Kingdom Magic Vacations

Call Toll-Free
866-972-6244

Tag Archives: international food

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Argentina – Guest Blog Post

As excited as I am about Brazil’s return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and the menu it brings with it, I’m equally disappointed by its “sister” South American nation – Argentina.

If you’re a veteran of Food & Wine, I’m sure you’ve just reacted to that sentiment with complete disbelief.  After all, Argentina’s Beef Empanada and Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce (a brightly colored green sauce with parsley, herbs, garlic, and tangy vinegar) and Boniato (a Cuban sweet potato or white yam) Purée are generally recognized as festival highlights!  Aren’t they?

Argentina's Beef Empanada

Argentina's Beef Skewer

Frankly, I was so disappointed after sampling both of them in 2011 that I completely passed them by in 2012.  The empanada was the best of the two but pretty ordinary, in my opinion, and the beef skewer was tough and way overdone.

But, then, this is where my wife spilled a valuable “pearl of wisdom” on me … on any given day with any particular meal or any cut of meat, any chef could have a really bad day.  Or, in this case, make even one bad serving.  The morale of the story?  I should give Argentina another shot.  So, in 2013, I will.

Like Brazil, Argentina won’t be serving a dessert this year, so their menu ends with a collection of beverages:

Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut – bright green and yellow in color, this sparkling wine presents with the essential characteristics of Chardonnay

Terrazas Reserva Malbec – an Argentine Malbec wine characterized by its deep color, intense fruity flavors, and a velvety texture

Terrazas Reserva Torrontes – a white Argentine wine with moderate acidity, smooth texture and mouthfeel, as well as distinctive peach and apricot aromas

Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon – with a deep ruby red color, this wine provides pleasant blackcurrant and cherry notes with a full body and long after-taste

When it comes down to it, Kingdom Magic Vacations‘ own Rick Howard might do better justice to describing the virtues of Argentina’s menu than I can.  For me, I can only grade them as an “Incomplete”.  So, step back and listen to last year’s Argentina-focused episode of the Travel with Rick video-cast.

He’ll tell you just how much you should like their Chimichurri Sauce!

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!
Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Brazil – Guest Blog Post

Brazil makes its triumphant return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in 2013, and the menu it’s bringing with it is, in my opinion, outstanding.

When last we saw our Brazilian friends, in 2011, we were treated to their National dish – Feijoada. If you have an interest, Feijoada is typically a stew of black beans with beef and/or pork. Sounds good, eh? The Brazil marketplace also served us Seared Mahi-Mahi with Steamed Rice, Hearts of Palm, and Coconut-Lime Sauce – a dish that I absolutely loved that year.

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report:  Brazil

Well, in 2013, armed with a seared scallop and a delicious, but slightly small, portion of pork belly, Brazil absolutely storms back into Disney. And, if their 2011 mahi-mahi is an example of what they can deliver, we’re all going to be very happy to see them back in business!

Food & Wine’s offering of mahi-mahi has since moved on to be presented by our friends at the Singapore marketplace, but Brazil has responded by snatching the festival’s seared scallop away from New Zealand. I found New Zealand’s scallop to be quite good last year, and I’m counting on Brazil’s rendition – described as a Seared Scallop with Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers, Hearts of Palm, and Steamed Rice – to be equally tasty. Hopefully it will be even be better!

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report:  Brazil

New Zealand’s 2012 Seared Scallop

I got the chance to sample Brazil’s Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado, and Cilantro at Tables in Wonderland’s Food & Wine Preview event back in late July. Although it was a bit of a small dish, the flavors were outstanding! The ingredients meld together in a symphony of “delicious-ness”, so, when you try it, make sure you get some of everything in every bite.

Pork Belly.jpg

A symphony of “delicious-ness”!

Brazil’s 2013 menu is rounded out by your choice of beverages:

  • Cervejarias Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer
  • Carnaval Moscato White
  • Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça

I enjoyed some of the Xingu black lager at the Tables in Wonderland event. Its color does its name justice, and I found it to be quite good. If you like craft beers, it’s definitely worth the price of a sample.

The Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil. Made from fresh lime, muddled with natural sugar, and mixed with Cachaça (a rum-like spirit) and ice, how can you pass by giving a frozen serving of this a try?

All in all, I’m pretty pleased by the offering Brazil brings in its return. As enthusiastic as I am about their menu, however, I think the absence of a dessert is a little bit disappointing. As a pre-festival “grade”, I’ll give them an “A-minus”.

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!
Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month – Are You Ready?

Disney Parks Blog has shared some new information about the upcoming Food and Wine Festival and we wanted to share it with you!  Can you tell we’re all very excited?

A little fun news on the beverage front: the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be among the first venues in Florida to serve wine on tap in 5-gallon kegs under the new Florida law that allows wine to be dispensed from sustainable stainless-steel containers.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month - Are You Ready?

Two locations – the Festival Center and Refreshment Cool Post – will be serving from kegs, with a Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir at Cool Post and a Cabernet and Chardonnay in the Festival Center.

“The wines on tap offer guests a fresh glass of wine with every pour,” says Marianne Hunnel, in charge of Content Development for the festival. “They’re good quality, mid-range wines, and when we tasted side by side with the bottle and keg, we couldn’t tell the difference.” From an environmental perspective there is less waste. No need for bottles, cardboard, corks or labels.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month - Are You Ready?

On the culinary front, sometimes it’s the little things – we got a taste of the “vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties” from the new Scotland Marketplace, and it may be our new favorite. In case you’re wondering, in English we translate that as a “griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga (neeps) and mashed potatoes (tatties).” The name of the dish may sound odd to many of us, but the crispy, peppery haggis and mellow veggies are a real treat.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month - Are You Ready?

Other delightful new-for-2013 bites we tried and recommend: the sweet, griddled lobster tail with garlic herb butter from the Hops & Barley Marketplace; Berbere-style beef with onions, jalapeños, tomato, okra and pap (grits) from Africa Marketplace; and the gooey Scottish banoffee tart (banana-toffee is such a delish combo). On the beverage side, kids are going to love the drinkable Frozen S’Mores from Desserts & Champagne, grown-ups will be lining up for the Orange Dole Whip with Crème de Cacao White.

With more than 40 new dishes and 80 new beverages, it will take a while to work our way around World Showcase Lagoon Septemember 27-November 11.

It’s Not Too Late! 
Book Your Walt Disney World Vacation Today
and Don’t Miss a Minute of Food and Wine Festival 2013

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia – Guest Blog Post

What does this land “Down Under” have in store for us in 2013?  Kingdom Magic Vacations‘ own Rick Howard had the answer to that question way back in 2012.

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Guest Blog Post

Rewind your clock and take a listen to last year’s Australia-focused episode of the Travel with Rick video-cast.  When referring to that marketplace’s Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies, Rick described them as “nibble-to-the-bone good”.  If that’s not a glowing endorsement, then I don’t know food or wine.

Check out the  Australia video from Travel with Rick at last year’s Food and Wine Festival:

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Lamb Chop

The Lamb Chop from last year’s Australia Marketplace

As I go about preparing my plan for “attacking” Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, I reach out to a number of resources, but I’ve told Rick that his video-cast, in past years, has played the biggest role in the construction of my “menus”.  Now that I have the honor of being included in Kingdom Magic Vacations’ and Travel with Rick’s efforts to bring Food & Wine to you before it even arrives, it’s a whole new (and VERY fun) ballgame for me.

But, back to Australia.  I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of lamb.  In spite of that, I did sample Australia’s lamb chop last year.  Rick’s right.  It IS outstanding.  And, it’s back for an encore in 2013.  Way to go, Australia!

One of the things that pleases me most about Australia’s offering this year is that they’ve kicked their shrimp up a notch.  For the past few years, we’ve seen a simple “Shrimp-on-the-Barbie”.  However, in 2013, we get a Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle (a lemon herb native to Australia), and Rapini (broccoli rabe).  An outstanding improvement, in my opinion!

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Garlic Shrimp

Way to “step it up”, Australia!

Australia’s upcoming menu is rounded out by Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll’s Berries and Vanilla Custard) and several choices of wine:

  • Rosemount Estate Merlot
  • Rosemount Estate Pinot Grigio
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay
  • Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz
Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Pavlova

Is this what we have to look forward to?

With the Pavlova, we should expect a crisp crust with a soft, light inside.  It seems to be a step up from the coconut-covered Lamington of the past few years.  However, it is the newly “jacked up” shrimp and the lamb chop’s repeat engagement that highlights Australia’s offering this festival season.

My Pre-Festival Grade?  I’m really optimistic.  Sight unseen and samples un-tasted, I’m going to give the Aussies an “A”!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

 

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany – Guest Blog Post

When I look back at the last two years of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, as well as at the “Food” & Garden Festival held this past Spring, I think I’m in the minority. When appraising World Showcase’s German Marketplace, I come away very disappointed.

Take 2011’s Food & Wine, for example. Their offering included Goulash Soup, Sausage in a Pretzel Roll, and an Apple Strudel featuring Werther’s Original Caramel and Vanilla Sauce.

Their 2012 effort presented, pretty much, the same Sausage (actually, a Bratwurst) in a Pretzel Roll, a Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese, and an encore of the Apple Strudel.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

2013’s “Food” & Garden Festival – OK, it’s really the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – switched things up a bit. We were served a Savory Bread Pudding with Spring Peas and Wild Mushroom Ragout, German Meatloaf Sandwich with Sweet Mustard and Fried Shallots, and Potato Pancakes with House-made Apple Sauce.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

For me, the menus were just OK. For example, as I look back at my notes, I find that I reported the following:

“The roast bratwurst was a disappointment. It was a relatively tasteless sausage on a VERY small pretzel roll. Both my wife and I gave it two thumbs down.”

“The Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese wasn’t a bad dish. It was just merely ordinary.”

“Both my wife and I came away unimpressed with their 2012 menu. In fact, we left Germany more unenthusiastic than we did from any other F&W kiosk – which must put us in the vast minority because the lines at Germany seemed to be constantly rip-roaring long.”

When it comes to this year’s “Food” & Garden feast, “I mean this next statement in the most complimentary of terms. Take Spam and cross it with a good old hot dog and you’d have Germany’s meatloaf.”

The potato pancake caused me to write, “A bit too much minced onion for my taste and a little too salty. I don’t need another helping, thanks.” Truth be told, after a chance meeting with Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann, where we told him the pancakes were a bit too salty for us (how did we have the nerve?), we DID try them again. The second time around, they were MUCH better.

Where’s all this going? Plain and simple, Germany has been “just OK”, in our opinions. But, for a country that sports great options with regard to cuisine, it should be able to offer much more and much better.

For 2013, given the chance to write the menu, I would lean back on one of my favorite dishes (and, a traditional German favorite) – Pork Schnitzel. I would bread it in Panko and cover it with a delicious gravy.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Then, I would serve Beef Sauerbraten with Potato Dumplings.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Finally, I would finish with a nice slice of Black Forest Cake.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Yes, I know it’s a complete “reboot” of the Germany kiosk’s menu, but I’m confident those “rip-roaring long” lines will be even longer if we kick the food offering up these few notches.

What do you think?


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Singapore – Guest Blog Post

Singapore is SO misunderstood.

I have to admit, I know very little about Singapore.  For example, did you know that it is just off the southern tip of Malaysia and is an island country made up of 63 islands?!

When it comes to Food & Wine, in spite of the culinary genius of Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann and his team, Singapore annually receives criticism as THE marketplace desperately in need of “stepping its game up”.

However, consider this … a Singapore “hawker center” is a building housing rows and rows of small food stalls – all serving a variety of foods and desserts.  Sound a bit familiar?

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

Is it Food & Wine every day in Singapore?

Or, how about this?  When it comes to cuisine, diversity is THE word.  Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, the Middle East and many other countries can claim influence on Singapore’s culinary landscape.

To be honest, if ever there was a country MADE for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it is Singapore!

Let’s take a look back at recent history.  In 2011, Chef Jens offered us a shrimp cake on a sugar cane skewer.  In addition, his entrees included an Indonesian-inspired coconut-braised beef rendang.  Last year, the beef rendang returned to be accompanied by a seared mahi-mahi.

As I recall, the shrimp cake and mahi-mahi were quite tasty.  I have to admit, however, that I couldn’t scrape up the desire to try the rendang.  I mean, the pictures that I saw of that spicy meat dish didn’t look appetizing at all.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

Step your game up, Singapore!

So, if we were given the chance to write Chef’s menu, what could we offer?

Well, first, I would suggest replacing the beef rendang.  It has had its day, and, as I researched the multitude of options we could choose for Singapore, I found the perfect replacement.  Chef Jens won’t have to travel far to find a slam-dunk recipe.  Have you ever had Sanaa’s butter chicken?  You should.  It’s an incredible Indian-influenced dish.  Sanaa can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

If you give us butter chicken, Chef, we’ll flock to Singapore!

For Singapore’s second entree, I could make a strong argument to keep their seared mahi-mahi.  It WAS pretty tasty, but, since this marketplace is going to get a complete “refurb”, I’m going to suggest a popular seafood dish with Malaysian overtones – chili crab.

Imagine crab stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savory tomato and chili-based sauce.  Despite its name, it is not a very spicy dish.  It was, however, listed by CNN as one of the “World’s 50 most delicious foods” in 2011.  Some rendition of this has got to be worth a taste.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

If not crab, then I could imagine Chef presenting some kind of “chili seafood” dish.

There you have it.  If Singapore is in need of an upgrade, I would say its old entrees need to be completely erased in favor of brand new choices.  In my mind, the butter chicken is a sure winner.  The crab is a wild card.


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

 

Dole Whip Gets Spiked with Spiced Rum!

This year at Epcot’s 2013 International Food & Wine Festival you’ll be able to taste a Dole Whip with a little adult kick to it. This tasty frozen treat will be available at the new Pineapple Promenade Booth. You can see by the pictures below that you won’t be getting more than about 1 shot of spiced rum in this serving but its just enough to remind you that you’re touring around a Food & Wine festival. Compared to the original Dole Whip Float (my personal favorite Disney frozen treat), whip has tons of great pineapple juice for it’s pineapple ice cream to melt into, this new Spiced Rum Dole Whip has nominal liquid. Be prepared for a long line as you approach the Pineapple Promenade Booth. This twist on an already popular Disney dessert (along with the Central Florida sun) is sure to make it a festival favorite. I believe Captain Jack Sparrow would be happy with this treat. “Why is the rum gone?” Disney put it in the Dole Whips!

Here is a list of all the menu items available at the Pineapple Promenade Booth:

  • Dole® Whip
  • Dole® Whip with Siesta Key Spiced Rum
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake featuring Dole® Pineapple
  • Dole® Pineapple Fruit Cup
  • Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade – Non Alcoholic
  • Samuel Adams® Cream Stout

Eat to the Beat Concert Series Line-Up for 2013 – UPDATED!

Throughout the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, popular bands from the 80s and 90s take the stage at the American Gardens Theater in the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot to share some of their greatest hits with the crowds!

sister-kmv

Sister Hazel

These concerts are free with Epcot admission, and take place three times per evening (usually at 5:30pm, 6:45pm, 8:00pm).

Information is coming in very slowly for the 2013 Eat to the Beat Concert Series line up!

Early Line-Up for the 2013 Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival

The Go-Go’s

  • Sept. 27-29 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 1 – Go-Go’s
  • Oct. 2-4 – Air Supply
  • Oct. 5-6 – Sister Hazel
  • Oct. 7-9 – Sugar Ray
  • Oct. 10-11 – Edwin McCain
  • Oct. 12-13 – Manhattan Transfer
  • Oct. 14-15 – Wilson Phillips
  • Oct. 16-17 – The Pointer Sisters
  • Oct. 18-20 – Night Ranger
  • Oct. 21-23 – Boyz II Men
  • Oct. 24-25 – Survivor
  • Oct. 26-27 – 38 Special
  • Oct. 28-30 – Smash Mouth
  • Oct. 31-Nov. 1 – Spin Doctors
  • Nov. 2-3 – Christopher Cross
  • Nov. 4-5 – Hanson
  • Nov. 6-8 – Dennis DeYoung
  • Nov. 9-11 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Early Line-Up for the 2013 Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival

Spin Doctors

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will run from Sept. 27 through Nov. 11, 2013.

Epcot to Serve 33,000 Bottles of Champagne and Wine to Disney Guests

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

More than 33,000 bottles of Champagne and wine from around the world will be uncorked September 30 through November 13 during the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Guests can sip and graze at more than 25 international marketplaces along the park’s World Showcase promenade. Wine seminars, culinary demonstrations and other special programs are available by reservation. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

2011 Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

Epcot Eat to the Beat

The Eat To The Beat! concert series held in conjunction with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicks off this September. The concerts are held  in the American Gardens Theater in Epcot’s World Showcase. Here’s the concert lineup and dates for performances this year.

09/30 – 10/02 – Taylor Dayne

10/03 – 10/05 – 38 Special

10/06 – 10/07 – Jon Secada

10/08 – 10/09 – Roger Hodgson of Supertramp

10/10 – 10/12 – Billy Ocean

10/13 – 10/16 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas

10/17 – 10/19 – Sugar Ray

10/20 – 10/21 – The Orchestra (starring former members of ELO)

10/22 – 10/23 – Howard Jones

10/24 – 10/26 – Boyz II Men

10/27 – 10/28 – Gin Blossoms

10/29 – 10/30 – Sister Hazel

10/31 – 11/01 – Hanson

11/02 – 11/03 – The Pointer Sisters

11/04 – 11/06 – Night Ranger

11/07 – 11/08 – Air Supply

11/09 – 11/10 – Richard Marx

11/11 – 11/13 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Click Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

We are proud members of:

  • IATAN
  • ASTA
  • CLIA
MENU