Pairings from Poland and Beyond at the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival
I love EPCOT’s regular food and beverage offerings, perhaps to a ridiculous extent! I recently DisneyBounded as a drink from each World Showcase pavilion, from a Jalapeno Margarita (Mexico) to a Pimm’s Cup (UK). But while I have tried-and-true favorites from each of EPCOT’s permanent countries, I love to see what new lands (and cuisines) the seasonal festivals bring!
This year, when the “Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival” opened unusually early on July 15th, it mixed old favorites like the France Marketplace with new offerings from regions such as Africa and the Islands of the Caribbean.
I decided to take advantage of these new frontiers for this trip to the Food and Wine festival and sample only food and beverages from countries and regions that don’t have a permanent pavilion in the World Showcase.
It was somehow both oppressively hot and raining heavily for most of my visit to EPCOT (oh, Florida…) so I didn’t always successfully juggle an umbrella, mask, food, and a camera in order to get good pictures. Luckily, the Disney Parks Blog has high quality photos of all the festival offerings so you (or a picky family member) can always take a sneak peek at the menu ahead of time.
I’ll share the details of my favorites below and give you an ears-up on some fashion pieces that would pair nicely with these cuisines. Don’t worry: this festival currently has no scheduled end date and will run “through the fall season,” so you have plenty of time to find a pair of unique ears that showcase your excitement for these countries!
Side Note: I’m vegetarian, so this will be heavy on the plant-based meals. They are just as delicious as (and usually cheaper than) the meals for meat-eaters, so we’re not missing out!
Side Side Note: These regions appear in “clockwise” order because that’s the correct direction to walk around the World Showcase. Fight me.
Islands of the Caribbean
This Caribbean-themed food and beverage stand tries to encompass dozens of different cultures and cuisines, which is a lot to ask! I opted to eat my dessert before my dinner, trying something that I’ve never had in real life! The Flancocho Passion Fruit Cake with Coconut Flan cost me $4.25.
Mongolia (at the China Marketplace)
I spent a week in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and loved everything except the food (it’s hard for a vegetarian in a country known for fantastic beef and BBQ!) One thing that became clear was that Mongolia is very culturally distinct from its neighbors China and Russia. So even though the Mongolian dish is being served at the China Marketplace for this festival, I think it is worth celebrating!
I didn’t personally sample the Mongolian Beef Bao Bun, which costs $6.75, but word on the street is that it is delicious and will have you saying bayarlalaa “thank you!” to Disney for including this smaller nation in its festival food offerings.
While there is an Africa “area” in EPCOT year-round, this continent doesn’t have its own pavilion or restaurant and I love to see (and taste) the Africa booth at this festival! I tried the Spicy Kenyan Vegan Corn and White Beans with Pigeon Peas, Quinoa & Ancient Grains Medley and Kachumbari Slaw (Plant-based), which cost $4.50.
We love these African Kente Ears from To NeverNeverland, which feature vibrant pattens and could also do double-duty for a day at Animal Kingdom!
It was hot enough at EPCOT that by the time I got to the Brazil Marketplace I felt like stripping down to a Brazilian bikini and taking a swim in the World Showcase Lagoon!
Apparently, this is frowned upon so I had to make do with drinking like I was at Copacabana beach instead. I opted for the Frozen Caipirinha and the Brazilian Cheese Bread, which normally would cost a whopping $15.50. The booth’s register was having issues, though, so I got this meal for free!
FashionEarsta Tip: make sure you walk over to the entrance to the World Showplace Pavilion, which is between Canada and the UK (look for the Joffrey’s Coffee stand). This large convention building hosts a whole bunch of marketplaces and has scads of air conditioned seating!
Poland (At the “Wine and Dine Featuring Festival Favorites Marketplace”)
I try to learn how to say “thank you” and “beer” in the language of every country I travel to (see: the Mongolia entry of this blog post) but in Polish I also know to say przepraszam (“sorry”). So przepraszam, friends, for not trying the Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi, which cost $5.50. I’m part Polish and LOVE pierogi, so this one hurt to have to walk past!
Ireland (At the “Wine and Dine Featuring Festival Favorites Marketplace”)
Ireland doesn’t have its own marketplace booth as it has in previous years, but inside the World Showplace you can still find one Irish food (Fisherman’s pie) and beverage.
I won’t get into a political explanation of the United Kingdom vs. Great Britain and the colonization of Ireland, but although you can find Guiness and Harp lagers at the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion year-round, Ireland isn’t actually part of the UK. I’m very happy to see the nation make an appearance at this festival! I opted for the Guinness Baileys Milkshake, which cost $11.00
It might be cliché, but this St. Patrick’s Day Beer Stein and Clover headband from SewSweetBoutiqueCo definitely conveys “I am here to drink Irish beer” and it conveys that message loudly.
Greece (At the “Wine and Dine Featuring Festival Favorites Marketplace”)
Greek food is my biggest weakness (my all-time favorite food is olives), so I was thrilled to find a plant-based option to represent Greece at this year’s festival!
The Spanakopita, which only cost $4.25, did not pair well with my Guiness Bailey’s Milkshake, let me tell you. Learn from my mistake and order these delicious treats separately!
While you could argue that Hawai’i is technically represented year-round by EPCOT’s American Pavilion, it has its own culture and cuisine distinct from the mainland United States. Plus I will take any excuse to imbibe pineapple products! You can find Dole Whip Soft serve (with or without rum!) at the Refreshment Port marketplace near Canada, but I chose to chill with an AULANI Sunrise (Vodka, DOLE® Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine) for $14.00 here at the Hawai’i Marketplace.
There are hundreds of Hawaiian Minnie Ears out there; here are just a few!
Alright, I think that concludes my mini tour of all the Food and Wine festival countries and regions that aren’t usually represented in the World Showcase. Did I miss any? Please tell me that I did so I have an excuse to return and eat my way around the world again (not that I need an excuse!)
Let me know your favorite dishes and delicacies from this year’s festival in the comments, and make sure to show us your ears (especially if they’re food and wine inspired!) Let me know what you’re most looking forward to in the comments below, or on our Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram pages!
Until then, be safe and keep rocking those ears!
Pixie dust and glamour!
The Fancy Floridian