Monday, October 5, 2009

Food and Whine

I look forward to the Epcot Food and Wine event every year. Although I first discovered it only a few years ago, I have gone every year since for at least 2 sometimes as many as 4 days (not consecutively mind you). This year I attended the weekend of October 2nd and have a bloated review.All over the internet you will find lots of reviews of the food and the events. I have a family that I take with me to the event and currently it is not possible for me to attend any of the events other than those that are part of the basic tour. So I will keep my comments about the food you can find around the world. Moreover, I am more a fan of my wine made with malted hops and amber wheat; Belgian or German, Stout or Ale. So it is with great excitement that I prepare to go to the food and wine.

This year our plan was to attend on both Friday and Saturday of the weekend. We decided to go to Epcot the entire day of Friday, then on Saturday, enjoy Magic Kingdom and then hop the monorail around 4:00 PM to go and eat wherever we had missed the day before.We entered the world showcase and decided to go toward Mexico. We had a child that was planning a purchase at China and we wanted to make them happy early so that we could be happy the rest of the time. We bought some cheese at the Mouse Catch for the kids and then moved on. We hit the Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Mexico City booths around Mexico and I was unhappy that the only brew they were dispensing was bottled Dos XX’s. This is the standard beer in the Mexico pavilion so I was disappointed. We did enjoy the food immensely, and we had a chance to drop into the Tequila Lounge inside the pavilion. I will save my review of the new addition for a later post.

As we left we tried some offerings from Poland (very good Pierogie but could have been crisper) but found the offerings to be very sparse from Mexico to Germany with only Shanghai, New Delhi, and Poland in between. the Shanghai was good but the New Delhi was not anything exceptional. When we rounded the Africa Outpost, they booths became more interesting including more beverage offerings. Cape Town had a great soup and a decent beef tenderloin, although the sweet potato puree and mango barbecue could have been a desert it was so sweet. Bangkok’s coconut soup was great although being warm out two soups in a row began to be too much. Melbourne had a wonderful lamb chop, even though the one I received was half the size of the one purchased by someone else in the party.

As we approached the German pavilion, we were getting a little full, but that didn’t stop me from trying the Spatze at Munich and wash it down with a great Spaten Octoberfest. We decided to take a bit of a break here and sit a while in the American pavilion. The kids were getting a little tired and we were getting too full to enjoy ourselves. We knew we were coming back on Saturday so why spoil it. Besides some of the best booths were still ahead. I did jump into the Hops and Barley booth for a Sam Adams Anniversary Festival beer (very good by the way) and a crab cake (good as well). Afterwards we decided to sit and wait for Off Kilter while I enjoyed something from the brewer’s collection (located in the middle of the park this year instead of by the UK which was a good choice). Afterwards I jumped into the Rose and Crown for a Half and Half to enjoy with the band.

At this point we left world showcase to jump on all of our fast passes (we had saved our Test Track and Soarin passes) and then leave before Illuminations so the kids could get some rest before tomorrow.
After a wonderful day at Magic Kingdom we arrived at Epcot ready to conquer the rest of the foods. Much to our sadness and dissatisfaction it was so crowded it was unbearable. We waited on average between 10 and 15 minutes in the Santiago, Chili and Athens Greece lines. They were out of some items and as we approached the Montreal looking forward to the Cheese soup from last year we realized that it was going to be another 20 minutes.

There was no place to sit and we were getting very frustrated just wandering from the showcase towards the UK. I really wanted to get to the Cork pavilion since we had heard such good talk about the Fisherman’s Pie. We waited in line and got some wonderful food but they were out of Guinness. I tried to jump into the Rose and Crown and couldn’t even get to the door. Trying to get something for my family to drink, water, soda, anything was futile. It was either empty (fish and chips were not serving anything) and several of the refreshment booths were backed up serving beer only.

On top of this there was a Party for the Senses beginning between the Canada and UK pavilion and hundreds of well dressed persons were waiting around for it to start. Trying to feed the kids something while trying to taste foods was getting to become a disaster. We decided to cut our losses and go to the resort for some dinner and swimming.

Needless to say, we missed most of booths between around Italy and from Japan to the UK. Perhaps we were just too foolishly optimistic regarding the crowds on a Saturday after having such a great day the Friday before, but next year we won’t make that mistake. If we go back on a Saturday we will go early (from 11 to 4 before the crowds build) and will maybe even take an extra day off of work to enjoy the party on Thursday.

Although my family really does enjoy the Food and Wine festival, with children it does become the Food and Whine tour. Maybe next year, it will be time to go to the festival without the kids. I’m just afraid I will feel like I’m missing something.

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