Can you believe it's already been a YEAR since we posted about EPCOT's International Food and Wine Festival?? Where does the time go? 2018's Food and Wine Festival was just as marvelous as prior years. However, we did remind ourselves of a very harsh truth. Orlando is just TOO hot in the summer. For anyone who doesn't know, Parker and I used to live in Orlando while working for SeaWorld and Disney. One of the contributing factors to us leaving was the brutal heat and humidity. It wasn't the deciding factor, but it made the list of cons for sure. We thought we'd be okay doing a trip in mid-September, but, alas, we were wrong. Henceforth, we'll be planning our trips from October-March. (Obviously so we won't miss any of the EPCOT fests).
This isn't going to be a full review of all of EPCOT's Food and Wine offerings like we've done in the past. The honest truth is there is just SO much to try and SO much to review. So, we thought we'd just make a post highlighting some of our favorites from this year's festival. Of course, there are still tons of other booths and items, but here's our top list from 2018:
The Roasted Irish Sausage with Colcannon Potatoes and Onion Gravy is always good. This year we were very pleasantly surprised by the Guinness Baileys Shake.
We could've probably ordered two more of the shakes.
The Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread gets an honorable mention because it isn't our favorite, but it's still pretty good.
Honestly, I feel like we could write a blog post entirely of how much we love the Canada booth at Food and Wine. Every year they deliver amazingly tender filet and of course CHEESE SOUP! They know the way to our hearts.
Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll & Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce. (And a gorgeous Canadian backdrop).
10 out of 10 would recommend NOT skipping Canada.
The Cheese Studio
Hosted by Boursin Cheese
On the top of our desserts list was the Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel and Pecan Crunch from the Cheese Studio. This cheesecake WAS SO GOOD. I am a huge fan of cheesecake, so I feel like no matter what I would've loved it. But, Parker is not so much and he really enjoyed this one, so you know it's good!
Another good repeat from last year was the Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions.
One of Parker's all-time favorites.
This year's festival also brought back the Coastal Eats booth with all of the same food offerings. We enjoyed all three last year and decided to get all three again this year.
Although the crab cake was not as good as we remembered, the scampi and scallops were still some of our favorite items.
Baked Shrimp Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette,
Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-lemongrass Cream,
Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn, Butterbean Succotash and Chili-chipotle Butter Sauce.
Flavors From Fire
Last year we really enjoyed the piggy wings and the Smoked Corned Beef. This year we just sprung for the corned beef. It's a top 15 item at the festival for us.
Smoked Corned Beef with Warm Crispy Potatoes, Pickled Onions and Blonde Ale Beer Fondue featuring BelGioioso Romano and American Grana Cheeses
The Light Lab is one of our favorite additions from last year's festival for four reasons.
1) It's inside.
2) It's got tasty drinks and fun experiments.
3) It's got cool black lights and the colors overhead are constantly changing.
4) It's inside.
This year we tried the Phosphorescent Phlight which featured 3 unique slushies. Each was a different color with a different glow cube in it, and you had to guess what flavor each color was. Although we thought the guessing would be a bit more challenging, the slush was good and exactly what we needed to combat the Orlando heat.
And this pretty drink is what happens when you mix blue and purple.
The number of pictures we took in and of the Light Lab should tell you how long we spent inside their AC.
Of course Italy is always a favorite booth. There's always at least one item that ends up being a top 5. This year is was the rigatoni pasta.
Trust me when I say that this photo does not do this dish justice.
Mezzi Rigatoni- Vodka Sauce, Crispy Pancetta and Parmesan Cheese.
And although the pizza is not technically part of Food and Wine, we had to try it because it's new! The Italy pavilion in EPCOT now has the Via Napoli Pizza Window! The window currently offers three types of pizza, a couple of appetizers, and some beer, wine, and cocktails.
This pizza is very different than the pizza served at the sit-down version of Via Napoli,
but we enjoyed it all the same.
So, those were just a few of our favorites at the 2018 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival! There were plenty of other things we tried and wanted to try, but there just isn't enough time! (or room in our stomachs)
We'll close by, of course, asking to hear from everyone what their favorites were of this year's festival! Or, if you have plans to attend later in the year, what are you most looking forward to? You still have plenty of time left to enjoy 2018's Food and Wine Fest!
We will also share a few construction photos of the new Ratatouille attraction and the Disney Skyliner we took while at EPCOT between Sep 12-15.
See you next year, Food and Wine!
As promised, this week we're here to review Bier Fest part 2! Last week we reviewed our time at SeaWorld San Antonio's Bier Fest event, and this week we're taking you a few states over to review Busch Gardens Tampa's Bier Fest!
We want to start by saying that the two festivals were pretty different and it's a little hard to compare them. SeaWorld's festival focused more on the beer and had a few food samplings in one area. There was a German-themed show as well as a German band that played throughout the day, so it felt like more of themed festival than Busch Gardens did. But, overall, Busch Gardens' festival seemed a little more thought out, much bigger, and more modern. From the band to the booths, everything just felt more up-to-date. And, while we didn't really get German vibes per se, we did get mini food and wine vibes, so we LOVED it!
Much like SW San Antonio's fest, Busch Gardens offered a sampler lanyard so you could try multiple things. The big difference here was that the BG lanyard worked for food and drinks. They also offered more than just beer to drink.
Each item you choose to try equals one "hole punch" unless you want large-sized drinks. Full size beers and cocktails equals two punches. In San Antonio, each drink was one punch, but they were all sample-sized.
The Busch Gardens festival was very spread out. Not across the whole park by any means, but, it still covered a lot more area than San Antonio. This would've been really fun and enjoyable if it wasn't a billion humid degrees in central Florida. Something about that Florida heat just makes it hard to enjoy beer and hot foods outside.
Which is why it was nice to have this Garten Gate area set up in the park. This INDOOR, air-conditioned area featured another festival booth with several beers on tap as well as a variety of flatbreads.
The festival offered six booths with food, and most spots had at least three or more options to try. So, there was a lot to get to, but we did our best.
-Holy Schnitzel Sandwich with Swiss cheese and mushrooms on a soft pretzel roll
-Currywurst Knockwurst, caraway slaw, curry catsup, and pita
-Bratwurst Sandwich served on a soft pretzel roll
Tampa Pork Slider served on a pretzel bun
Fried Cheese Curds with beer cheese sauce
(Our favorite of the festival- although it's hard to beat fried cheese)
Just like in San Antonio, there were also over 100 beers on tap at Bier Fest! This festival's booths all featured different kinds of beers, but they weren't as separated out by type of beer as San Antonio's booths. There was sort of a theme to each booth, but still, you'd see some booths with stouts, lagers, and ciders. I kind of liked how San Antonio made it very clear what type of beer was served at each booth. I know what I like, so it made it easier.
One different thing about this festival as well was that there was more than just beer. Don't get me wrong, we love beer, and we know this is BIER fest after all. But, it was still nice to see some other options- especially because of that Florida heat thing we mentioned before.
Frozen drinks were very much welcomed during our time at Bier fest!
And this beer deserves a shout out. It's Hidden Springs' Peanut Butter Deja Moo Milk Stout.
One of Brittany's favorites of the festival.
And there you have it! A rundown of Busch Gardens Tampa's Bier Fest! Overall, we had a great time. Anytime you combine food, drinks, and theme parks we're happy. That is kind of our thing, after all. Both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens did a great job with their first festival!
Have any of you attended any of the SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Bier Fests? Or do you plan to? Let us know in the comments or on our social media pages, we'd love to hear your thoughts!
This past weekend we visited our home park, SeaWorld San Antonio, to check out their newest event: Bier Fest! This German-themed event features over 100 types of beer, live German entertainment, and several unique food offerings. You know we love a good food festival, so when SeaWorld announced plans for this year's newest event, we were all over it!
SeaWorld Orlando and both Busch Gardens parks are also offering Bier Fest (at different times of the year) and we're planning on visiting BG Tampa in a few days to compare our home park's festival to theirs. But for now, here are the highlights of San Antonio's Bier Fest and a few bonus construction photos of the park as well!
The festival was contained to one area of the park. When we first got there I was a bit let down because I thought it would be more spread out throughout the park. However, upon spending a mere 5 minutes in that heat/humidity, I was grateful to not have to walk far between booths.
Although there were no food sampler options for this event, there was a beer sampler lanyard. It's $25 for ten 4 oz beer samples. We each got one, which ended up being more than enough! There are a lot of beers to try, but 10 per person is a lot! Even if they are small.
There were several stands set up both right outside and inside the newly built "Biergarten." Each stand offered a few selections of a different variety of beer. There were IPA's, Bocks, Ambers, Largers, Ciders, and more!
Each stand offered 3-5 unique draught options and 2-3 bottled or canned options.
Inside the actual Biergarten there were a few more beer stands, a stage, and food booths!
Not a ton of food options here, but we think there were enough. This event is more focused on the beer and theming rather than food like Seven Seas is.
So, this amount of offerings was perfect!
Potato Pancakes with Sour Cream and Applesauce and Beer Cheese Dog.
The beer cheese dog was AWESOME! So. Much. Cheese.
The potato pancakes on their own weren't too special, but I've got to say, they paired really nicely with the dog.
As delicious as cheese is, every third bite needs to be something different. The potato pancakes were perfect for that.
Smoked jalapeno and cheese bratwurst on a stick.
Another huge hit. The sausage was really good. A perfect blend of spicy and cheesy.
A personal favorite from the festival. It was like a moist, gooey-centered coffee cake. I loved it. I wanted 4 more.
I will say, I thought this would be elevated by being warmed up slightly and served with ice cream.
But, that's just me being extra.
So, overall I'd say that we really enjoyed SeaWorld's first Bier Fest! It was a bit small and contained to one area, but, just like the Seven Seas Festival, we anticipate this to grow and grow as the years go by. We're excited to see SeaWorld create new, fun ideas for the park year-round.
This event definitely got us excited for Howl-O-Scream (starting September 28th) and this weekend's visit to Busch Gardens. AND added bonus: BG just made their 2019 announcement and 2020 "hybrid" tease announcement today which has us feeling all giddy inside for the Busch/SeaWorld family of parks.
As promised, below are photos of SeaWorld's updated construction. We couldn't see much as most of it is fenced off. But, we wanted to share!
Until next time, have a whale of a day!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!