Must Eats and Drinks from Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival 2018

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: 

  1. Macaroon Au Chocolat en Sucette – the Macaroon Lollipop & La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush 
  2. Frushi 
  3. The Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider 
  4. Violet Lemonade 
  5. Local Wildflower Honey Mascarpone Cheesecake 
  6. Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer

Have you been to Flower and Garden Festival this year? What has been your favorite? 

Avocado Basil Pesto Gnocchi

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Every so often I want to kick dinner up a notch and make a pasta dish beyond the typical spaghetti. We have really fallen in love with gnocchi so when I saw it in the fresh pasta section of Whole Foods Market I knew it was perfect, because good gnocchi to make at home is hard to come by.

In one of our meal delivery boxes we had an avocado pesto pasta and I knew I wanted to recreate that with this ricotta gnocchi. We have recreated this a few times with grilled chicken, and other pastas and it has become a favorite, even my two year old loves it!  It would also be great on just about any pasta. Also did I mention it’s nut free?

One major important ingredient to any pesto is the Olive Oil. I have always thought most Olive Oils were all the same. Though I can tell the difference in some compared to others,  I have honestly never paid much attention to where they were from. Olive Oil is a staple in our kitchen and we use it almost daily. Did you know that European Olive Oils are different and  the best varieties out there. I will be honest I had no idea, but I do now thanks to the Flavor Your Life Campaign.

The Flavor Your Life campaigns goal is to educate North American consumers about authentic European extra virgin olive oils. It is funded by the European Union, the Italian government, and a consortium of European extra virgin olive oil producers  to empower consumers  and share inspiring recipes that use  this liquid gold in cooking everyday.

Some Facts about Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Olive Oil comes from the fruit of the Olea europaea plant, also known as the European Olive
  • EVOO is acidity free as it is below 0.8%
  • EVOO has a high smoke point (400 F) so you can bake, lightly saute and even fry.
  • You should never store on the counter or beside the stove but in a cool dark place between uses and it should never go in the refrigerator.

European Olive Oils offer many variety of flavors depending on types of Olive trees, the region, the soil and even the climate. European Olives are harvested at the end of the fruits season which is late November to December which means they are over-ripe and have a more mild and buttery flavor. European Olive Oils from different countries have different color tones, and flavors. For this dish I cooked with Zucchi Italian Olive Oil, and Italian oils tend to have darker green herbal aroma and grassy flavor. I could definitely tell the difference it made in my Avocado Pesto.

Here’s what you need to create this dish at home. It is super quick and easy, and the pesto is sure to become a favorite in your house!

1 avocado
1/2 Lemon
1/3 cup Fresh Basil
2 garlic cloves
1/3 Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I used Zucchi EVOO
Gnocchi or any pasta
1/2-1lb of Italian Chicken Sausage (optional)

 

To start cook the chicken sausage in your skillet. While it cooks start on your pesto.

Cut and deseed your avocado and add to blender or food processor. Add in 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1/3 cup of fresh chopped basil, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of water, the juice from half a lemon, 1 tsp of salt and pepper. Blend until you get a thick consistency and set aside.

Cook your pasta or gnocchi according to directions. Gnocchi takes a very short amount of time.

Your chicken sausage should be cooked by now, drain any extra oil from pan and turn heat to warm or low.

Once your gnocchi is complete, drain saving 1/3 cup of pasta water add to pan with the sausage. Then add in the pesto and reserve pasta water. You may want to add additional salt and pepper but that’s totally up to your taste.

I grabbed this beautiful Epi bread from a local bakery in town to go with our meal. It’s pulls apart into individual servings. I made a dip for the with the EVOO, parmesan cheese, and fresh Italian Herbs. I also paired my dinner with this Rosé of Malbec, which I highly recommend.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Share with me the different ways you use the pesto!

My Rocks Box Review

*This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something off my link at no extra charge to you.

 

I’ve seen Rocks Box floating around for so long, and I’ve debated and debated it. Part of taking care of me more this year, was also about putting myself together more. I can be really bad about as a Stay at Home Mom it but I feel so much better when I do. 

Jewelry can fix up the most simple of outfits, even if it’s jeans and a T-shirt. I love jewelry, so when a friend had a code for free month with a credit I figured why not give it a go. I honestly love Subscription boxes and they make life a little easier. 

As far as the process goes, you fill out a style profile very similar to Stitch Fix.  You can note your favorite designers, color preferences etc.. After I signed up and had set up to receive my first box Rocks Box emailed me to go and fill out my “Wish List”  and they would give me an additional $5 credit. Doing this also gives your stylist an idea of pieces you really love. They may even grant those wishes when you receive  your box. 

The monthly cost after the first month is $21 but that credit is good until the end of the month towards anything you purchase. You can keep the pieces as long as you want, just pay the monthly fee. They send you a prepaid label to send back what you don’t want at any time. If you choose to keep everything you get a $10 credit. 

An email was sent a few days before my box shipped showing what was inside of it. I also had the option to swap anything out that I may not have liked. I was happy with what they had picked out and two of the items were actually on my “Wish” list.  

Inside the box was a description of each piece, as well as the prices listed.When your ready to mail it back you just go online and rate what you received and check out. Then you just place any returns back in the envelope, place the return shipping label on there

Here is what was in my first box: 

Kendra Scott Irene Earrings in Gold Iridescent 

I love these earrings so much! These are a keeper for sure. They also give me all the Tangled vibes too, but they are perfect and a good versatile piece to go with just about anything. 

watch and bracelet from www.lillianandco.com

Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace in Magenta 

I’m a huge Kendra Scott fan, and I’ve been eyeing one of these necklaces for far too long. While I love this necklace I’m not going to be keeping it. For the price I decided I needed something that would go with a little more. I have some other colors on my wish list so if I decide to continue the box for a little while hopefully I’ll get one again. 

Sophie Harper Pave X Ring in Gold 

I loved this ring. I’ve wanted something like this for a while. Sadly this ring was a little to small for my middle finger where I wanted to wear it so I’ll be sending it back. 

While this isn’t something I will do all the time it is a fun way to get a few new pieces added to your wardrobe. I’m at a place now where I would rather have some nicer pieces of jewelry than a bunch of cheap ones. I definitely recommend giving it a try if your looking for a few new pieces, or to do a little something for yourself. Men this would also make a great gift for the ladies in your life! 

Use code MEGANABFF31 and get your first box free!