Walt Disney World is marking the 20th year of its annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival with some fresh faces and futuristic flavors, incorporating exciting new food trends in with classic cuisine.
For two decades, fans have flocked to Epcot each fall season to sample drinks and dishes from around the world. This year, the popular Food and Wine Festival expands from the World Showcase into Future World for the first time.
Under the title of “Next Eats,” Disney is showcasing high-tech and sustainable foods. Longtime Epcot executive chef Jens Dahlmann has moved on to general manager of the park, passing the executive chef torch to Gregg Hannon, his longtime assistant. Together, they are reinventing Epcot’s premier event:
With the increasing popularity of food-based TV, guests are no longer just interested in eating traditional dishes but want a chance to try the inventive takes on food they see on shows like “The Chew.” Disney is giving their guests what they want by bringing that show to take episodes in the park while also offering daily tastes in the new Sustainable Chew and Chew Lab marketplaces. Liquid nitrogen is used to prepare desserts and “smoking” drinks while sous-vide meats come infused with bold flavors.
Of course, the chefs wanted to make sure they weren’t leaving 20 years of fans behind, sticking with many favorites from the past as well as creating a few new marketplaces that will appeal to just about anyone with some exciting new flavors.
The Dominican Republic area on the border of World Showcase and Future World transports guests to a tropical hideaway with lush greenery and excellent new dishes including the Souffle de Yuca (with griddled cheese) and Caramel Flan with Rum-Roasted Pineapple.
Nearby, Disney has clearly heard guests’ cries for more eating areas, adding convenient bar-style tables.
New this year are also some wine and beer exclusives, produced specifically for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, available nowhere else. They’re available to try at the event or to take home in bottles.
There’s a lot to love about the 20th year of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and even more to look forward to with a promise of a reinvented event moving forward, ensuring this fan favorite doesn’t grow stale.