Flower and Garden Festival has definitely grown and changed over the years and it’s for sure been for the better. The addition of food booths with at least one new each year has made this festival become a fan favorite among many.
We spent several evenings and afternoons the first few days of the festival eating and drinking around the festival booths, and trying out what there is to offer. We love skipping out on Dining reservations and tasting what the festival has to offer for dinner instead.
Let me take you around the world of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival.
First take a stop at The Honey Bee-step in the Showcase Plaza for the Local Wildflower Honey- Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream garnished with Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses. Y’all I almost skipped out on this and I’m so glad I didn’t. This was delicious and I was solo at the time so I didn’t have to share it which was even better. This has been a Festival favorite this year and I’ve heard they have sold out a few days.
Next skip on over to the Pineapple Promenade for a fan favorite and must try the Violet lemonade. This non alcoholic beverage is perfect for a hot day, and super refreshing. My toddler even loved it and kept asking for a purple smoothie anytime we would pass it.
Here I also love the Pineapple Mana Whet from Maui Brewing Co. It was my favorite beer of the festival last year and of the few I tried I would say it probably wins again this year. It’s the perfect summer beer and you can buy it in Florida. I also tried new this year the Playalinda Brewing Company Violet Lemonade Ale. I had heard some mixed reviews on it but I thought it was pretty tasty. There are several other delicious things to try here like Dole Whip with our without rum and some other pineapple treats.
My favorite non sweet treat, and non drink item of the festival I last minute decided to try on our last day from La Isla Fresca also in the Showcase Plaza. I’m so glad I did. The Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer had 5 pieces of shrimp, and the rice with coconut lime sauce was a good size serving as well. The shrimp was hot off the grill and perfectly cooked, and even my two year old loved the rice. This is another good sized portion you could add into making a meal around the festival.
I also tried their Tropical Freeze with Mango Rum and it was perfect since it was a hotter day. However it was pretty sweet so I’m glad it was pretty small. You can also get the Tropical Freeze without rum which makes it kid friendly.
The way to this Kentucky born and raised girls heart is making a mint julep taste delicious. I love bourbon but your traditional mint julep is well not that great. The Twinings Green Tea Berry Mint Julep from the Berry Basket deserves more festival love first off. It’s so good! You can get this with and without the bourbon, so if your of drinking age I suggest with the bourbon or course.
At Food and Wine festival we always love the China booth for the potstickers so we stopped by the Lotus House to give the dumplings and spring rolls a try at Flower and Garden. I really enjoyed both items and definitely wish there was a little more peanut sauce with the chicken ones because well I kinda love peanut sauce.
The Ham and cheese pretzel roll at the Bauernmarket: Farmers Market – Germany was a delicious afternoon treat. It is also a great pairing to a German beer from the booth. The ham is a little on the salty so I definitely recommend something to wash it down.
I also tried the Hugo-Charles De Fère “Organic” Brut with Elderflower and mint. We had beautiful and cooler weather but I happened to have this on a hot day and it was so refreshing. I love the taste of fresh mint in a cocktail.
By the time I got to the Primavera Kitchen ItalyI really wasn’t feeling any food at all. It was the last day and I was solo with my napping toddler so I grabbed the Bellini. Theirs was sparking wine with Peach purée and it was the perfect dry yet sweet taste. It was really refreshing and I loved it.
It’s so hard to choose a favorite but I could have eaten the Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider so many times from the Smokehouse in the American Adventure. We also tried the Pulled Pig Slider and to me it was just ok compared to the other slider so if you have to choose definitely choose the Burnt Ends and Pork Belly one.
Of course the Frushi in Hanami in Japan is a must try for me. It definitely became famous on Instagram but honestly it was so good. It is Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry, and Melon rolled with Coconut rice, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and whipped cream with raspberry sauce on the side. I was worried it would be weird but the flavors all flowed so great together and the coconut was the perfect touch.
While I apparently got the short end of the stick at Taste of Marrakesh in Morocco with their Fried Cauliflower I still want to recommend it. Mine was definitely not fried and didn’t look like any I have seen any other instagram accounts share. I would say mine was almost roasted but it was still good and I loved the Chili-Ranch sauce was perfect for dipping. It’s supposed to be breaded so needless to say I’ll be giving it another try when I’m there Dapper Day weekend.
The Spicy Blackened Shrimp and Cheddar Cheese Grits (sorry the picture was too dark and grainy) from the Florida Fresh booth was one of my favorite savory dishes. I fell in love with the combination of shrimp and grits 8 years ago when we were in Amelia Island Florida celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary. This one had great flavor and was a really good size serving. It definitely has a kick so be prepared for that!
My absolute favorite treats of the festival are found at the France booth. The Le Vien Rose was one of my favorites of the last two years and is still the same today. I feel like any of the slushes in France are always a big hit but this one is probably one of my absolute favorites around.
This year the addition of the macaroon pop made France even better. In the 5 days we were there during the festival I probably had the macaroon at least 3 times. Macaroons are the way to my heart lately. I figured this one would be a small macaroon but I was super surprised at its size and the chocolate flavors were so delightful.
Onto the next stop is the Cider House. Here I tried the the Florida Beer Company Caribè Pineapple Tropical Hard Cider. I like dry ciders but I’m not a big fan of sweeter ones, I think this one was kind of a good meet in the middle. While I don’t think I could drink a big one and thankfully this one came in a small pour.
We also tried the House Made Potato and Cheddar Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare. While I wasn’t a fan of the Tartarus my husband who is more of a fish person thought it was great. The biscuit however ya I’m going to need the recipe for that!
At Northern Bloom in Canada we had the Beef Tenderloin Tips with Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce, Whipped Potatoes and Garden Vegetables. I’m not really a mushroom fan but my husband is. However on a cooler day this was like true comfort food and was so delicious.
Now I realize I tried something from everywhere except one place. My goal was one thing from each booth and I got home and realized I left out Jardin de Fiestas in Mexico. I mean Margaritas anyone? We actually tried the new Margarita stand one day and I totally forgot to go back to the festival booth so it’s on my list for my solo trip at the end of the month.
If your short on time and limited as to what to try here are my top SIX (ok kinda seven) I would recommend:
- Macaroon Au Chocolat en Sucette – the Macaroon Lollipop & La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush
- The Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider
- Violet Lemonade
- Local Wildflower Honey Mascarpone Cheesecake
- Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer
Have you been to Flower and Garden Festival this year? What has been your favorite?