Mac & Eats is a booth serving “inventive” macaroni and cheese during the 2022 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. In this Global Marketplace review, we’ll look at the menu prices, share food photos, and offer thoughts on what is—and is not—worth your money.
The Mac & Cheese marketplace was one of our favorites the last couple of years. It was one of a few with corporate sponsors, something that I often find groan-worthy as it means the unnecessary inclusion of almond milk into recipes or the booth selling overpriced plastic bags of tomatoes.
That was not the case with Mac & Cheese, which was presented by Boursin Cheese–a logical and tasty fit for this booth. After all, Boursin is a fine cheese that’s beloved at social gatherings in France (per Bousin, and since their corporate website says so, it must be a fact). It’s sophisticated stuff for discerning palates, not some swill like Babybel. Never mind the fact that they’re both made by Bel Brands USA (and also the reality that Babybel is a delicious guilty pleasure). But I digress!
Note that’s all past tense. The Mac & Cheese booth is dramatically different this year, with a new menu.
Anyway, let’s start with the 2022 Mac & Eats food and drink menus:
Traditional Macaroni & Cheese with herbed panko (Emile’s Fromage Montage)
Chili-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with sour cream and cheddar cheese (New) (Plant-based) (Emile’s Fromage Montage)
Mac & Eats Beverages:
81Bay Brewing Co. Lemon Hazy IPA
Catena White Clay Sémillon-Chenin (New)
Evolution by Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir (New)
Now our photos and reviews of each item at the Mac & Cheese marketplace from 2022…
Traditional Mac & Cheese ($5) – This is the straightforward macaroni and cheese dish, with herbed panko added to the mix.
Our portion here was pathetically small, but that’s okay–Disney was just looking out for our waistlines! 😉 Joking aside, we really didn’t mind because this mac & cheese was dry and uninspired. Not recommended–avoid this dish.
Chili-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese ($5.50) – This is the plant-based option, featuring meatless house-made ground “beef” plus beans, corn chips, and other ingredients that should probably have air quotes around them.
The “beef” is actually quite good, making for a hearty and satisfying dish here. The other ingredients work well with it, and make this shockingly convincing as chili mac & cheese. You can taste a slight difference in the “meat,” but I probably would’ve guessed it was just a bit lower quality–rather than plant-based–if I had to guess without looking at the menu. Recommended.
Cowboy Macaroni and Cheese ($6.25) – This mac & cheese is topped with smoked pork belly, brisket burnt ends, pickled peppers, onion straws, and barbecue aioli.
Every component coalesces and makes for something truly magical in this mac & cheese. It’s perfectly rich and decadent, with an interesting and surprisingly ambitious flavor for what could also pass as a simple comfort food. The Cowboy Mac & Cheese is the true saving grace of this booth–which used to be an exceptional marketplace–and the reason to stop here. Highly recommended, worthy of our List of the 10 Best Dishes & Desserts at the 2022 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival (that was made before the second wave of marketplaces opened).
Ultimately, Mac & Cheese is an underwhelming booth at the 2022 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. This is mostly due to our knowledge of how good it was in the past, and how lackluster it is now by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, the Cowboy Mac & Cheese is absolutely fantastic, but this lineup used to consist of 4 different macaroni and cheese dishes of that caliber.
Here’s hoping the “good” version of this booth makes a comeback in 2023. As much as we love mac & cheese, it’s hardly the pinnacle of culinary ambitiousness, and if it’s going to have a booth dedicated to it at a “foodie” event, it should at least be high quality and somewhat envelope-pushing.
What do you think of the Mac & Cheese Marketplace? Have you tried any of the four food items at this booth? What did you think of them? What do you think of this booth? Does it live up to the quality of Cheese Studio, or is it an inferior replacement? 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!