Italy has the biggest food lineup of any booth at the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Oh joy. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll look at the menu prices, share food photos, and offer thoughts on what is worth your money or Disney Dining Plan credits. Or in Italy’s case, what’s definitely not worth it.
This is actually our final review from the the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival–everything else either already has a new review or an updated old review. Almost. I still somehow missed things at Appleseed Orchard and Ireland, but both of those are going to have to wait until the ‘second wave’ on October 1. For now, this is the last stop, and we’re going out with either a whimper or a bang in Italy, depending upon your perspective.
A clear pattern has emerged when it comes to Italy’s booths at the various Epcot festivals: the kiosk is notorious for their prices, perplexing culinary choices, ambition (or lack thereof), and the fact that the menu changes completely for every single event, every single year. Reviews of the Italy booth are notoriously harsh, with reader comments suggesting far more enjoyment of the cuisine…
At Walt Disney Word, Italian cuisine is ubiquitous, undoubtedly because it’s a crowd-pleaser that appeals to a wide range of guests. Everyone loves butter, oil, and cheese, and throwing enough of those things at even unambitious or mediocre Italian food tends to offer comforting and familiar results. That’s the easiest way to explain why places like Tony’s Town Square, Mama Melrose, or this booth inexplicably garner positive guest feedback.
Realizing this, and fearing more hate mail, we’ve gone easier on Italy in the last couple of years. It hasn’t hurt that the booth itself has gone from a zero-effort venue where everything was cooked elsewhere, carted over, and reheated (no joke) to a booth that now prepares some food within the marketplace. Baby steps.
With that long-winded preface out of the way, let’s take a look at the 2019 menu for Italy, which is once again all-new:
Ravioli Carbonara: Parmesan and Pecorino Ravioli, Egg Yolk, Cream, and Bacon
Costine di Maiale: Balsamic-glazed and Oven-roasted Pork Ribs
Pollo: Crispy Chicken with Marinara Sauce (KA)
Traditional Sicilian Cannoli: Crisp Pastry filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate, and Candied Orange
Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake: Vanilla Cake and Chocolate-Hazelnut Mascarpone Cream dipped in Chocolate (KA)
That’s $29.75 worth of “food.” Multiply that times 4 festivals per year, times however many years we’ve been doing this, and we’ve spent…probably enough money to fund a 401(k) and retire from the Disney blogging game. And yet, here we are, for reasons unknown, but that will probably be studied by sociologists one day.
Now our photos and reviews of each item from this Global Marketplace at the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival…
Ravioli Carbonara ($7.25) – The Italy Global Marketplace is notorious for serving al dente pasta that tastes like it might’ve been prepared in a microwave. I mention that as context for this positive review, which found these reasonably well-prepared, savory, and creamy.
Calling them “good” might be a stretch, and the 4 pieces are not even remotely worth $7.25 (I’d say $4.50 would be a reasonable price), but if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, this could be worth a snack credit.
Costine di Maiale ($8) – The Balsamic-glazed and Oven-roasted Pork Ribs are actually good…for the most part. Our order came with three ribs, two of which were tender, meaty, and flavorful. The other was a fatty mess. Given that the Italy booth normally bats worse than Brian Moehler, we’re going to consider this .667 average a first-ballot Food & Wine Festivall Hall of Fame entry.
This is without question worth it on the Disney Dining Plan. When paying out of pocket, it’s a much closer call. (Two consecutive positive(ish) reviews?! Well, don’t get too excited just yet…)
Pollo: Crispy Chicken with Marinara Sauce ($6) – If you attended public elementary school, you’ve had Tyson chicken fingers. If you attended private school, you probably got something swankier, like those all-natural ones from Applegate. These are more like Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand–and are probably only like 87% chicken.
These are the weakest item at the 2019 Epcot Food & Wine Festival–and keep in mind that there’s an entire booth with stuff unnecessarily made of almond milk!
Traditional Sicilian Cannoli ($4.25) – What you see is pretty much what you get here. This isn’t ambitious, freshly prepared, or deserving of praise, but it’s also not deserving of condemnation.
We think it’s too small for the price, but the same could be said for many other desserts at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Either way, we don’t recommend it.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake – From the photo, this looks like a partially-melted ice cream bar. Let me tell you, I would’ve taken a fully-melted ice cream bar over whatever nonsense this is.
Ours was freshly-dipped, which might sound nice (and at least in part, actually was), but the cake inside was previously-frozen and tasted like it. The cake was dry as can be, hard, and stale. On the plus side, the richness of the fresh chocolate overpowered that to a great degree (something that wouldn’t normally be a plus), but not enough to overcome the awful cake inside.
In terms of alcoholic drinks, here’s what’s served at this Food & Wine Festival Global Marketplace:
Peroni Nastro Azzurro Pilsner
Pinot Grigio, Santa Marina
Prosecco, Villa Sandi
Moscato Fior d’Arancio, Montegrande
Italian Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila
Overall, I don’t really know what to say. This review isn’t nearly as harsh as it could’ve been, but it’s also disappointing that the Italy booth has regressed in some ways. Regardless, there are a couple of things we like here, only one abomination that doesn’t belong at a ‘foodie’ event, and a couple of things that maybe we got unlucky with. If you’re a “ride or die” Italy booth advocate, just look at things that way–this is pretty much a glowing review!
What do you think of the Italy Global Marketplace? Do you think we’re going too harsh–or too easy–on Italy? Have you tried any of the food items at this booth? Any thoughts on these items? Portion-size or quality-wise, did you have better or worse luck than us with what you ordered? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!