Fresh Bets for Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

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With everything from an edible flower garden to delightful topiaries of Elsa and Anna from Disney’s blockbuster “Frozen,” the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a splashy treat for the senses, running through May 30.

The culinary fun grows with 13 Outdoor Kitchens (up from last year’s 11) including a new Caribbean kitchen, La Isla Fresca, featuring Jamaican braised beef with pigeon-pea rice and jerk-spiced grouper or chicken with mango salsa, and a new Cider House kitchen with specialties from the United Kingdom like a lemon scone with crème fraiche.  The kitchens line World Showcase Lagoon, making it easy to nosh and stroll through the gorgeous gardens of each country.

Florida beverages are well represented, from ciders and beers to tropical wines. At the Florida Fresh kitchen, you’ll see a kale salad, Florida larder board and shrimp and grits paired with Key Lime Sparkling Wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery in St. Petersburg, Fla., plus Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale from Florida Beer Company in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Acai German Hefeweizen from Shipyard Brewing in Clearwater, Fla.  The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews is grilling beef and pork accompanied by Florida Hefeweizen from Funky Buddha in Oakland, Park, Fla., Uncle Matt’s Organic Grapefruit Pale Ale from Orlando Brewing Company, 3 Daughters Rod Bender Red Ale from St. Petersburg, and Shipyard Maple Bacon Stout from Clearwater, Fla.

Edible Orlando editors Katie Farmand and Pam Brandon will be onstage at the Festival Center with Heather McPherson during Florida Fresh Weekend (April 29-May 1). Focusing on our state’s edible bounty, guest speakers will include producers from Tropical Blossom Honey, Waterkist Farms, and Lightsey Cattle Company.

Our friends from Pentair Aquatic Ecosystems will take the stage during Earth Day Weekend (April 22-24) along with Jason Danaher, PhD to present Aquaponics: Good for Nature, Good for You. Guests can see Pentair’s exhibit adjacent to Urban Farm Eats every day during the festival.

On Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-29), Edible Orlando Publisher Kendra Lott will welcome guests from The Edible Schoolyard and YMCA Central Florida to discuss urban gardens, and delegates from Slow Food Orlando to share their stories from the recent international Slow Fish Conference in New Orleans.

For more information, visit epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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