Epcot is becoming the Festival Park. If it isn’t the Flower and Garden Festival it’s the Food and Wine Festival or the new Festival of the Arts. While the exhibits and outdoor events at each festival are great, there’s something they all have in common that we can all agree on: the great outdoor kitchen booths.
Menus tend to stay similar year after year, but there are changes and old favorites are never bad. Here’s what we sampled this year at the 2017 Flower and Garden Festival.
Currywurst is a German favorite and we tried it last year. Busy Bumble loved it and was ecstatic to see it back on the menu this year. This warm, curry-spiced sausage and sauce combo is accompanied by savory paprika-spiced potato chips. Busy Bumble wishes this was permanently on the menu somewhere in the Germany Pavilion.
I’ll be honest: I thought this would be a sweet dish. But I’m so glad I was wrong. This tasty savory potato pancake was my OMG Where Have You Been All My Life moment. There’s a slight cheesy taste to the pancakes with onion and herbs. The applesauce is an unexpected topping: tart and a definite contrast to the pancakes. I loved this so much it was hard to part with a fork full for Busy Bumble to try.
This strudel was perfect: crisp, flaky, and tender inside. The cheese was a typical cream cheese- type filling, but the warm creaminess was great with the sweet berries. It was a little hard to split since it wanted to shatter when cut or bit into, but who cares? It’s strudel!
You can be sure there will be good food in the Italy Pavilion. We wanted the Strawberry Tiramisu, but they were out of strawberries when we got there. Last year they had chicken parmigiana, but this was good and maybe easier to eat. The meatballs were good, but not fantastic (someone’s grandma probably makes them better). The thick layer of melted cheese (I should have taken a picture of how hard it was to separate the cheese, it was that gooey) was artery-clogging but tasty. The microgreens were a nice touch and I wish they had a little more. I also wished for more bread. That tiny slice isn’t enough to even begin mopping up that sauce.
The Florida Fresh Kitchen was in between the Morocco and France Pavilions with a tidy little garden, a play area, and some chairs to relax in. This matched the menu perfectly: local flavors made fancy but accessible for anyone. The shrimp and grits were full of fresh corn, peppers, spicy Andouille sausage and plump Gulf shrimp. The grits themselves were amazing. I could eat a pot of that alone. The key lime tart was very sweet and little more runny than I thought it would be. The chocolate butterfly was a pretty touch. The slushie though: cool and refreshing with just a touch of sweet from the watermelon. And it had gin. Made me relax.
You can probably guess that if I like something enough I’ll forget to take a picture in time. That was the case with this shake. It sounds so weird, but it works. It came from the booth in the Canada Pavilion and is made with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, caramel corn, and Crown Royal. It was a little strong for Busy Bumble, but I loved it. Glad they only gave us a little more than a shot glass. That stuff is dangerous.