Almond Orchard is a booth at the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that likely exists due to a sponsorship agreement Walt Disney World has with Almond Breeze. Either that, or one of the chefs loves almond milk as much as Guy Fieri loves all things deep-fried. While I don’t side with Fieri on much, I’d much rather take a trip to Flavortown than Almond Ave.
As the online menu for Almond Orchard notes, all food items here are made with Almond Breeze Almond Milk. Personally, I feel like this booth would be better as one of the ‘corporate’ kiosks inside the Festival Center. It could potentially be cool to learn more about using how Almond Breeze could be used as a milk substitute in recipes, but I feel it’s downright unethical to force this stuff on unsuspecting tourists, pretending this is just an innocuous booth “celebrating” the greatness of almonds.
I’ve had the misfortune of having to substitute almond milk into my diet for the real thing, and it’s about the equivalent of replacing beef with vegan patties. Everyone who chooses to eat the stuff will try desperately to convince you the substitute is just as good as the real thing, but no one actually believes that.
Located at the entrance to World Showcase among heavy hitters like the Hawaii, Canada, and Australia Global Marketplaces, Almond Orchard is a bit of an outlier. Half of the menu is almond milk-based, and the other half is ballin’ champagnes. That’s because this used to be the Desserts & Champagne booth (up until a couple years ago), which I loved for its delicious ‘Dessert Trio’ that changed every year.
Here’s the menu for Almond Orchard:
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Pulled Chicken, Blue Diamond® Lightly Salted Almonds and Parmesan Cheese served with Nut Thins® Crackers
Fire-roasted Tomato Hummus topped with Blue Diamond Lightly Salted Roasted Almonds and served with Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins® Multi-seeds Crackers
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae with Fresh Berries and Chocolate Almond Streusel (KA) (V)
Now our photos and reviews of each item…
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip – The long-winded name also accurately describes this dish, which is everything promised: creamy, cheesy, and with a bit of pulled chicken. The flavor is generally pretty rich and robust, and much better than I expected.
All in all, a solid snack and the best item at Almond Orchard, but nothing you should actively seek out.
Fire-roasted Tomato Hummus – The story with this hummus is more or less the same as the dip: a good dish that delivers on its promise, but not something to seek out.
We were impressed by the earthy, fresh flavor of the hummus. It’s definitely superior to what you can buy from the grocery store, and a nice option if you’re wanting something on the healthier side.
Ironically, in both of the above dishes, the biggest liability is the subpar grain crackers, and not the almond milk base of the dips. As much as I hate to admit it, you really can’t tell these are almond milk based!
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae – I wasn’t a huge fan of this, but everyone I was with disagreed. Granted, they are not experienced connoisseurs of ice cream, so maybe they don’t have fancy ice cream sensors in their taste buds like me.
My issue was a bit of an odd tang, and a flavor I found slightly ‘off’ in the soft serve. Moreover, the sweetness of the banana is overpowered by the tartness of the berries. Neither of these qualities ruined the sundae for me, but I’d still take normal soft serve from anywhere in Walt Disney World over this–and definitely opt for something like L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot or Ample Hills 5 minutes from International Gateway.
In terms of drinks, Almond Orchard has some of the flashiest alcohol of any of the booths:
While you might have a tough time reading those prices, the champagnes range from $16 to $32 per glass.
Overall, Almond Orchard is a moderately pleasant surprise this year. It’s still a middle of the pack booth and nothing more than a thinly-veiled sponsorship (I’d love to see Walt Disney World bring back Desserts & Champagne, which this replaced), but it’s not the train wreck that it could be. Either of the dips are potentially good/safe choices, and you very well may enjoy the sundae much more than I did.
What do you think of the Almond Orchard booth? Have you tried any of the three food items at this booth? Do you like these sponsored booths, or would you prefer the Global Marketplaces in World Showcase be based upon actual countries (well, and Hawaii)? Any thoughts on these items? 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!