Exotic cocktails will pair like a tropical daydream with fresh new tastes from more than one island paradise at the 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 30-Nov. 13, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort. The one-of-a-kind 45-day festival serves up international cuisine, culture and entertainment from six continents, with more than 25 international marketplaces featuring tapas-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive new cocktails.
Marketplace tasting menus offer variety and adventure for guests on a mission to tantalize their taste buds during a scenic stroll around the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon. The adventure can take them to the festival’s first Hawaii marketplace, which will cook up Kalua pork sliders and tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips to team with a refreshing Seven Tiki Mai Tai or a Kona Longboard or Pipeline beer. A new Caribbean Islands marketplace will serve ropa vieja with rice and jerk-spiced chicken with mango salsa. A beverage menu featuring a frozen Dragon Berry Colada and frozen Rock Coconut Mojito is sure to conjure steel-drum fantasies.
With a swing across the Atlantic, guests will be transported to the new Portugal marketplace, where the Portugal Wine Bar will offer best sips to pair with calamari salad with olives and smoked paprika. The Scandinavia marketplace will return after a hiatus with a fresh new Xante Sunshine cocktail made from Xante pear and cognac liquer. And the Canada marketplace will introduce a sweet treat: apple ice wine.
Disney and celebrity chefs will team with winemakers and brew masters from around the world to get the party started Sept. 30. During the six-week festival, guests will discover:
- Three new tasting marketplaces — Hawaii, Caribbean Islands and Portugal — plus new menu offerings at popular returning marketplaces
- Celebrity chef appearances starring top culinarians like Jeff Henderson, Cat Cora, Alan Wong, Gale Gand, Suvir Saran, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Celina Tio, Robert Irvine, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro, Warren Brown, Art Smith, Keegan Gerhard and more.
- First-ever HGTV home entertaining seminars each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- The Cranberry Bog display by Craisins telling the story behind the venerable cranberry’s rich agricultural heritage.
- Daily wine seminars, bottle signings, author events and culinary demonstrations at the Festival Welcome Center.
- Eat to the Beat! concerts three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre.
New Sips, Fresh Bites
Festival guests can make a day of circumnavigating the World Showcase Promenade, grazing and sipping as they go. Tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $3 to $8 each, and recommended wines, cocktails and beers make perfect pairings at each marketplace. For quicker marketplace visits, guests can purchase a festival-themed mini-Disney Gift Card that can be worn on a wristband and loaded and reloaded at several park locations.
Live daily entertainment showcases many cultures with music, acrobatics and improv performances along the promenade. Evening Eat to the Beat! concerts at America Gardens Theatre feature acts from many musical genres. Appearing for the first time on the Eat to the Beat! stage are The Pointer Sisters, The Orchestra starring former members of ELO and Gin Blossoms. Fan favorite Taylor Dayne kicks off the festival Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and crowd pleaser Big Bad Voodoo Daddy wraps the event Nov. 11-13.
The festival attracts a diverse audience — from wine connoisseurs and epicures to novices wishing to boost their culinary IQs. Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers participating in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools.
Festival highlights include:
- The Festival Welcome Center, with a Wine Bar, Authentic Taste Seminars, Authors Without Borders weekend conversations and more.
- More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting dinners and tasting events.
- A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
- Popular returning events that include First Bites Opening Reception on Sept. 29; Kitchen Memories (formerly Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen); Mixology Seminar; and “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery.
- The weekly Party for the Senses grand tasting event beginning Oct. 8 and with a new Saturday evening time of 7:30-10 p.m. featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment presented by Cirque du Soleil.