One of my favorite happenings at Walt Disney World is the International Food and Wine Festival here at EPCOT. Since it’s inauguration in 1993, it has been a guest favorite. This year’s 16th annual festival returns (September 30th to November 13th) with over 25 authentic samplings from around the world, a chance to obtain some fantastic “Know-how” from famous Culinary experts and, of course, the popular “Eat to the Beat” concerts at the American Garden’s Theater all awaits the crowds.
For 2011, the theme is…”A Passport to a World of Flavors” According to Event Content Manager Michael Jenner, “We introduced the Marketplace Passport last Year and it was a huge hit with our Guests.” The program lists all of the available choices at the Marketplaces, and when you sample each item, you get a stamp to check them off your list. Disney Passholders can obtain a passport at a Disney Vacation Club kiosk or the festival’s welcome center. There are three new Marketplaces this year: Hawai’i, the Caribbean Islands and Portugal. Also for 2011, don’t forget the separate ticketed events, The Discovery of Chocolate, Sundays at 2:45pm where you can taste and learn about chocolate from a professional chocolatier. You can Sample desserts, paired wines and beverages with a bit of spirit in them. There will be a Mixology Seminar at the Vineyard Stage at 6:30pm. Here you will learn cocktail recipes and techniques and get to sample some of the concoctions. Here is a rundown on the events for 2011…
The International Marketplace… Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Caribbean (New), Mexico, Scandinavia, China, South Korea, South Africa, Cheese, Brewer’s Collection, Germany, Poland, Italy, Fife and Drum, Hops and Barley, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Morocco, Portugal (New), Belgium, France, Ireland, Canada, Greece, Desserts and Champagne, Hawai’i (New), Craft Beers (New)
Eat to the Beat Concert Series…Taylor Dayne: 9/30-10/2/11 – 38 Special: 10/3-5/11- Jon Secada: 10/6-7/11 – Roger Hodgson formerly of Supertramp: 10/8-9/11- Billy Ocean: 10/10-12/11- Starship starring Mickey Thomas: 10/13-16/11- Sugar Ray: 10/17-19/11- The Orchestra starring former members of ELO: 10/20-21/11- Howard Jones: 10/22-23/11- Boyz II Men: 10/24-26/11- Gin Blossoms: 10/27-28/11- Sister Hazel: 10/29-30/11- Hanson: 10/31-11/1/11- The Pointer Sisters: 11/2-3/11- Night Ranger: 11/4-6/11- Air Supply: 11/7-8/11- Richard Marx: 11/9-10/11- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: 11/11-13/11. Note: The above schedule could change at any time due to unforeseen circumstances.
Special Festival Experiences… New Seminars by HGTV Designers… Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, Vern Yip, “HGTV Design Star “and “HGTV Urban Oasis” – Oct. 7 – 9, Monica Pedersen, “Designed to Sell” – Oct. 14 – 16, Erin Loechner, “Design Happens” – Oct. 21 – 23, Taniya Nayak, “Designed to Sell – Oct. 28 – 30, Kim Stoegbauer, “On-line Party Inspiration” – Nov. 4 – 6, Lisa LaPorta, “Designed to Sell”- Nov. 11 – 13, Emily Henderson, “Secrets from a Stylist” and Season 5 winner of “HGTV Design Star” Select Saturdays, October 8, 15 and 22, and November 5 and 12 from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. (Wine View Lounge: 7:15 to 10:00 p.m.)
.Premium Events… (Reservations open August 16, 2011 at 7:00 a.m.) “Party for the Senses” You will have a reserve seat at the Eat to the Beat concert, then a chance to sample the stations of World Showplace Events Pavilion. You can upgrade to the Wine View Lounge. Enjoy a reserved table in a special area, a 15 minute early entrance before general admission, premium bar, cheese station and more. On Select Saturdays, October 8, 15 and 22, and November 5 and 12 from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. (Wine View Lounge: 7:15 to 10:00 p.m.) Cost: $145 per person, plus tax. Wine View Lounge is an extra $115 (a total of $260 per person, plus tax). Gratuity is included. Epcot admission required.
The Magic of a Healthy Dinner… (New) Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern from “Bizarre Foods” – Food Network’s Chris Cosentino from “Chefs vs. City” – Bravo’s Brian Voltaggio from “Top Chef”- Here They’ll demonstrate how to prepare a 4-course meal and, non-alcoholic beverages. At the Festival Welcome Center on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Cost: $95.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included.
“Kitchen Memories” (New)…Learn how to prepare a 3 course lunch. At the Festival Welcome Center on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Cost: $110 and $150 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “First Bites Opening Reception” Sample treats from the marketplace and experience other highlights. Be the first to sample the Festival before it opens. At the Festival Welcome Center on Thursday, Sept. 29 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Cost: $175 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Vertical Wine Tasting” Enjoy 10 different wines, hosted by wine master Ted Edwards. At the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Cost is$225 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Epcot Wine Schools” Learn all about wines and earn a certificate at the end. In the Wonders Retreat, Festival Welcome Center on Select Sundays. Class from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., light reception from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Cost is $135 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Food & Wine Pairings” Enjoy 3 wines and 3 portions from Japan and Morocco. Japan Tastings: Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at Tokyo Dining, Japan Pavilion. Morocco Tastings: Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco Pavilion. Cost is $55 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Cheese Seminars” Learn all about cheeses and what wines and beers they are paired with. At the Festival Welcome Center on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Cost is $75 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining” Experience lavish meals and wine pairings at Disney’s Signature restaurants. Call 407-939-3378 for reservations, restaurants and prices.
Sweet Events and Experiences… “The Discovery of Chocolate” (New), Sample chocolate and chocolate presentations with spirited beverages $70.00 per person. At the Festival Welcome Center on select Sundays from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m.
“3D” Disney Dessert Discovery” Taste Cordials and Desserts and have a private viewing of Illuminations, $55.00 per person. An upgrade to “Sweet Seats” will cost an additional $25.00 per person. At the World Showplace Events Pavilion on Fridays, Oct. 7, 14 and 21 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., and Fridays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 and 11 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.
“Sweet Sundays”…Enjoy a Breakfast Buffet with wines and desserts. At the Festival Welcome Center on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Cost is $90 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included.
Premium Mexican Events…”Mexico Tequila Lunch” (New) at the Mexican Pavilion. Sample Mexican cuisine and Tequila. $65.00 per person, Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. And “Tequila Tasting” at La Cava del Tequila, Mexico Pavilion. Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. $45.00 per person.
Premium Italian Events… “Italy Food & Beer Pairing “( NEW) Sample Italian desserts and wine at the Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy Pavilion on Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm. Cost: $50 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Italian White Truffle Lunch”… (NEW) Enjoy 5 courses with white truffles paired with wine. At the Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy Pavilion Sunday, October 23, 2011 from noon to 3:00 p.m. Cost: $175 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Italy Food & Wine pairing”…Learn as a wine expert discusses 4 entrees paired with a different wine. Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy Pavilion, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Cost: $65 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included.
Premium French Events…”French Regional Lunches”. Enjoy French cuisine and Wine pairings from different regions in France. In the Bistro de Paris, French Pavilion. On Select Fridays and Sundays from 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m. Cost: $99 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. “Best of Bocuse” Dinner. Enjoy a 5 course meal by Paul Bocuse Bistro de Paris, France Pavilion, on Monday, Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. Cost: $245 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included. Price includes Chef Bocuse’s latest cookbook: Best of Paul Bocuse. “Taste, Shake and Indulge Like the French” Sit in on a Mixology lesson while sampling Crepes Suzette, Grand Marnier, and a glass of Moet. At the Bistro de Paris, France Pavilion on select Saturdays from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Oct. 8, 15, 22 and 29, and Nov. 5th Cost: $55 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included.
As you can see, the Food and Wine Festival is bigger and better than ever in 2011. Mark your calendars and plan you adventures, for this years, Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT.
Contributed by: Bill I. (NDH #35). Bill is our resident historian.