By Holley Long
It’s that time of year again: EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival is here for 2023! With menus featuring unique culinary delights, you can sample delicacies at food booths, or global marketplaces, throughout the park.
The number of dishes and sips to try can be quite overwhelming, though, so we’ve pulled together five must-try items at the festival this year!
Traditional Buffalo Wings (Brew-Wing Lab)
Located at the large Odyssey Pavilion near the start of the World Showcase is Brew-Wing Lab, a Muppet-themed marketplace with an assortment of interestingly flavored wings, drinks, and plant-based dishes (not sure what you’re in the mood for? The Muppets made a flow chart to help you figure it out).
Call me classic, but I can’t resist standard buffalo sauce-flavored wings, and the ones on the Brew-Wing menu taste like something from a sports bar. They have just the right amount of spice without being overwhelming, and the celery and ranch served with the dish helps to cool down any fire. Don’t be surprised if you immediately want seconds.
Other items at the marketplace: Orange-Cardamom Wings; Impossible™ Buffalo Chicken Tenders with Plant-Based Blue Cheese, Plant-Based Ranch and Celery; Unnecessarily Spicy, Yet Extremely Tasty Scotch Bonnet Pepper-Curry Wings with Cool Cucumber Yogurt; Peanut Butter and Jelly Sticky Wings; Garlic-Parmesan Wings; Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Buffalo Sauce, Plant-Based Blue Cheese and Plant-based Ranch; Pickle Milkshake; Frozen Fusion: Twinings Pomegranate and Raspberry Herbal Tea fused with Orange Ice Cream Molecules; assorted beers and ciders
Beignet aux Trois Fromages (France)
The line at the food booth in the France Pavilion is typically quite long, no matter what festival is underway, but with good reason: the dishes are spectacular. The menu hasn’t changed much over the last few years—which tells you how good each item is for them to have become staples.
The Beignet aux Trois Fromages in particular is a constant winner. As the name suggests, it’s a savory pastry filled with a three-cheese blend, and it’s topped with a crust of melted cheese. Pro tip: break the pastry in half so the cheese blend in the middle pours onto your plate, and use it as a makeshift fondue. Bon Appetit, indeed!
Other items at the marketplace: Croissant aux Escargots; Boeuf Bourguignon, Pommes Dauphine; Crème Brûlée Vanille a la Confiture de Fraises; Parisian Cosmo Slush; Strawberry Rose Mimosa; assorted wines.
Sunrise Sake (Japan)
The Food and Wine Festival is known for its, well, food, but it’s also known for its menus of creative beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. For attendees 21 and over, one beverage to try is at the booth in the Japan Pavilion.
The drink is the Sake Passion Cocktail. Sake is a Japanese beverage made from fermented rice, and it often has a sweet and fruity flavor. The sake cocktail at the Japan booth tastes like orange juice, and not at all like alcohol, but it’s in there (keep that in mind before you order three in a row).
Other items at the marketplace: Fire Taiko Roll, Beef Wa-Gyu Don, Teriyaki Chicken Bun, Moon on the Water Sake, Brew Hub Momo Amber Ale
Adobo Yuca Fries (The Fry Basket)
A popular booth last year, The Fry Basket has returned to the Food and Wine Festival. The booth was well-known last year for its flight of sea salt and malt vinegar fries, barbecued bacon fries, and sweet potato casserole fries, and while that’s still a hit, I wouldn’t sleep on another returning menu item.
The Adobo Yuca Fries are thick cut fried potatoes covered in a garlic-cilantro aioli. The fries are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and each bite melts in your mouth. The aioli is savory and has a decent kick to it. The dish is also plant-based, so people with dietary restrictions can enjoy it, too.
Other items at the marketplace: Fry Flight, Pickle Fries with Dill Ranch, Salty Dog Cocktail
Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake (Italy)
You can’t leave the festival without indulging your sweet tooth, of course. There are a number of tasty desserts this year, but since I still haven’t met a cheesecake I don’t like, I have to highlight the one at the booth in the Italy Pavilion.
The lemon ricotta cheesecake is topped with vanilla cream and strawberry compote. Each flavor stands out in the sweet treat, and they pair well with each other to create a dessert that is not only delicious but refreshing on a hot day.
Other items at the marketplace: Focaccia Ripiena, Cavatelli with Sweet Sausage Ragout and Crispy Applewood-Smoked Bacon, assorted Italian wines and cocktails
Other Global Marketplaces
The countries in the World Showcase each have a marketplace serving food and beverages inspired by their cultures, but there are a few other booths featuring other unique cuisines. Here’s a list of the non-country-related booths:
- Shimmering Sips hosted by CORKCICLE
- Flavors from Fire
- Coastal Eats
- The Noodle Exchange – Open August 15
- Char & Chop – Open September 22
- Wine & Wedge – Open September 22
- Bubbles & Brine – Open September 22
- Swirled Showcase – Open September 22
These booths feature everything from artisanal cheeses to frozen treats to campfire-inspired favorites.
What Else to Expect at the Festival
Up for a fun activity, and a cheesy challenge? You can participate in Emile’s Fromage Montage. Enjoy five dishes from a list of cheese-based favorites, collect a stamp for each one on your Festival Passport, then turn in the passport at Shimmering Sips to receive a unique specialty item.
For music fans, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series will include performances from local talent and popular artists including The Fray, Philip Phillips, and Joey Fatone. The shows are held each night of the festival at the America Gardens Theatre in the American Adventure Pavilion.
The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is always a fun event to say goodbye to summer and welcome fall. As always, though, if you attend the festival, have a plan for which global marketplaces you definitely want to hit, and list out all of your own must-try dishes and drinks, so you can make the most of this once-a-year festival!
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