Our Guide to Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival


Disney’s 53-day culinary celebration kicks off Sept. 19 when the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival returns for its 19th year. Through Nov.10, the park’s World Showcase Promenade will host more than 25 ethnic and specialized food-and-beverage stops, including the new Patagonia and Farm Fresh marketplaces.

New This Year
Among the many new elements unveiled for this year’s festival, Late Nights LIVE is sure to be the most popular. This after-hours street party runs from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. each Thursday and features six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces as well as live music and entertainment. Tickets are $79 plus tax and do not require extra Epcot admission. More info here.

On Friday, October 24, Disney chefs will pay homage to Walt Disney through a culinary tribute featuring interactive cooking stations scattered throughout the ShowPlace Events Pavilion. Dining Through the Decades—A Tribute to Walt Disney runs from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $99 for general admission and $119 for reserved seating. Admission to Epcot is required and not included in event price.

Also new this year are a 5-course Italian White Truffle & Wine Pairing Dinner, a Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing at the new Spice Road Table restaurant, and a new Sunday Morning brunch series showcasing 8 renowned pastry chefs and bakers from across the country.

Sampling iinternational bites throughout Wolrd Showcase is just one way to dive in to the festivsl. Specials events, workshops and classes will help you dive in even further.

Sampling international bites throughout World Showcase is just one way to experience the festival. Special events, dinners, workshops and classes will help you dive in even further.

Not-To-Miss Fêtes
The Festival’s grand culinary tour, “Party for the Senses,” is slated for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 7:30-10 p.m. inside the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion where guests will be treated to a night of dining mastery courtesy of Disney’s famed chef team. Interactive and educational stations will give attendees the chance to taste and learn throughout the night. Three ticket options offer a variety of levels ranging from $149 general admission to $299 Vine View Lounge tickets, which include early admission. Additional dates for this event are: October 4, 11, 18, 25 and November 1, 2014.

The Eat to the Beat concert series returns with a line-up of alfresco entertainment including The Pointer Sisters, Air Supply and Wilson Phillips. Concerts take place daily at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m.

Interactive Culinary Classes
Of the several dozen culinary classes, workshops, pairings and demonstrations offered at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the one we’re most excited about is the new Boot Camp Series. These two-hour workshops offered on select Sundays will pair participants with culinary experts in everything from cake decorating to pickling. See the full roster here.

Also on our radar are the new “Food for Thought” sessions, which will take place on select Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. This series has invited a slew of celebrity chefs (including Norman Van Aken) to share tips and personal insights about the culinary fare they share in their cookbooks. Tickets to these interactive events are $169 per person; Epcot admission required and not included.

Know Before You Go
If you’re looking for the least crowded times to check out this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, plan to attend midweek and as soon as the World Showcase opens, which is daily at 11 a.m.

While all stations take cash and plastic, using preloaded cards makes it easier to budget and moves you through lines quicker.

Back to Basics seminars, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts and all park attractions are included with Epcot admission, however, premium wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission.

Grab a program at the Festival Center when you arrive and map out your day, including “must taste” dishes in the Marketplaces. Save room for what you want to sample most, as it’s almost impossible to try all 25 Marketplaces.

If you’re going to a “Party for the Senses,” don’t be in a hurry – arrive a few minutes late, even. The crowd quickly disperses, and later in the evening the lines ease. They never run out of food or drink, so enjoy the live entertainment and take your time.

Try This at Home

One of this year’s most anticipated new dishes is the Grilled Verlasso Salmon, which will be served at the Argentina Marketplace. We have a feeling you’ll love it so much you’ll want to attempt it in your kitchen. So, we scrounged up the recipe for you. Enjoy!

A Patagonia Marketplace will debut with a menu featuring fresh, sustainable roasted Verlasso Salmon, Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri.

The Patagonia Marketplace will debut with a Verlasso Salmon, Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri that’s sure to be among the most sought-after dishes at the festival.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri
Serves 6

1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 5- to 6-ounce Verlasso salmon fillets, skin removed

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad Dressing
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per instructions (makes approximately 3 cups cooked), cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

For salmon:
1. Combine garlic salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in small bowl. Place salmon in large zip-top bag and add liquid, turning fillets to evenly coat.
2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before cooking.
3. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Cover 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced.
4. Bake 15 minutes or until the salmon easily can be flaked apart with a fork.

For chimichurri sauce:
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed or until ingredients are evenly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For quinoa salad dressing:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For quinoa salad:
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and toss with Quinoa Salad Dressing.

To serve:
Equally divide Quinoa Salad between serving plates, top with salmon fillet and drizzle with Chimichurri Sauce.

Cook’s note: Verlasso salmon is sustainable and farm-raised; you can use any fresh, high-quality salmon in this recipe.

Feature image credit: Chloe Rice