Thursday, September 30, 2010

This weekend, the Foodies take over Walt Disney World

October 1, 2010 is opening day of the 15th Annual EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. This event -- which runs through November 14 -- is the food event of the year for Orlando. EPCOT's World Showcase will offer tastes and treats from all over the world, with booths offering sample-sized plates and sample-sized wines and liquors showcasing the best of worldwide cuisine. This year, the cuisines represented will be from 23 different regional cuisines, plus a few special booths featuring additional delicious delicacies. Here's the full list:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belgium (new for 2010)
  • Brazil
  • The Brewer's Collection (featuring beers from around the world)
  • Canada
  • Charcuterie and Cheese (meats and cheeses, including fondues and smoked game)
  • Chile
  • China
  • Desserts and Champagne
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hops and Barley (more beer, this time mostly domestic)
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Puerto Rico
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea (new for 2010)
  • Spain
  • United States
This is a fantastic event for adults, but kids can have fun too, especially if they are adventurous eaters (or if you're a parent looking for a fun and relatively inexpensive way to get them to try new things).

In addition to the food booths, the F&W Festival has loads of entertainment, including the Eat to the Beat concert series, where performers past and present hit the stage nightly to play their greatest hits. This year's lineup includes names like Taylor Dane, Rick Springfield, Kool and the Gang, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; for the full lineup and the dates each will be playing, check the festival website.

Special tastings and seminars will also be taking place. Some are included with the price of admission -- that's your regular Disney ticket -- while others require reservations and an additional cost. The included seminars are:
  • The Authentic Taste Seminars (Fri-Sun at 2pm and 6pm): a 30-minute seminar celebrating the origins and uses of some of the purest ingredients in world cuisine
  • Authors Without Borders (Fri-Sun 12:15pm and 4pm): Authors from the culinary world will speak about popular topics in a 30-minute conversation.
  • "Seasons of the Vine" (continuous showings daily): This seven-minute film gives a behind-the-scenes peek into how grapes become wine
This event is massive and attracts foodies from all over the world, including huge numbers of Florida residents who make the annual pilgrimage just for this event. It's well worth the price of a one-day, one-park ticket, but if you've got a multi-day pass, this is definitely a park you don't want to miss. Expect long lines at the food booths (especially on weekends) and some difficulty securing reservations at popular restaurants and festival special events -- many of the special events sell out quickly, so call 407-WDW-DINE to see what your options are.


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