Fabled Tables: Tales of Food and Wine, Volume 1

The Food & Wine Festival cake display outside of Wonders of Life.

Disney's Folly visited the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year for the first time. The festival celebrated its 15th anniversary with its usual assortment of marketplaces, demonstrations, seminars and other experiences. For me, though, it was an inaugural experience, not only for the festival but for visiting Walt Disney World outside of the summer months. Here is the first volume of my recollections of the festival.

For years, I'd heard what I could only imagine were tall tales of a familiar land in central Florida expanded to include kiosks serving beer, wine and assorted foots, as an accompaniment to pre-existing country pavilions. Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival has been going for 15 years strong but for most of that time, I was largely unaware of the joys contained within.

However, this year I knew that my planned trip to Walt Disney World would coincide with the Festival, something I'd been hoping to do for a few years now. I strategically booked reservations at an Epcot resort, the outstanding Yacht Club Resort, so we could be a mere stroll away from Epcot.

Hype and anticipation soon gave way to shock, and not necessarily the good kind. Arriving at Epcot early Saturday evening, we were met with a weekend crowd significantly sauced on hops, barley and fermented grapes. What have they done to my Epcot?! Awe-struck families galloping through World Showcase were replaced with overdressed hipsters and stumbling bumbling drunks.

Thankfully we realized this was more a byproduct of timing than anything else. Sure, the week would bring its collection of characters, but my wife and I navigated the Festival more adeptly on the weekdays, sampling a fair share of foods and a little bit of wine. (I am not a wine drinker.)


We recently visited Costa Rica and had the opportunity to sample amazing shrimp ceviche. The shrimp ceviche dish at the Chile marketplace was tasty, but not quite as good as what I've had before. A little heavy on the onions and not tangy enough. Also, the shrimp was slightly overcooked.

My wife sampled the Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoyed it. However, she found it a step below some of the other Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Shrimp ceviche from Chile


Brazil offered an interesting item in its grilled pork skewer with Farofa. Farofa is a toasted manioc flour mixture. The pork skewer is rolled in the flour turning it pale, not unlike the look of poultry when dredged in household white flour. The taste was very diverse, with the Farofa created a dry, crumbly exterior around the juicy, tasty pork inside. One of the more eclectic samplings I had at the Festival.

Brazil's Grilled Pork skewer dredged with Farofa and my camera flash.

Also on tap was the shrimp stew with coconut and lime. The stew had a very tropical flavor, and topped white rice quite well. The shrimp was also cooked effectively. Definitely a dish that would make well as a full meal.


Argentina provided one of the most dynamic dishes of my whole trip, the grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree. This was clearly a favorite dish among those I spoke with at the Festival and for good reason. The chimichurri sauce has a strong zest to it, in large part due to the seasonings and vinegar used to make the sauce. However it combined well with the beef and boniato puree. (Boniato is a sweet potato, though more related to the white potato than the orange yam.)