One of my favorite things about Disney is the way the company tries to accommodate every different type of guest. Nowhere is this dedication to the guest more evident than those of us who are vegetarian, and even fully plant-based in their diets. In recent years, the parks have even been adding more-and-more fantastic options to the menus to please those of us who do not eat meat.
In future blogs, I will cover plant-based options in all different areas of the parks, but today I want to focus on the on-going “A Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival” happening at Epcot in Walt Disney World. This festival is a fantastic option that started the same day Epcot reopened in July. It has many returning booths from the “International Flower and Garden Festival” which was cut short before spring of this year, and a number of booths that are traditionally saved for the “International Food and Wine Festival.” There are also some new booths to enjoy.
As a vegetarian, I thought I would run through some of the many vegetarian, and whenever possible focusing on completely plant-based options in the festival. This is not just for my fellow vegetarians, because there are many reasons to try plant-based options at a theme park. I often travel to the parks with friends who are lacrosse intolerant, who need to avoid dairy. Sometimes, when it is a hot park day, and you are doing a lot of walking, a plant-based option can be lighter on the stomach to not way you down before trying to ride Mission Space.
Here is list of my personal favorite vegetarian and plant-based options from the festival.
Item: Blueberry and Almond Frangipane Tart
Booth: The Alps
This was the best surprise of the festival for me. While it is not plant-based, it is vegetarian. The blueberry is very refreshing, especially if you are walking around World Showcase on a hot afternoon. The almonds add a nice texture to go with the cream and fruit. This dish is a must.
Item: Impossible ™ Burger Slider
Booth: Earth Eats
This was my go-to at the 2019 “International Food and Wine Festival,” and the number one item I had hoped would return this year. Instead of mayonnaise, to keep it 100% plant-based, the “burger” is topped with a Wasabi cream and spicy Asian slaw. This has the perfect kick after you bite into it. It isn’t “spicy” in the traditional sense. It just has enough umph to add to the Impossible ™ “meat.”
Item: Impossible ™ Farmhouse Meatball with Lentil Bread
Booth: Earth Eats
I love Impossible ™ “meat,” and I have enjoyed this at past Epcot festivals. I will say that the lentil bread is an acquired taste. If this was the only Impossible ™ option, I would get it every time. With the sliders available at the same booth, I tend to just stick to the superior, and cheaper option. You may really like the lentil bread, however, so I would certainly suggest giving it a try.
Item: Chocolate Pudding Terrarium with Avocado “Cream”
Booth: Earth Eats
Completing the food trifecta at Earth Eats, you will find this completely plant-based dessert option. I was skeptical about an avocado topping to a sweet dessert, but they nailed this flavor combination. The pudding is surprisingly creamy, considering it has not actual cream. This is a great dessert option for the vegan, who wants to be completely dairy-free, in addition to not eating meat.
Item: Spicy Kenyan Vegan Corn and White Beans
Bless the rains, this is a good dish, and it is going to take a lot to drag me away from it. It’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do. Okay, those are enough Toto references. This is another one of those spicy, but not too spicy, options at the festival. I think my favorite part of this dish is that it is 100% plant-based, and it isn’t pretending to be something else. It isn’t a plant-based burger, or plant-based nachos, or plant-based mac and cheese. These are all real ingredients, cooked to taste the way they taste in real life. I love my Impossible ™ burgers, of course, but sometimes a vegetarian or vegan just wants to taste things the way nature intended. That fact also makes it a great option for meat-eaters. This isn’t a different version of something you eat. It just happens that none of the ingredients are meat.
Item: Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce
One of the most affordable options at the festival, it is also not 100% plant-based. It is a solid dessert that I often get with the Spicy Kenyan Vegan Corn and White Beans, because the German and African booths are so close to each other. There are a number of accessible tables right on the water near the booths, where you can take off your mask for a second while trying two completely different types of foods from two completely different locations. It is one of the really cool things about Epcot’s World Showcase. I grew up in Pennsylvania, around a lot of German people, so I have no concept as to whether most people need to have Strudel explained to them. I will guess no, and just tell you that it is a better version of apple pie.
Item: Plant-Based Macaroni and “Cheese” with House-made Italian “Sausage” and Peppers
Booth: Mac & Cheese Hosted by Boursin Cheese
Absolute perfection. I have visited Epcot quite a bit since reopening, and I have had this each and every time. On a few occasions, I will admit that I have had it for lunch and dinner. Be warned, this is a very spicy dish. If you don’t like spice, I would look elsewhere for your plant-based option. If you like to have your tongue tingle a little bit after taking a bite, you may want to suck it up and buy two at the same time. This booth is located in the World Showplace building between the Canada and U.K. Pavilions. There is often live entertainment in the form of a piano player who brings you some of your favorite songs from Disney movies and attractions. They also crank the air-conditioning up to eleven in the building. It is a great way to get out of the heat in the middle of the day. You can also find the festival merchandise in this building.
Item: Tarte Tropezienne, Coulis Framboise
I don’t really know what to say about this one. It is a French pastry dessert. It is awesome. This item is vegetarian, but not vegan, because it is filled with a light pastry cream.
Item: Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomatoes, Onions, Tzatziki, and Chipotle sauce.
This item was so popular, that they have had an appetizer version to the menu at Spice Road Table in the Morocco Pavilion. As a matter of fact, I would probably suggest that version over the one from the booth for a few reasons. While it is a little more expensive at the restaurant, it is a bigger serving, and you can eat it on the patio right next to the water, or inside Spice Road Table in the air-conditioning. I often skip this at the festivals, because I know I can get it twelve-months out of the year. Still, you will not regret this option either way.
“A Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival” has been, in my humble estimation, one of the biggest successes at Walt Disney World since the reopening. I have been on empty weekdays, and on weekend days with slightly increased crowd numbers. This festival allows guests to wander through World Showcase at their own pace. They can experience multiple hours of entertainment that doesn’t involve getting in line for rides. This was a wonderful addition.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, and you want to follow along as I try lots of plant-based options from the parks each-and-every week, follow me at Facebook.com/EarToThereRick.