Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2013: Poland

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Ah, Polish food. Comforting, filling, stick-to-your-ribs goodness. Not necessarily what you might be looking to eat on an 87 degree day in Florida when you’re already full from eating your way halfway around World Showcase, but OK, I’m ready to try.

Poland Booth Epcot Food and Wine Fest 2013

Love the font!

So you may have read in my earlier post that I am not a fan of the Kielbasa & Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onions & Sour Cream at the booth. I try every year, and every year I’m disappointed. Enter Mr. MouseChow, who is always up for gluey dumplings and sausage. He liked it. I’m really starting to question his taste, but at least I got a pic without having to eat it again.

Kielbasa and Pierogi at Poland booth Epcot Food and Wine Fest

Looks exactly the same as past years’

This freed me up to try the Zapiekanki (Toasted Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Cheese Bread with House-made Ketchup).

Zapiekanki from Poland Epcot Food and Wine 2013


I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I would eat it again. The mushrooms, onions, cheese, and ketchup were really tasty. However I thought the bread was a little too thick and chewy. I would prefer a higher topping to bread ratio, but overall, a nice snack. And bonus points for being vegetarian, since there are so few savory veg options at Food & Wine.

But the highlight of this booth was definitely the Frozen Szarlotka (Apple Pie) featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka.

Frozen Szartlotka Poland booth Epcot Food and Wine 2013

Like frozen applesauce

This is a really yummy and different cocktail. It tastes like a good applesauce with notes of cinnamon, but with a serious vodka kick. Plus it’s frozen, a refreshing contrast to the heavier cold-weather fare at the Poland booth.

Other drink offerings are the Okacim O.K. Beer from Okacim Brewery, and Temptation Zinfandel.

Next stop: Italy!



Recipe Cards from The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney Hollywood Studios

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Today my family and I are having a lazy Sunday – watching TV, arguing with Disney folks on Twitter, drinking coffee, and generally just hanging around. I thought I might bake something, so pulled out my file of beloved recipe clippings that I return to time and time again.

As I was flipping through my file, I came across two recipe cards that I haven’t used in quite a while, and thought you might enjoy.

I picked these up at our first time eating at the Hollywood Brown Derby in 2006, in what was then Disney-MGM Studios.

Hollywood Brown Derby Recipe Cards

So cute!

We were talking with our server about how much we loved the Cobb Salad and Grapefruit cake, so she ran off and brought back these awesome recipe cards. If you know me, you know that my house is a bit of a mess. But somehow, I’ve managed to hang on to these gems through 7 years and a house move.

I’ve made the grapefruit cake several times with excellent results. Here’s the recipe card. It says right on it that it may not be reproduced without express permission…I hope that doesn’t include this picture.

Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake Recipe

Best. Cake. Ever.

And here’s the recipe for the famous Cobb Salad. I’ll admit that I haven’t been able to adequately reproduce this one at home. It’s more about the technique than the recipe, and my knife skills and patience are just not up to the task. I’m also not sure exactly what “1 each Bead Garlic, chopped” means. Maybe a clove?

Cobb Salad Recipe Brown Derby

Best. Salad. Ever.


So there you go. I was going to make bread pudding today, but now I’m thinking grapefruit cake…mmmmm.

So I’ll leave you with images of these awesome dishes as prepared by the Hollywood Brown Derby.

Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit Cake—Brown Derby Original! Light Layers of Yellow Cake with fresh Grapefruit-Cream Cheese Icing

Famous Cobb Salad

“Our Famous Cobb Salad” with Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing


Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2013: Germany

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Continuing clockwise around World Showcase, we pass right past the Brewer’s Collection (because there’s only so much one can drink without ending up at Guest Relations) and land in Germany. If you do stop at Brewer’s Collection, there are some really interesting beers to try, including the much-hyped Schofferhofer Grapefruit (which is generally better in the bottle than what I’ve gotten at Food & Wine which last year was a bit skunky) and BraufactuM Roog Smoked Wheat Beer which I am very sad that I didn’t get to try. I’ll be on the lookout for that one.

Germany booth Epcot Food and Wine Festival


But this is about the Germany booth and the food at that booth, and we DID try each of the offerings here. Sadly nothing really stands out here as a “must-try”. It’s all fine comfort food, but not terribly exciting.

First, the Schinkennudeln (Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese.)

Schinkennudeln at Germany booth Epcot Food and Wine 2013

That’s mac and cheese to you and me

It’s fine. Hard to go wrong with mac and cheese. I sort of wish they’d just leave out the ham though, so that there could be an additional vegetarian dish at Food and Wine. My vegetarian friends have precious few items that they can sample, and end up eating mostly desserts. It would be so easy to omit the ham here – it’s not doing much for the dish.

A little less successful is the Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll.

Roast Bratwurst in Pretzel Roll Germany Food and Wine 2013

“Not impressed,” says Mr. MouseChow

That’s one long brat! Overall it’s pretty mediocre, and we just didn’t really enjoy this. The roll is fine, though for some reason we like it much better at the Biergarten restaurant. If you’re a completist and must try everything at Food and Wine, then go for it, but otherwise I’d skip it.

And for dessert, there’s Apple Strudel with Werther’s Original(r) Karamel & Vanilla Sauce.

Apple Strudel at Germany booth Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Gotta love Werther’s Karamel

As you might expect, the apples, caramel, and vanilla sauce were really yummy. The crust though was sort of hard to eat – not flakey or crispy, so it made it hard to cut with the side of a fork. Still, this was my favorite dish in Germany.

The best part of eating in Germany though? Sitting at a little table near the fountain in the middle of the German pavilion while mini-MouseChow played the Agent P game and made Doofenshmirtz come out of the clock tower. (We also made a pass through Karamel Kuche and got some chocolate and caramel covered strawberries. Mmmmm….)

Chocolate and caramel strawberry at Karamel Kuchel

Best thing we ate in Germany

And ya know what? You can get this year-round.


Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2013: Cheese!

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“I’m just crackers about cheese!” – Wallace

Cheese, cheese, cheese. The most delicious, varied, and amazing food product ever invented. Oh how I love cheese.

So it stands to reason that I am consistently disappointed by the Cheese booth at the Epcot Food and Wine festival.

Cheese booth Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The sign is so promising

First for the good news. The cheese plate is not offensive. It includes:

  • La Bonne Vie Triple Creme Brie served with Apricot Jam
  • Beecher’s Flagship Reserve served with Honey
  • Wyngaard Goats Gouda with Craisin(r) Bread
Cheese plate at Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2013

In order, from mild to slightly less mild

Sorry, it looks like my goat gouda was hiding behind the Craisin(r) bread.

It’s a very simple cheese plate. Just fine, but nothing truly exciting or challenging here.

Contrast that with the VERY “challenging” Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Souffle with Fig Jam.

Blue Cheese Souffle Cheese booth Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2013

Skip it.

And by challenging, I mean icky. Seriously not good. I LOVE blue cheese, so that’s not the issue. But think of this – a hot Florida day. A fairly full stomach. Very strong blue cheese, mixed into a grainy-textured “souffle” with sticky and thick fig preserves. We ate ours near the booth, and watched at least 5 people take a first bite and…well…have you ever seen someone take their first taste of Beverly soda? it was like that. One after another went from happily enjoying their day at Epcot to wishing they’d never put this awful thing in their mouths.

One bite each and it went into the trash. So sad, but somewhat expected. Seriously, how well could they be expected to execute a cheese souffle in that booth? I think it could have benefitted from being a smaller portion served with some crostini.

If you must try it, be sure to get some wine to wash it down quickly. The Cheese booth is featuring wines from Once Upon a Vine, with adorable names. I didn’t try any of them, and am interested to hear from anyone who did. Were they any good? Your options are:

  • The Last Slipper Sauvignon Blanc
  • The Fairest Chardonnay
  • A Charming Pinot
  • The Big Bad Red Blend

Or maybe just get a Beverly to wash down that souffle.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2013: Africa

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For me, the continent of Africa and Walt Disney World are somehow entwined in my brain. I’ve never had a driving wish to visit Africa ( as I do to visit many parts of Asia and Europe), yet some of my favorite food and experiences at Disney are focused around African culture. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is by far my favorite place to stay, I adore eating at Jiko, love Harambe in Animal Kingdom, and would rather eat boboti and pap for breakfast than Tonga Toast any day.

So all of that just to say that I really, really like the food at the Africa booth at Food & Wine Festival.

Africa booth Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Right across from the Outpost

First, the Berbere Style Beef with Onions, Jalapenos, Tomato, Okra, & Pap.

Berbere Beef at Africa booth Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Okra and tomatoes – one of the best combos in the world

This is pure comfort food. (If you were raised on okra and tomatoes – otherwise you may not be so comfortable.) I do think it was a bit under spiced, and was a little oily. It honestly tasted more like food I grew up with in Louisiana than something African, which I suppose is not too surprising given the origin of many Louisiana Creole dishes. The pap was smooth and creamy, and overall I truly enjoyed this dish.

The other offering at the Africa booth is the Spinach & Paneer Cheese Pocket. It’s one of the few vegetarian dishes at the festival, and for me is usually one of the highlights. The filling is quite spicy and really delish. But this year’s pocket was a bit disappointing vs. last year’s. It’s shrunk, and the crust was not quite as flakey. Here are the comparison pics:

This year’s pocket:

Spinach and Paneer Pocket 2013 African booth


And last year’s:


Spinach and Paneer Pocket at Africa booth

Spicy veggie goodness – 2012

But as I think I’ve mentioned before (I’ve definitely thunk it – not sure if I wrote it) there seem to be wide variations in consistency at Food & Wine, so maybe it was just that day.

There are no desserts at the Africa booth, but there are three wine options. MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc (a very light white), Porcupine Ridge Syrah, and The Wolftrap Red. My choice would be the Syrah, but I really don’t enjoy drinking red wine at Food & Wine. Something about 85 degree heat, dehydration, and red wine just don’t mix for me – go figure.

So while the offerings at the Africa booth may not be for everyone, they make me really happy. And if you’ve never tried okra, this would be a solid introduction.

What did you think? Was your paneer pocket smaller this year, too?