Starcut Ciders Cidre Colada Hard Cider, Bellaire, Mich. (new).
· Cutwater Bloody Mary: Ultra-premium Vodka, All-natural Tomato Juice, and a dash of Spice (new).
· Cutwater Whiskey Mule: Black Skimmer Bourbon with Ginger Beer, a hint of Lime, and Aromatic Bitters (new).
Trowel & Trellis (this is a Plant Based booth - and super delicious, even for those of us who are not Herbivores!)
· Grilled Street Corn on the Cob with Savory Garlic Spread (gluten/wheat friendly; plant-based).
· Impossible Sausage and Kale Soup (plant-based; new).
· Boneless Impossible Korean Short Rib with Cilantro-Lime Rice, Danmuji Slaw, and Kimchee Mayonnaise (plant-based; Garden Graze; new).
· Lavender Pot de Crème with Blueberry Cake, Pink Peppercorn, and Lime Whipped Cream (plant-based; new).
· Twinings of London Energize Matcha Cranberry & Lime Green Tea (non-alcoholic; new).
· Parish Brewing Co. Bloom Hazy IPA, Broussard, La. (new).
· Twinings of London Energize Matcha Cranberry & Lime Green Tea with Hanger 1 Makrut Lime Vodka served in a Mason Jar (new).
We would love to hear from you as to what you have tried before and love, or what you are looking forward to! If you don’t have a trip on the books, your favorite Coasters & Castles Travel Agents are always ready to help your Foodie dreams become a reality!