This lists our top 10 favorite snacks at the 2019 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, which is Walt Disney World’s annual foodie event running through November 23, 2019. Here we cover the best items at the Global Marketplaces, including marvelous meats and decadent desserts. (Updated September 15, 2019.)
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 2019 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.
A couple of surprises for 2019. First, nothing from France made the list. This has less to do with France dropping in quality (although we think it did a bit this year) and more to do with other booths serving up superior, arguably comparable dishes. The second is less surprising if you’ve been paying attention the last couple of years, and it’s that this list is disproportionately populated by items on the Future World side of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival. The Next Eats and Culinary Corridor continue getting better and better…
It’s important to note that the Epcot Food & Wine Festival’s samples differ from day to day and even hour to hour. Dishes 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 10 minutes later.
Moreover, portion sizes can vary pretty significantly, too. There have been times when we’ve sat at our table stood at our trashcan, 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 beef brisket that’s twice the size of a portion that’s been sitting under a heat lamp for 30 minutes is going to review better.
Anyway, let’s start with the best-of the 2019 Epcot Food & Wine Festival list…
Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad & Mango Chutney Yogurt (Islands of the Caribbean) – This rates as my favorite dish of the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and the good news is that it’s a sizable portion at a relatively reasonable price.
The grilled flavor and jerk-spice work wonders together, with the sweet flavors from the mango and plantain providing a playful contrast. This is Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival at its best–ambitious, approachable, and delicious!
Roasted Lamb Chop (Australia) – This Global Marketplace has been offering up lamb dishes since as long as I can remember, and this Roasted Lamb Chop with Sweet Potato Purée, Bush Berry Pea Salad and Pistachio-Pomegranate Gremolata is the best one in at least 5 years.
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.
Teriyaki-glazed SPAM Hash (Hawaii) – This is everything a dish at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival should be: inventive, unexpected, authentic, and delicious. Using SPAM inventively has been trendy for a few years now, and it’s nice to see Walt Disney World getting in on the act.
The hash is good because it is well-prepared, with a nice crispiness and teriyaki glaze that adds a light sweetness to the flavor of the SPAM. The spicy mayo plays nicely with this, and the end result is an excellent, complex dish. It’s fun, delicious, and a good value for the money–definitely get this.
Duck Confit Poutine with Fig Demi Sauce & Brie Cheese Fondue (Refreshment Port) – I’m a total sucker for the normal “guilty pleasure” poutine served at Refreshment Port, so it should come as no surprise that the ‘seasonal’ Food & Wine offering makes this list.
Consider this ‘elevated’ poutine, as the brie cheese fondue has a more nuanced flavor profile, the fig demi sauce provides richness, and the duck is a more interesting (and delicious) choice here. Don’t get me wrong–I love the normal Beef Brisket Poutine with Beer-Cheese Sauce, but this just “feels” more sophisticated. (Well, so long as you ignore those ordinary Walt Disney World french fries underneath!)
Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette (Coastal Eats) – Epcot always tends to do scallops well, and that’s especially true this year as these scallops are hearty in size, semi-crisp on the exterior, and tender inside. The char and light smokiness are just perfect.
However, what takes this item to the next level is the rich shrimp scampi dip, which is oozing with butter, garlic, herbs, shrimp, and cheesy goodness. The “sourdough” is more like white bread, and nothing remotely special, but it doesn’t need to be since the dip is so good.
Smoked Corn Beef (Flavors from Fire) – This is at the intersection of “taste” and “value” among the top items at the 2019 Epcot Food & Wine. (It’s worth reiterating that Flavors from Fire is one of the Top 10 Booths at the 2019 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and you really can’t go wrong with anything there!)
Basically, it’s smoked corned beef on a bed of house-made potato chips (no clue why they’re called “crispy potatoes”), and topped with fondue. The fondue is complex, and the corned beef was lean and tender, and had a flavor reminiscent of brisket.
Seared Scallops, Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussels Sprouts & Wild Mushrooms – One of two standout dishes at Wine & Dine Studio, this dish follows one of the time-honored Epcot Food & Wine Festival Commandments: “leave the shrimp, take the salmon and scallops.”
These scallops are tender, perfectly-prepared, and high quality. The number we’ve received over the years has ranged from 1 to 3, with 2 being the standard this year. There’s also a generous helping of wild mushrooms, and the truffled celery puree is basically thin mashed potatoes with the deep, umami flavor of truffles.
Braised Beef Stroganoff (Cheese Studio) – After being less than impressed with this last year, we decided to revisit it this year because the menu picture looked radically different (in reality, the presentation only mildly different) and because it’s inexpensive by Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival meat dish standards.
We were significantly more impressed this go-round. The braised beef was perfectly prepared, tender, and (although you can’t tell) the portion was sizable. Critically, the Boursin cheese provided a mildly sour, creamy flavor that paired nicely with the has a rich, savory quality of the Stroganoff. The egg noodles are substantial and interesting, giving the dish some added heft and soaking up the ‘run-off’ flavors from the meat and cheese nicely.
Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake (Cheese Studio) – The delicious reign of the Chocolate Liquid Nitro dessert is over, long live the Maple Bourbon Cheesecake! Seriously, this is our new favorite dessert at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.
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.
Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle (Chocolate Studio) – Now, this isn’t to say that our perennial favorite dessert is anything less-than-brilliant, nor has its quality eroded in any way. (If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’d probably still give this dessert the nod if they both debuted this year, but there’s something to be said for ‘newness.’)
The name starts with “liquid nitro” and also includes “chocolate,” “truffle,” “whisky,” and “caramel.” That’s an all-star culinary cast if I’ve ever heard one. Seriously, the Liquid Nitro dessert lives up to all of the hype, and should not be missed.
That wraps it up for our Best Dishes of the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Even though this is far longer than a normal top 10 list when you count each item at the booths we recommended, it still leaves off several deserving choices at this year’s Food & Wine Festival. With that said, we’ll be back later this week for a look at the other side of things, with our ‘Worst of’ list, so stay tuned!
Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu item we recommend–and DON’T recommend–this year! You’ll also want to read our full Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival, and much more.
For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles. Also make sure to read our other Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews and Disney Dining Plan Resources.
Do you have any favorites dishes from the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Favorite booths? Anything you’re excited to try? 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!