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? 

3 Reason to Love Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

3 Reason to Love Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

 

I have always loved Epcot’s International Flower Garden Festival, I even got to work it one season of it on my college program and worked in the first ever speciality booth. Years after that they kept adding them and adding them into what it is today. I’m happy our trips have fallen during the festival and this year I fell even more in love with it each year. I love seeing all the bold, bright, vibrant colors and flowers through Epcot. They seriously do the most fantastic job. The picture below is one of my favorite spots in the festival. Here are 3 reasons to love it.

1.The Special Topiaries

The topiaries are so fun to see each and every year. They have been enhanced and changed a bit over the last 8 plus years I have been visiting the festival and they just don’t disappoint. This year I absolutely loved the Beauty & The Beast ones, mainly because everything was all about the Beauty & The Beast movie coming out and they just took me back to my childhood. These have been around for a while but this year they just really hit the spot.

 

I also loved the Peter Pan topiary. Again this has been around for a while but I don’t recall it always being on top of the United Kingdom building. ( it could have been that way for years and my Mom brain just doesn’t work, there were 3 years in a row I wasn’t there during the festival)

My absolute favorite and one we will continue to hit year after year is the Lion King. We got a picture there last year on my daughters trip and one again this year to compare. I hope we can do this for years to come, though Daddy may not be able to hold her up like that forever.

2.  The Play Areas & Children’s Activities

This year I found a whole new love for these play areas. Last year we were not old enough to enjoy them but this year they were life savers with an extremely active at the time 15 month old. There are 3 play areas one along the Imagination walkway from Future World to the World Showcase called Music Melodies Play Ground, a small area in-between France and Morocco, and one that sets right behind Mousegear, along the Test Track Walkway called the Road to the Florida 500.  There is also an egg hunt you can do, as well as fun activities at each country at Kidcot where your children can travel the world and get a stamp at each country. ( Kidcot is available year around but the offerings can change a bit from season to season.

We spend a lot of afternoons and evenings at Epcot on our visits so we visited the Music Melodies play area few times and my daughter had a blast. They have nice shaded areas for Moms and Dads to sit back and relax too.

 

The small play space in between Morocco and France was fairly small but it was a great spot to run off some energy.

Our favorite of the 3 was definitely the Road to the Florida 500. While it wasn’t hidden necessarily it was not so out in the open that tons of people were stopping, and it was super shaded which is always great! We wish we would have explored this gem earlier in out trip.

The front of the area was themed super cute as well for the upcoming CARS 3 movie.

3. The Food Booths

To be honest as much as I love all the food booths I only stopped twice this last trip and both times for drinks. On our previous trip in November it was Food & Wine Festival and we snacked so much and tried so many things that I barely had room to try some of my favorites. However I will say I love love love the fact that they added all the booths into Flower and Garden Festival several years ago because they were so needed. My favorite booth is the Pineapple Promenade, I love all things Pineapple especially Dole Whip and there they have Dole Whip with rum. I like the Coconut Rum best. This year I had to try the Pineapple Mana beer from Maui Brewing Company and oh how I wish I could find it at home.

There are so many other great stops through the World Showcase for drinks and food galore during the Flower and Garden festival to check out.  You can even pick up a passport and get a stamp at each country as you go through. There are 15 different Outdoor Kitchens as they call them.

 

There are many other things to do at the Flower and Garden Festival. There are great photo opportunities, workshops, The Garden Rocks Concert Series, tours, special merchandise and more. You can actually download the Festival Passport here.

 

The last day for Flower and Garden is Monday, May 29th. As with anytime at Disney but especially Epcot during festivals the weekends are much more crowded.  There are 2 more great Epcot Festivals to look forward to this year as well. My favorite the International Food and  Wine festival which starts even earlier this year on August the 31st and runs through November 13th, and Holidays Around the World November 24th – December 30th.