I was so excited when I found out that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival was expanding from 75 days to 90 days starting on March 2, 2016 which was my scheduled Epcot day! It was practically perfect the way everything worked out. I hadn’t had a chance to visit during Flower & Garden Festival since 2009 and I couldn’t wait.
This year we decided to try out as many of the Outdoor Kitchens as we could while we were traveling around the world doing the Egg-stravaganza egg hunt (which also started March 2). Each Outdoor Kitchen offers small sized portions of entrees, desserts and drinks inspired by the country they are located in.
We started our adventure in America with THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brew. We tried the Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos. We requested the cheddar fondue on the side, as I’m not a big cheese fan. (Hanging head in shame) The brisket was tender and seasoned just right. The potatoes are perfectly cooked and just burst in your mouth as you bite into them.
Other items available are:
- Pulled Pig Slider with Crispy Onion and Coleslaw
- Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad
- Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans
- The Great American Wine Company Red Blend- Sonoma, CA
- Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen- Oakland Park, FL
- Orlando Brewing Company Uncle Matt’s Organic Grapefruit Pale Ale- Orlando, FL
- 3 Daughters Rod Bender Red Ale- St. Petersburg, FL
- Shipyard Maple Bacon Stout- Clearwater, FL
- Frozen Lemonade with Firefly Blackberry Moonshine
- Frozen Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)
- Sweet Tea (Non-Alcoholic)
Our next stop was Jardin de Fiestas in Mexico. After our brisket it was time for dessert, so we tried the Flan de Rosas served with Hibiscus Reduction and the Rose Margarita. I have a thing for anything flavored with flowers and the Mexico Outdoor Kitchen was definitely inspired by flowers! The flan was caramelly (Is that a word? Oh well, it is now!) and rich and the hibiscus reduction was delicious! The margarita was slightly on the strong side, but was still amazing.
If you aren’t ready for dessert, don’t worry, Jardin de Fiestas has plenty to offer you!
- Tacos de Camaron Tempura Shrimp served with Hibiscus Flower, Caramelized Onions and Habanero Sauce
- Corn Tortilla Quesadilla served with Roasted Mushrooms and Zucchini Blossom topped with Green Tomatillo Sauce
- Tecate Light Beer
- Ederflower Watermelon Sangria
We continued on the dessert train at the Lotus House in China. I have to say that I honestly wanted to try EVERYTHING on the menu, but we had already agreed to try one (1) food item and one (1) drink. We did break that rule here and tried two (2) drinks. I knew exactly what I wanted here, as I’ve seen pictures from past years, so we tried the Beijing-style Candied Strawberries, the Oolong Peach Bubble Tea and the Plum Wine. The candied strawberries were by far a favorite. The peach tea did not disappoint and I was pleasantly surprised by the plum wine.
Lotus House offers something for everyone!
- Gaoli Beef Bun
- Vegetable Spring Roll with Orange Sauce
- Kung Fu Punch Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango and Orange Juice
- Honey Mango Wine Cooler
- Dragon Pearl Beer, Honey, Cream and Tapioca Pearls
- Tsingtao Beer
After two (2) dessert stops we jumped back to the savory items with a stop at Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market in Germany. We chose the Currywurst with Paprika Chips which was a Roasted Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup and Paprika-spiced Chips. Germany knows its brats and I thoroughly enjoyed the curry ketchup. The paprika chips were flavorful without being too spicy.
Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market offers these other tasty treats:
- Chicken Fricassee with Green Asparagus and Peas served with Uncle Ben’s Rice Pilaf
- “Armer Ritter” Egg Battered Toast with Cherry Compote and Powdered Sugar
- Hugo-Charles de Fere “Organic” Brut with Ederflower and Mint
- Paulaner Original Munich Lager
- Schofferhofer Hefeweizen
- Warsteiner Dunkel
- Kostritzer Schwarzbier Black Lager
We continued on our tasty journey and came upon Primavera Kitchen in Italy. After our savory brat in Germany we needed something to cleanse our palate and got the Cremoso al Pistacchio which was Pistacchio Cream, Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream. The cremoso al pistacchio was perfect and not too sweet. My only complaint was that there just wasn’t enough of it!
Primavera Kitchen does have some more traditional Italian entrees that are sure to please all Guests.
- Pollo alla Parmigiana- Breaded Breast of Chicken, Tomato, Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese
- Mezze Lune Primavera- Egg Pasta stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach in a Creamy Sauce with Spring Vegetables and Pecorino Cheese
- Pinot Grigio
- Bellini Sparkling wine and Peach puree
- Rossini Sparkling wine and marinated Strawberries
- Frozen Italian Primavera Assorted fruit slushy, Limoncello and Vodka
- Moretti Lager
- Moretta La Rossa
- Italian Seasonal Selection
Leaving Italy and off to Japan! Before stopping to sample a delectable bit from Hanami we had to take a detour to Pick a Pearl which is a tradition of ours!
After the Pick a Pearl ceremony and scoring a nice size pearl, our stomachs were ready for another treat. We decided on the Beef Teriyaki Udon- Thin-sliced Beef, Onions, and Noodles tossed on the grill with Soy and Ginger. The beef udon was mouthwatering!
Hanami has plenty of choices including:
- Frushi- Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry and Melon Rolled with Raspberry Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream on the side
- Chicken Edamame Bun- Steamed Bun filled with Chicken and Edamame and topped with Curry Sauce
- Sapporo Draft Beer
- Yuzu Plum Wine Slushy- Sweet refreshing taste infused with the tangy flavor of Citrus
- Suigei Sake- Bold flavor with a crisp, clean finish
Morocco was our next stop and of course it was time for dessert again! The Taste of Marrakesh gives Guests just a small taste of Moroccan cuisine. This stop was for me as I had to have the baklava, but my husband has a mild allergy to nuts. It was rich, spicy and sweet and I’m happy that we stopped.
Other options available at Taste of Marrakesh are:
- Harissa Chicken Kebab with Sweet Couscous Salad
- Falafel Pocket with Cucumber-Tomato Salad and Tahini Sauce
- Desert Rose- Sparkling Wine topped with Pomegranate Liqueur
- White Sangria
- Guerrouane Red Wine
- Casa Beer
Nestled between Morocco and France is the little stand, Florida Fresh. Here Guests can try some of the amazing fresh foods Florida has to offer. We were pretty full by now, so I just had the Fresh-squeezed Watermelon Juice. The juice was light and refreshing with a smooth, clean taste.
Florida Fresh has some enjoyable samplings that include:
- Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds, Goat Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Shrimp and Stone-ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro
- Florida Larder Board Orlando-made Ricotta Cheese, Cahaba Farms Micro Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic, Country Pate and House-made Pickles
- Key Lime Sparkling Wine, Florida Orange Groves Winery-St. Petersburg, FL
- Sea Dog Acai Berry Hefeweizen- Clearwater, FL
- Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company-Cape Canaveral, FL
- Watermelon Cucumber Slush with Hendrick’s Gin
- Watermelon Cucumber Slush (Non-Alcoholic)
Fleur de Lys in France lets Guests try some fancy French cuisine without having to leave the country. This time I gave my husband the chance to pick what he wanted to try and he decided to go with the Cassoulet au Confit de Canard which was Pulled Duck Confit with Braised Flageolet Beans. My husband thought it was delectable. This was my first time having duck and while I’m not sure I’ll have it again, it wasn’t bad.
Check out the other items Fleur de Lys has to offer:
- Tarte a l’Onion Alsacienne- Alsatian Onion Tart with Sauteed Onions, Fresh Thyme and Rosemary on a Flaky Puff Pasty Crust
- Macaron Chocolat Framboise- Large Raspberry Macaron with Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry Jam
- Ice Pop Grand Marnier Peach Cocktail- Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry, Vodka, Iced Tea
- La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush- Grey Goose Vodka Orange, St. Germain Liquor, White and Red Cranberry Juice
- Merlot Bordeaux Chateau La Graviere, 2013
- Kir Imperial Sparkling Wine with Chambord Black Raspberry Liquor
- Kronenbourg Blanc 1664-Fruity White Beer with Citrus Notes
Next on our travels we found one of the two (2) new Outdoor Kitchens this year. Cider House transports Guests to the cobble streets of the United Kingdom. We had the Freshly Baked Lemon Scone with Creme Fraiche and Mixed Berries. The lemon scone was absolutely heavenly.
Make sure to stop by the newest Outdoor Kitchen- Cider House and try all the yummy food:
- Land-harvested Field Greens with Applies, Dried Blueberries, Stilton Cheese and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Pear Cider-brined Shredded Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage and Branston Dressing
- House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare
- Sonoma “The Pitchfork” Organic Pear Hard Cider- Healdsburg, CA
- McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider- West Seneca, NY
- Keel & Curley Mad Man Blueberry Hard Cider- Plant City, FL
- Cigar City Brewing Tampa-style Lager- Tampa, FL
- Snakebite Cigar City Tampa-style Lager mixed with McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider
- Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider California (Non-Alcoholic)
We ended our snacking tour back at the Pineapple Promenade located in the World Showcase Promenade. This one was just for my husband as I’m allergic to pineapple, but he had been dreaming of the Pineapple Dole Whip with Parrot Bay Coconut rum for months! He said it surpassed all of his expectations and can’t wait to have it again.
Pineapple Promenade offers many choices all starring Pineapple:
- Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Taro Chips
- Dole Whip- Pineapple Soft-serve
- Sparkling Pineapple Wine, Florida Orange Groves Winery- St. Petersburg, FL
- Ocean Tropical Pineapple Hard Cider, Florida Beer Company- Cape Canaveral, FL
- Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)
There were two (2) Outdoor Kitchens that we didn’t get try and those were La Isla Fresca located across from the Pineapple Promenade in the World Showcase Promenade and the Urban Farm Eats located along the walkway near Imagination Pavilion. Here’s a look at what both these stands have to offer:
La Isla Fresca
- Jerk-spice Grouper or Chicken with Mango Salsa, Chayote and Green Papaya Slaw with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
- Jamaican-braised Beef with Pigeon Pea Rice and Micro Cliantro
- Tres Leches with Guava Puree
- Red Stripe Jamaican Style Lager
- Frozen Simply Tropical Juice Drink with Cruzan Mango Rum
- Frozen Simply Tropical Juice Drink (Non-Alcoholic)
Urban Farm Eats
- Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, B&W Gourmet Farms Baby Arugula, Feta and Balsamic Reduction
- Vegetable and White Bean “Naanwich” with Arugula Pesto and Oven-dried Tomoatoes featuring Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice
- Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout, Spring Vegetables and Marble Potatoes
- Avive Natural Peach Sparkling Wine- France
- King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir- Oregon
- Sierra Nevada Otra Vez- Chico, CA
- Urban Mary
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