Flavors from Fire is a booth at the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. In my estimation, this is the best booth at the event this year, with some of the top snacks in all of Walt Disney World right now. In this review, I’ll share photos of the items, along with my thoughts on each.
To be frank, I don’t know what I’m going to do about the remaining food booths at the Food & Wine Festival; reviewing them all seems like a pretty overwhelming task, and the clock is ticking. Plus, I have a bunch of other posts to write, and we have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us. So, I figured I’d start with Flavors from Fire, see how this is received, and then go from there with either full reviews or just a condensed top 10 or whatever.
In terms of the motif, you’d assume Flavors from Fire is a booth dedicated to grilled items given, you know, the name of the booth and the fact that there’s a large faux fire-pit out front? However, there’s a chocolate dessert and pancake on the menu, and I assume those aren’t prepared by fire. Correct me if I’m wrong on that–I know nothing about cooking beyond a rudimentary understanding of our microwave’s preset modes…
I guess maybe the actual idea behind Flavors from Fire is fiery flavors? There were a bunch of signs outside the booth offering the ‘heat indices’ or something of various foods, but I was so enamored with the Figment topiary out front that I forgot to take photos, and now I can’t remember what they said. I think there was something about cavemen, cheese, and fire. (Coincidentally, Caveman, Cheese & Fire is the name of Guy Fieri’s new show, coming soon to Food Network.)
As you can tell, this review is already off to a bang-up start…
Moving on to the actual reviews, we’ll start with the Swine Brine, which is the infamous drink that has created the most social media buzz of everything at Food & Wine. Don’t get me wrong–I am 100% on board with “infusing” more things with meat, and I find weird, gluttonous concoctions to be one of America’s greatest exports and national pastimes. However, even I was taken a bit aback by this drink, which is Evan Williams Bourbon mixed with lemon juice, apple cider, and dijon mustard. All of that is topped with a piggy wing.
Yeah, that’s right. Despite every other item on the menu being like a paragraph long, this one carefully omits all the other stuff aside from the bourbon. That’s probably for good reason, as you might’ve thrown up in your mouth a little upon reading those ingredients.
I’m guessing someone at Walt Disney World gave this the green light because they figured it’d be like the Beverly Challenge–some people would try it despite knowing what it is because we’re dummies who like “conquering” foods, and other people would try it not knowing any better. Unlike Beverly, this is inexplicably good. Sweet and sour…plus pork. Almost like a sharper version of apple cider. I don’t even know how to explain it being good, beyond the universal truth that pork is a panacea and can fix any dish no matter how irreparably broken it might seem.
No joke: someone once made me a kale and quinoa salad (I’m not naming names, but you know who), and I tossed a bit of bacon in that bad boy…delicious! And to think, Gordon Ramsey duped us into watching like 7 seasons of Kitchen Nightmares, while the answer for fixing bad food was right under our noses all along. (Someone should probably give a heads up to the “chef” behind the Planet Hollywood Observatory menu. There’s still hope, even for you!)
Next, the Smoked Corned Beef. This is served with warm crispy potatoes, pickled onions, and blonde ale beer fondue, featuring BelGioioso Romano and America Grana Cheeses.
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. This was my favorite item of everything at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. The fondue was complex, and the corned beef was lean and tender, and had a flavor reminiscent of brisket.
We got incredibly lucky with our portion (I’m calling it luck because I’ve seen photos of others’ portions), which was fairly large. In fact, we had more beef here than we did with the brisket at Polite Pig in Disney Springs. Before anyone “corrects” me, I’m cognizant of the differences between brisket and corned beef, but this meat was on par with what we had there, and the dish was–overall–better. Even realizing we likely would’ve received a smaller portion the next time, we almost ordered this again. Alas, we “had” to try other things.
We also really enjoyed the Piggy Wings. These are roasted pork wings with Korean BBQ sauce and sesame seeds. This meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, exquisitely smoked, and had great flavor thanks to the sauce. I’m sure the seeds were there for texture, but I think this would’ve been better off without them (minor quibble).
Maybe I’ve just become desensitized to pricing from sampling so much at this event (90% of which is overpriced by normal Walt Disney World snack standards), but I thought the value here was also good. We only had two wings in our dish, but both were hearty portions of high-quality meat. We’d also highly recommend this dish, placing it a rung below the Smoked Corned Beef.
Yet another savory dish on the menu at Flavors from Fire is the Sweet Pancake. This is topped with spicy chipotle chicken sausage, onion jam, and maple butter syrup. This one gets points for effort; it’s an inventive dish, but it fell a bit below the other two savory options at Flavors from Fire for us.
Our pancake was a bit too stiff (definitely not freshly-made), which is probably where our issues lie with this. It was otherwise a nice mix of sweet and spicy, and the sausage itself was very good, as was the maple butter syrup. I’d probably give it a second chance just to see if we fared better next time, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this if only have one day at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and plan on only grazing–both the Smoked Corned Beef and Piggy Wings are the better options, in my estimation.
Finally, we have the Chocolate Picante. This is dark chocolate mousse with cayenne pepper, chili powder, and raspberry dust. This is bound to be one of the more divisive, love-it-or-hate it dishes of Food & Wine.
Neither of us were fans. It was fine, but it was too dense, and the juxtaposition of dark chocolate and spices just didn’t land for us. For me, it took the slight bitterness of dark chocolate a bit too far. Perhaps it just didn’t comport with my expectations–I’m not sure–but I think there are far better “pure” desserts at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.
This was the only thing that was a definite “no” for us at Flavors from Fire. I know other people who enjoyed this quite a bit, so you might want to order this if you’re a fan of dark chocolate and spicy flavors…or are a menu completionist and want all of the major dishes available at Flavors from Fire.
In addition to these original items, there are standard drinks at Flavors from Fire that we did not try. Those include the following:
Orlando Brewery Smokin’ Blackwater Porter
Ravenswood Zinfandel, Napa Valley
Overall, we were really pleased with Flavors from Fire. There are a few dishes with inventive qualities to them, and even though Swine Brine might seem like it’s pushing the envelope for the sake of shock value or internet buzz, pretty much everything here actually works.
The three savory food items we tried here cost under $15 total, which is about on par with a counter service meal. Given the collective portion size and quality of the dishes we had, we think that comparison is very favorable, which is rare for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Normally, you have to spend about triple the cost of a counter service meal for something that’s comparably filling. We’d recommend hitting Flavors from Fire early in the day, and probably lingering in this general area before heading to the World Showcase booths, as some of the highlights of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival are in this area.
Do you have any favorites from the Flavors from Fire marketplace booth? Anything you’re excited to try? Would you like to see more individual Food & Wine booth reviews, or a condensed ‘best of’ post (or posts)? 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!