This lists our top 10 favorite snacks at the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, which is Walt Disney World’s flagship foodie event running through November 19, 2022. Here we cover the best dishes at the Global Marketplaces, including marvelous meats and delicious desserts.
We think such a list is important, as the Global Marketplaces dishes are of varying quality: some good, some bad, and some ugly. This much is clear if you’ve read our Booth Menus, Food Photos & Reviews for the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. For those who don’t want to comb through those individual reviews, we wanted to drop in with some must-try snacks for those of you visiting in the near future who want a concise resource of what to eat at this year’s Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World.
As always, there are a couple surprises for the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. First, there’s nothing from new booths that makes this list. That’s because there’s only one new booth (singular) and it’s awful. This is unfortunate, as we always try to favor fresh finds over familiar favorites for these lists. Second, there actually are several new dishes that make the cut, as many of the menu tweaks made to the legacy booths are surprisingly good!
Now, the caveats. Of course, tastes may vary. As we’ve seen since we’ve been covering Food & Wine Festival over the years, quality control is not always the best…or even so-so. Dishes differ from day to day and even hour to hour. Items are produced quickly and in large quantities, and are not made to order. As such, quality can be inconsistent, and one person’s “perfectly cooked” steak could be over-cooked for a guest who orders the same thing minutes later.
Moreover, portion sizes can vary pretty significantly, too. There have been times when we’ve sat at our table stood at our trash can, and noticed that other guests near us who ordered the same thing have significantly smaller or larger portions. Both of these variables can impact your perception of a particular dish. Freshly-prepared Le Cellier filet mignon that’s twice the size of an overly fatty portion that’s been sitting under a heat lamp for 30 minutes is going to review better. (This is not an arbitrary example–we’ve found that meats are most commonly inconsistent, with the iconic Canadian steak being the biggest offender.)
Anyway, let’s start with the best-of the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival list…
Grilled Pork Shoulder Lettuce Wrap (Swanky Saucy Swine) – One thing that allows us to eat so poorly in the parks is how healthy we eat at home. No added sugars or alcohol, minimal processed foods or artificial ingredients, and lots of vegetables and complex carbohydrates. However, I draw the line at swapping out buns or tortillas for lettuce. That’s a bridge too far.
The point is, I was quite surprised by how well these grilled pork shoulder lettuce wraps worked. I think the reason for that is the lettuce complemented the refreshing flavors in the salsa and red onions, while the huge helping of pork shoulder and crema provided more than enough on the indulgent flavors front. This is a booth with some great dishes, but this goes down as my favorite. Delicious, filling, and relatively low-guilt.
Takoyaki (Japan) – I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of bias and nostalgia here. It’s been ~3 years since I’ve had takoyaki, and the first bite instantly took me back taking a rainy evening stroll through Dotonbori, stopping at stalls before making our way to the Ebisubashi Bridge. The second bite reminded me of being in the basement of the Ikspiari food court at Tokyo Disney Resort on arrival night before heading to the parks the next month. And so on and so forth.
We’ve had a lot of takoyaki on the streets of Japan, and I’m an absolute sucker for octopus balls. Disney largely gets the texture and taste right, with a crisp exterior giving way to a soft and pillowy inside. They’re not as flavorful as the best takoyaki you’ll find at the permanent street stalls in Osaka, but still pretty good. I’d put EPCOT’s takoyaki about on par with something you’d find at a festival in Tokyo, and better than 7-11. Given that we’ve been begging for 7-11 style snacks at the Japan booth for years, we consider this a huge win!
Impossible Meatballs (Earth Eats) – This reminded us a lot of the Felucian Garden Spread over at Docking Bay 7 in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The balls of “meat” themselves are well-seasoned, flavorful and not dry (notable because that can be an issue with this type of thing) and taste fantastic.
It’s all further elevated by the herbed polenta, rustic puttanesca sauce, and basil pesto. Those are likewise delicious, but also refreshing and with an overall earthiness that’s difficult to explain. The end result is a delicious dish that tastes like something that’s more “farm to table” than “biotech lab to table.”
Smoked Corn Beef (Flavors from Fire) – This is at the intersection of “taste” and “value” among the top items at the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine. Its inclusion here should be unsurprising, as Flavors from Fire is always one of our favorite booths.
Basically, it’s smoked corned beef on a bed of house-made potato chips, with a fondue drizzle to top it off. The fondue is complex, and the corned beef is lean and tender, with an excellent smokiness. It’s a perfect marriage of flavors; an ambitious comfort food that’s perfect for fall. Highly recommended.
Everything (India) – The India Global Marketplace could basically be called ‘A Taste of Sanaa.’ That’s not 100% accurate, but there are clear parallels between the menus and if you like one you’re bound to like the other. Similarly, it’s also a chance to sample a somewhat-similar menu for those who are intimidated by a full meal at Sanaa (or just haven’t found the time).
This is the more interesting type of booth we like to see at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, with dishes you won’t find elsewhere in EPCOT but that are relatively approachable. (You can literally find all of these dishes in the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe’s, so they’re not too “out there.”)
Roasted Lamb Chop (Australia) — This Global Marketplace has been offering up lamb dishes since as long as I can remember, and the Roasted Lamb Chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies is a personal favorite. I really like the refreshing mint pesto contrasted with the rich lamb; the potato chips aren’t necessary, but a little texture never hurts.
Ours had a generous amount of meat and wasn’t too fatty (YMMV on both counts), and the accompaniments are sophisticated and thoughtful items that pair well with the lamb.
Feijoada (Brazil) – This dish features crispy pork belly, black beans, Brazil nut pesto, and Ben’s Original Long Grain White Rice. This was a good one-two punch for us, with Sarah loving the base–she found it well-rounded with plenty of seasoning and nuanced flavor.
On the other hand, I loved the pork belly. This meat is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, with the right amount of fattiness and perfect preparation. Together, it’s a well-balanced dish that’s at once ambitious and comforting. If Walt Disney World is going to make Food & Wine menus more crowd-pleasing, this is exactly how to do it!
Everything (Refreshment Port) – The Maple Bourbon Cheesecake has been our favorite dessert at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival for several consecutive years, and we’re happy to report that it’s as good as ever. The cheesecake is rich and savory, but with a somewhat light consistency that’s absolutely perfect. This contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the maple and caramel flavors, and the crunch of the candied pecans offers a wonderful texture. This dessert is sublime, and one of the few we’ll revisit again and again during the course of the event.
Additionally, the Braised Beef Poutine is one of the rare items at the event that is both a huge portion and high quality. Obviously, these are just the normal fries served at Walt Disney World, so nothing special. It’s actually a bit odd to have such good ingredients–meat included–on top of that ordinary base, but it works. This all culminates in an epic ‘elevated’ comfort food, and is far and away the best fries of the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival.
Griddled Cheese (Greece) – The iconic Griddled Greek Cheese once again makes its triumphant return, and with some tweaks to the texture . This uses kasseri cheese, which is a traditional semi-hard Greek cheese made from sheep and goat milk. Griddling the cheese softens it up, giving it an exterior skin.
The hardened honey adds a sweetness and the ground pistachios offer further crunch. The ingredients coalesce remarkably well, and the end result is a creamy, nutty, sweet, and earthy cheese dish that is a truly sublime. This is easily one of our all-time favorite dishes of the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival.
Brioche aux Escargots (France) – Once a perennial favorite, the France booth has been much more hit or miss in recent years. That’s true again for the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, with the Beignet aux Trois Fromages at one end of the spectrum, offering a low-quality and underwhelming dish.
At the other end is this escargot brioche with creamy garlic and parsley sauce, which is an absolute standout. Having escargot in a flaky, buttered pastry makes this approachable for people who don’t normally like the texture of escargot, and the flavor is excellent. It’s definitely a rich dish, but it’s a good preparation. I also appreciate that this is not simply escargot swimming in butter (as much as I love butter).
Do you have any favorites from the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival? If you’ve tried any of the dishes on this list, what’d you think of them? Did we snub any of your top picks? Agree or disagree with our choices? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!