Happy Fall (and by Fall I mean September) y’all! Okay I know in most of America it’s still summer but down here in Orlando with the Halloween parties going strong and the Food and Wine Festival running we’re definitely in full Fall mode (extra funny because it’s still scorching hot). We went to the very first day of the 2017 Food and Wine Festival last week, we have so many more trips to make and I have a bunch more posts (and videos) coming but here’s a look at our first trip!
So a little intro first, the Food and Wine Festival is one of the biggest events of the year in Walt Disney World, it runs from late August until early November every day and is a free (non-ticked) event so your park ticket gets you access. You do need to pay for all the food and drinks although there are some free events and seminars (most are an extra cost though). Food tends to run between $4-$7 and drinks are more in the $8-$13 range usually.
We’ll have a post coming soon that’s more of a “tips” post but I did want to say we strongly encourage you to think about the Food and Wine Festival as a typical eating out in Disney sort of meal that will run you around $30 a person depending on how hungry you are and how many drinks you want to try.
For my allergy friends I also want to point out my BIGGEST tip which is to ASK QUESTIONS! The Festival provides you with a “Passport” (free and at all the kiosks) that gives you the menu for every booth. What’s really handy is that these are labeled for “gluten friendly” and for “vegetarian.” However, as helpful as it is to know what’s designated as “gluten friendly,” there are a LOT of dishes that are either gluten friendly but not marked in the book or can easily be modified to be gluten friendly. We’re not really sure why some safe items go unmarked, sometimes it’s a cross contamination issue but other times even the chefs don’t know why something isn’t marked so I just really really encourage you to speak up and ask questions when something seems possible. The cast members at the festival are SO friendly and SO happy to help and really just spectacular examples of Disney magic so please, if something sounds good and potentially safe, ask about it!
Okay, one last thing before we get to what you’re all here for- the food- and that’s the decorations. I fell totally in love with the artwork they did for the festival. The Remy (who is basically the icon of the festival) is adorable and there are hidden Remys everywhere. The posters all around the showcase are amazing too, each one features a landmark from a particular country but made out of food related to the cuisine of that country (for example, the Greek one is the Parthenon and the roof of the building is a Spanakopida!).
Oh okay, one last note, David and I wore our Around the World tees from our shop. What’s great about this tee is that we’re actually donation $5 from every tee sold to Second Harvest Food Bank here in Orlando so in this time of all these amazing food experiences we’re hoping to be able to really give back to this area!
Food time! The first day we mostly focused on hitting some of our old favorites from last year although we did sneak a few new things in too. We’re going back this week (and every week haha) so I’ll be reporting back as I try more things! I am only going to be talking about Gluten Free foods today but we will talk about David’s experience with gluten-containing items in the future.
The first stop of the day was France where I started with the Creme Brûlée with Raspberry Jam. Oh my goodness was it amazing! I was honestly a little skeptical about mass produced creme brûlée (that it might get some of that scrambled egg taste) but this was perfectly good, had a crisp top, and the whole thing with the berries just came together to be super delicious.
Our next stop was my favorite booth of the festival- Brazil! Brazil and Mexico both are unique booths because every item is marked as “Gluten Friendly” meaning the cross contamination risk is basically zippo AND I like the feeling of being able to enjoy everything without modification! We got the Cheese Bread and the Pork Belly.
The Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo, made from tapioca) is always my favorite dish because, I mean, CHEESE BREAD! It’s also quite cheap and always delicious. The Pork Belly is hit or miss, the beans it’s served with are always spot on but sometimes the pork comes out a bit chewier. It’s always good but when you get a perfectly cooked piece it’s just heavenly, when you don’t it’s just okay.
At this point in the festival we went home, the first day of the 2017 Food and Wine Festival was nightmarishly hot, I think the weather said it was like 95 degrees but felt like 107 or some madness like that. We were absolutely 100% melted and dead so we went back home, got some work done, and came back to the festival later on when it had cooled down.
First we got what’s probably my second favorite dish from last year, the Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri and Boniato Puree. The meat is always so good and flavorful and the Boniato is like a really tasty interesting mashed potato but the real star is that Chimichurri sauce. It’s so incredibly good and refreshing, it’s sort of like a more lemony-fresh tasting pesto, it’s delicious and I want it on eh-very-thing!
Next we stopped by Australia where my friend Chelsea (@styledbymagic) got the Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp. Her and her husband really liked it, they said it was spicy but the pineapple was fantastic and balanced it out. I’m honestly not a sweet and spicy person but I will probably get it at some point just for the sake of trying it. I WAS, however, very impressed with the portion of shrimp they give you for just $5.25!
Alright, the next stop was a true festival classic- Canada! I got the Filet Minion with Mushroom Truffle sauce and the ice wine. David and I first tried ice wine in Le Cellier and fell totally in love with it (not with the hefty price tag though). It’s made from frozen grapes (they freeze on the vine before being harvested) and is so sweet and flavorful and delicious! We don’t like to spend too much on festival drinks but this one is a definite YES for us!
The steak is usually cooked well done and we’re more medium-rare people so I always find it chewy (we understand they probably do this because they have to serve everyone’s taste) BUT that truffle sauce is the star for me. I love just about anything truffle so I really like to just smother the steak in it (I’ve been known to ask for extra sauce haha).
Next we headed over to the Chocolate lab to get the Nitro Chocolate Truffle. It’s a fun dessert, not the tastiest thing at the festival, but I always like to get it at least once just because it’s such a fun presentation. They blast freeze the chocolate in a ball shape and then smash it and top it with GENEROUS amounts of caramel sauce. Good, not great, but very fun!
Our last stop of the night was at the Mexico booth where we got the Tequila Chipotle Shrimp served on a Black Bean Huarache with cabbage, Queso Fresco, and Crema Mexicana. The huarache is really the star here surprisingly. Somehow (probably exhaustion haha) at first I didn’t realize it was there and wasn’t a fan of the dish but once I realized it and got a bite of everything together it was like magic. It’s spicy but the sauce is creamy and crunchy and it all just came together to be delicious, SUPER MESSY, but delicious!
And that’s it guys! Like I said before, we are heading back all the time to try more things and I’ll be writing more posts. I’m hoping to be able to very soon combine a sort of index so you can find each item more easily but I need a few more items tried and reviewed first. We also have a blog on our brand new YOUTUBE CHANNEL coming out on Tuesday about our first day so be on the lookout for that!
Have you been to the festival yet? Are there items you’d like us to try and review or find out if they’re gluten free? Let us know!