Don’t call it a comeback! After the success of our Food and Wine Foodie Awards, we’re back for our Festival of the Arts food review. We had an artastic trip around the world, tasted most everything the culinary arts had to offer. What dishes earned the coveted DVC Duo Foodie Awards? Let’s grab our napkin and appetite and get to tasting!
What’s an award show without a jaw-dropping monologue? We’re not sure, but we’re about to find out. How we could ever attempt to follow the great monologue from comedy legends, Chris Rock and Steve Martin at this year’s Oscars? Exactly, we cannot. We’ll save our words for describing the artistic bites we sampled for our Festival of the Arts food review. With that, monologue complete, mic drop, and on with the show!
Passholder Insights: We headed over to the festival in the early afternoon most days to create our own tasting menu for lunch.
Kicking-off our Foodie Awards is the prize for the most surprising dish. We excited to announce that the awards goes to the L’Arte di Mangiare booth for their Pollo ala Pirandello. By no means is the Italy booth new to the Festival of the Arts or any of the Epcot festivals. However, over the years the food at the booth has been average. Nothing bad, but nothing that made us crave it later in the day.
That all changed this year. Their unique spin on the classic chicken parmesan elevated the dish to a new level. The breaded drumstick was stuffed ricotta cheese then dressed with gravy or should we say red sauce (Pomodoro to be exact). We found the breading to be light, not greasy, with enough crunch to get your attention. By stuffing the drumstick with the ricotta it kept the chicken moist and added tons of the richness, and silky smooth creamyness to the fish. Exactly what you’re looking for. So much so you almost didn’t need to Pomodoro sauce.
Who are we kidding, the sauce was fantastic! Yes, we would have enjoyed the dish without it, but it’s what brought the dish together. Many times we find people try to do too much with a red sauce and not let flavors of the tomato speak for themselves. The chef showed great restraint and showcased the true tomato flavor.
Passholder Insights: One of the best views for Epcot’s nightly fireworks show is from the Italy pavilion. Head out toward World Showcase Lagoon and find a spot about 45 minutes prior to showtime.
Next up of our Festival of the Arts food review or better known as the Foodie Awards, is the best menu. We’re talking from top to bottom which booth was knocking it out of the park. Drumroll, please! The award for the best menu goes to….the Deconstructed Booth! Picking a favorite dish from this booth is no easy task. Even for these two foodies.
Ok, you twisted our arm. If we have to pick the best dish, it’s the deconstructed Rueben. This year the chef switched up the presentation and went with a Sauerkraut cake. The cake combined the Sauerkraut with Jarlsberg cheese which was dredged in rye crumbs then deep-fried. Topping the cake is sliced corned beef then the dish is finished with broken thousand island dressing. OMG!! How we were able to share this dish is still a mystery. Upon every bite, we got the tanginess from kraut, the nutty flavors from the swiss cheese, and saltness from corned beef. To think this dish is created at a festival is impressive!
Not to be outshined, you can’t go wrong with the deconstructed BLT or the deconstructed breakfast. For us, the most creative drink at the festival was the deconstructed breakfast with little bites of bacon and cream bourbon. It’s a shake Nate could have everyone morning. Can you say breakfast of champions?
Passholder Insights: One of the less-talked-about food spots at this year’s Festival of the Arts is Refreshment Port with their lobster chips. If you see these on the menu, order them. Trust us.
What’s an award show without a lifetime achievement award? An award show we don’t want to see. For this year’s Festival of the Arts food review, the lifetime achievement award goes to the Painted Panda. Over in Epcot’s China pavilion, you’ll find one of our must stop at booths for every festival. Year after year, the China booth delivers the goods when it comes to festival food.
For this year’s Festival of the Arts, the dish that caught our eye is the Char Sui Pork Bun. You had us at bun. Anytime you see a steam bun on the China booth menu definitely order it. We found the pork to be juicy and tender, there are layers of flavors and depth that begin with the sweetness and then works its way to the rich and earthy levels. What truly stood out was the steamed bao bun, which is light, airy, and perfect for sopping up the sticky Char Sui sauce.
Passholder Insights: You’ll find one of the more unique shops in the back of the China pavilion. We enjoy wandering through the shop and checking out all the different teas and snack options.
The time has come! It’s the moment we’ve been waiting. Which dish will take home our Festival of the Arts food review Foodie Award for the best dish? Surprise! Our favorite dish at this year’s festival is the sushi donut from the Goshiki booth. It’s all about the fish. For us what makes great sushi is the clean flavors from well-prepared fish and perfectly cooked rice. The sushi donut did not disappoint.
From the wide variety of choices that includes, salmon, ahi tuna, shrimp, and cucumber, the sushi donut is both delicious and a great value. Large enough to share, the sushi donut surprised us with the overall quality of the fish. To think they are serving this level of fish, out of a booth, in the warm Florida sun blows our minds. What really put it over the top, is how we could not stop thinking about it the moment after we ate it. A sign of a great dish. You could say we had sushi on the brain!
Passholder Insights: For a truly unique view of Epcot head to the second floor of the pagoda within the Japan pavilion and look out over World Showcase.
Roll credits! That’s a wrap on this year’s Festival of the Arts food review. The Foodie Awards have been handed out and now it’s time to celebrate. From top to bottom at this year’s festival is some of the best dishes, it’s hard to find a bad dish. For those dishes that didn’t win this year, there’s always next year. Until then, we’ll meet you over the Deconstructed Booth, for a breakfast of champions cocktail!