Ryan and I unplugged yesterday and drove to Orlando in the early afternoon for a day at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival!
Temperatures peaked right around 80 degrees, so the weather was absolutely perfect for a day at Disney!
We were invited to the park to attend an evening event sponsored by Driscoll’s, the family-owned berry company based in California, but arrived several hours early so we could have a little day date at Epcot!
(Was anyone else a fan of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers as a child? I saw this hat and immediately started singing, “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale! Rescue Rangers!”)
Ryan and I have been to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot one time before (when I had my major freak-out on Mission Space and discovered I’m claustrophobic), so we were ready to dive into the festival again and try food and drinks from various countries.
Before making our way around the park, we made a beeline for Soarin’, the IMAX projection ride that simulates hang gliding over California. During the ride, as we soared over Yosemite and Napa Valley, the smell of pine trees and orange groves hit our noses. I swear, Disney thinks of everything!
We did a couple other smaller rides in the same area before exploring the countries in Epcot. For those of you who have never been to Epcot before, it is home to the World Showcase, a collection of international pavilions that feature shops, attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of 11 different countries.
Say hello to the United Kingdom!
To my wonderful United Kingdom readers, does this look like home!?
We spent time in all of the countries, including China and Italy featured below.
We bought food and drinks from the little booths set up around the park and our favorite dishes of the day came from South Korea and France.
The lettuce wraps we purchased from South Korea were topped with roast pork and kimchi slaw and tasted incredible.
In France, we bought the Coq au Vin sur Gratin de Macaroni.
It doesn’t look like much on the plate, but the macaroni gratin underneath the braised chicken was very rich and cheesy. My favorite dish of the day!
Ryan liked it, too!
At around 4:45 p.m., we met up with a bunch of other Orlando-area bloggers and writers at the Festival Center for the Driscoll’s event.
To kick off the event, everyone was served a glass of FroZin, a dessert wine from Meeker Vineyards, featuring fresh Zinfandel aromas and flavors.
As someone who generally loves sweet dessert wines, I liked it immediately!
The wine was paired with three different dishes created by celebrity chef Jon Ashton who was absolutely bursting with personality.
The first dish we sampled was a brie and blackberry wonton that featured roasted Driscoll’s blackberries.
I’ve never roasted berries before and I couldn’t believe how much the flavor of the blackberries developed in the oven. They were warm and sweet and paired perfectly with the salty, creamy brie.
Up next was the strawberry bruschetta that took the cake for me! The combination of sweet strawberries, balsamic and ricotta had quite a few of us promising to make this recipe as soon as possible!
The third recipe from Chef Jon was a turkey meatball served with a savory blueberry jam that I may have to make again for dinner this evening! I have permission to share these recipes with you guys, so if any of them interest you, please let me know and I’ll be sure to type them up for you.
During the tasting, after Chef Jon explained each of the dishes, Dr. Wendy Bazilian chimed in to explain the health benefits of the berries featured in each recipe. She highlighted the fiber and vitamin C content of the berries, as well as the antioxidant benefits and more. I ended up talking with Dr. Wendy in depth at dinner and she is a wealth of knowledge concerning food and nutrition.
Following the presentation at Epcot, our group met up at Wolfgang Puck’s in Downtown Disney for dinner.
Our meal began with spring rolls!
We each had one and the spring rolls set the tone for the delicious meal ahead.
The salad course featured a mixed green salad with a goat cheese crostini and I cleared my plate with no trouble. Despite snacking away in the park all day, I was hungry!
For my entrée, I selected the salmon that came in a lobster butter sauce.
The sauce made the dish! It was so indulgent!
Dessert included chocolate cheesecake served with fresh Driscoll’s berries.
I was pretty full by this point and ended up eating my berries and about 2/3 of my cheesecake before throwing in the towel.
Dinner was a lot of fun and I loved meeting some of the Driscoll’s team and chatting with Dr. Wendy and my friend and fellow blogger, Ricky.
Ryan and I didn’t arrive back in Ocala until close to midnight, so I’m moving a little slow this morning.
Time to play catch up today!
November Book Club Winner
We’ll discuss this book on the blog on December 4!