Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2013

A feast for the eyes and palate




I’m hold­ing Dole Whip with spiced rum and Sam Adams Cream Stout in front of the Pineap­ple Prom­e­nade. They are not both for me!

I’ve been want­ing to visit Epcot’s Inter­na­tional Flower and Gar­den Fes­ti­val for years, not real­iz­ing that it was a feast for more than just the eyes! In their 20th year cel­e­brat­ing mother nature’s finest flora, the fes­ti­val also offers a vari­ety of spring-inspired culi­nary dishes avail­able in the Gar­den Mar­ket­places. A dozen kiosks are set-up through­out the World Show­case area of Epcot. As you walk around the lake, through the dif­fer­ent coun­tries, there are large menu boards in front of the each of the kiosks with veg­e­tar­ian items clearly marked by a ‘V’ and green leaf. The items are about five to six bites and cost from $1.50 to $6 each. Some sweet, some savory and some avail­able with an adult bev­er­age kick!

I started the culi­nary trek the oppo­site direc­tion of the crowd, so reverse direc­tion of the pro­vided map. The first stop was at the Pineap­ple Prom­e­nade, which served up a vari­ety of Dole Pineap­ple tastes. All items on the menu were labeled veg­e­tar­ian, but I decided start my taste buds off with the Dole Whip with spiced rum. It was a smooth and creamy pineap­ple fla­vored soft serve fin­ished with a shot of straight spiced rum. It was a deli­cious com­bi­na­tion of fla­vors, which almost resem­bled what a frozen pineap­ple daiquiri would taste like. With or with­out the booze, I would eat the Dole Whip again!

The water­melon salad in front of the Florida Fresh stand. A must-have!

Next, I headed over to the Florida Fresh stand, which fea­tured many locally grown and pro­duced ingre­di­ents. The Florida Fresh veg­e­tar­ian items included angel food cake with Florida berries and a water­melon salad. I chose the water­melon salad, which included some of my all-time favorite ingre­di­ents, so my expec­ta­tions were high. There were about five juicy and fla­vor­ful chunks of water­melon, dressed with a hand­ful of fresh and spicy arugula, mild and crunchy pick­led red onions, chunks of lightly salted, creamy feta and fin­ished with a sweet and tangy driz­zle of bal­samic reduction.

It was a med­ley of com­pli­men­tary fresh and deli­cious fla­vors, which made this dish my favorite of the day!

I skipped the Jardin de Fies­tas near Mex­ico, since the only veg­e­tar­ian item was a guava flan and I wasn’t ready to dive into the dessert items yet. I did stop at the Lotus House in China for the pan-fried veg­etable bun. It was a soft, white bun about the size of my fist.

The inside of the pan-fried veg­etable bun. Pass on this item!

The inside of the pan-fried veg­etable bun. Pass on this item!

China Lotus House

The pan-fried veg­etable bun in front of the Lotus House in China.

Inside it was stuffed with ver­mi­celli noo­dles and finely-chopped, asian-style veg­eta­bles. On the side, it was served with a tangy, slightly-salty, slightly-sweet type sauce. The bun tasted like your typ­i­cal doughy, under­cooked white bread. The fill­ing had a strong sea-vegetable fla­vor. Over­all, the bun was taste­less and the fill­ing had an over­whelm­ingly sea­weed, fishy tast­ing. I tried two bites and tossed the rest. I should of tried the can­died fresh straw­ber­ries they offered instead!

The next menu was at the Bauern­mar­ket: Farmer’s Mar­ket stand. After read­ing many rave reviews online about the Ger­man potato pan­cakes, I was excited to try them. I haven’t tried many potato pan­cakes in my day, so I didn’t have a com­par­i­son for the taste. These pan­cakes were served with house-made apple­sauce. After the first bite, I was hugely dis­ap­pointed! The pan­cake was so extremely salty with an eggy fin­ish, it was almost ined­i­ble. I tried a sec­ond bite towards the cen­ter of the pan­cake with more apple­sauce and it was just as salty. The apple­sauce was fla­vor­less and tasted more like it was just poured out of a jar. This was the sec­ond item of the day I tossed after two bites! I was grate­ful though that I ordered the Hugo-elderflower sparkling wine cock­tail to cleanse my palate from the salt over­load. The drink was a refresh­ing and bub­bly cock­tail with a hint of sweet and flo­ral elder­flower syrup and sprigs of fresh mint.


Ger­man potato pan­cake with house-made apple­sauce and the Hugo-elderflower sparkling wine cock­tail at Bauern­mar­ket: Farmer’s Mar­ket. Skip this salty pancake!


Lasagna pri­mav­era at Italy’s Pri­mav­era Kitchen. It was not the most appe­tiz­ing presentation.

Next, it was on to Italy’s Pri­mav­era Kitchen, where the veg­e­tar­ian offer­ings included lasagna pri­mav­era and Limon­cello fla­vored panna cotta with fresh berries. I tasted the lasagna, which had spinach noo­dles, green peas, mush­rooms, zuc­chini, broc­col­ini, a creamy béchamel sauce and was fin­ished with fresh basil, slices of roasted gar­lic and chunky, braised toma­toes. The top had a crispy layer of baked cheese. The sauce was very creamy among the noo­dles and the veg­eta­bles were undis­tin­guish­able among the sauce and cheeses. Over­all, the lasagna was ok, but not worth a sec­ond visit. I may not had been served the fresh­est por­tion though, since it was late in the day.

I skipped the Smoke­house: Bar­be­cue and Brews, since they didn’t really offer any­thing veg­e­tar­ian. They marked on the menu that the Rocky Road Brownie Mousse was veg­e­tar­ian, but it did con­tain marsh­mal­lows. I don’t con­sider marsh­mal­lows veg­e­tar­ian since they con­tain gelatin.

In Japan, the Hanami kiosk offered veg­e­tar­ian options of fruishi (a fruit sushi roll), yak­isoba pan (veg­eta­bles, noo­dles and teriyaki on a bun) and green-tea flan. I was ready for dessert by this point in my culi­nary adven­ture, so I chose the flan. The pre­sen­ta­tion was util­i­tar­ian, with a firm, pale-green cus­tard in a mini, metal pie tin. The cus­tard was eggy and creamy with a very slight green-tea fla­vor. I dug my spoon through to the bot­tom of the tin and there was a liq­uidly, caramel sauce to add some more fla­vor. Per­son­ally, I am not crazy about the fla­vor of eggs, so I was hop­ing this dish would have a stronger green-tea flavor.

The baked goat’s brie with kumquat chut­ney, green tea and gin­ger tri­fle, and apple chai hot tea. All delicious!

I ended up skip­ping the Taste of Mar­rakesh, which offered a veg­e­tar­ian Moroc­can sweet pan­cake with honey, almonds and Argan oil. I also skipped France’s rata­touille tart with goat cheese. I was hold­ing out for England’s The Cot­tage: Savories, Tri­fles and Teas offerings.
The Cot­tage offered many veg­e­tar­ian selec­tions such as Waterk­ist Farms heir­loom toma­toes with house made-mozzarella, Minus 8 vine­gar and basil, baked goat’s brie with kumquat chut­ney, a vari­ety of tri­fle desserts and a selec­tion of hot and iced teas. I enjoyed the baked goat’s brie. It was a light, flaky pas­try wrapped around mild and creamy goat’s milk brie. (Not to be con­fused with the pungent-flavored soft goat cheese, or also known as chèvre.) It was fin­ished with a sweet and cit­rusy kumquat chut­ney. I also tried the green tea and gin­ger tri­fle. It was a sweet, creamy and fla­vor­ful lay­ered cus­tard on top a small piece of vanilla sponge cake. It was very tasty and a step-up from the green-tea flan served in Japan. I fin­ished my tastes with an apple chai hot tea. This kiosk was my sec­ond favorite for the day behind the Florida Fresh water­melon salad.

It was a fun-filled, culi­nary adven­ture through­out the day. In addi­tion to some new and tasty fla­vor expe­ri­ences, there was also visu­ally intrigu­ing vari­eties of top­i­aries, flower beds, fresh herbs and veg­eta­bles grow­ing through­out the park. It is a must-do event for a veg­e­tar­ian or gar­den lover!

March 12 — May 19, 2013
Requires gen­eral park admission



One Response to “Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2013”
  1. Enjoy your write up on the fes­ti­val. Sure was a lot of food for thought, but thanks for all the tips!!!!!!!!!!

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