Italy’s Global Marketplace at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival dates to 2001; given that most Walt Disney World guests are familiar and comfortable with Italian cuisine, it’s always a popular booth. This post covers the Italy booth’s menu for this year, along with my thoughts on it.
No country in the world is as romanticized as Italy. From peacefully floating down a canal in Venice while a gondolier serenades you in song to sharing a plate of spaghetti at a quaint side-street cafe, Americans have very idealized notions of Italy. Heck, we even romanticize Italian mobsters.
The Italy pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase could not possibly capture the full essence of the actual places (but maybe it’s for the better Disney didn’t capture the full “essence” of Venice), but it gives guests an idealized taste of the country–and that includes the food. With Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto, and Via Napoli collectively covering a wide cross-section of Italian cuisine, Italy’s Food & Wine Festival booth isn’t really bringing much to the table.
Actually, it’s not really bringing anything to the table…that you couldn’t get out of your grocer’s freezer. Among our group, we unanimously agreed that this was the worst booth at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. We highly recommend skipping this booth altogether. You’ve been warned.
If for whatever reason you decide to give it a chance, here’s what you will find on the food menu this year at the Italy Global Marketplace booth…
Pennete alla Parmigiana: Baked Ziti and Chicken Parmigiana, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese – Tastes like a blue light special TV dinner. Avoid at absolutely all costs. Second worst item at this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival.
Spezzatino alla Toscana con Polenta: Tuscan-style Stew with Carrots, Mushrooms & Crispy Polenta – After the culinary atrocity that was that ziti, this was a veritable masterpiece by comparison. The stewed meat had an okay flavor, and was not too fatty. Polenta wasn’t as good, but still okay. Not necessarily recommended, but your best choice here.
Cannoli al Cioccolato: Chocolate-covered Cannoli – After disappointments with the other dishes, we decided to skip this.
We don’t intend upon sampling all of the beverages at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, but here is the drink menu for Italy:
If you’ve tried any of the marketplace items in Italy, what did you think? Favorites? Least favorites? What was and wasn’t worth it? Anything on the menu you’re excited to try this year? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!