Last year, I visited EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival for the first time, and when I got home, I planned a week-long blog festival of coverage … and then I never posted it. (I’m actually not sure what happened … but it definitely distracted me.) So I am finishing it up this year as a countdown to celebrate this year’s Fest!
Today, I am starting with my favorite thing about any EPCOT Festival: The Food! Before I hit the Festival, I made a list of all of the things I wanted to enjoy … let’s see if I hit everything I wanted.
Here, I started with the salad. Because I’m a white girl. And it was early in the day. And maybe, instinctively, I knew I basically wouldn’t touch another vegetable the whole day. Anyway, my field greens were topped with strawberries, almonds and some stinky Stilton. It was perfectly delicious and not at all overdressed.
Next, Dan and I both dove into the smoked salmon sandwich. Actually, it’s full, proper name was: Potato, Chive and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare. I think this may have been the winner of the day: The fish was delicious and fresh. Not too smokey, not too fishy and with just the right amount of dill. The biscuit was soft and tender, and the flavor was good. We could taste the potato, chive and cheddar, but they weren’t overpowering.
We rounded it out with lemon scones and a “rose” lemonade. I didn’t love the scones; I thought they were well too dry. Dan, on the other hand, thought they were good but not anything really special. The drink was just … meh. Sweet.
Fleur de Lys
Next up: the La Vie en Rose! A delicious frozen cocktail brought to us by the good folks in France. Usually, after a couple of sips, I complain that France’s drinks are too sweet, but the tart cranberry in this one really did me right. And Dan’s a sucker for anything with St. Germain liquor.
Oh, frushi. Everyone has an opinion in this extremely odd, dessert-inspired version of sushi rolls. Neither Dan nor I had ever tried this before, and we were both … disappointed. He outright panned it, calling it gross and gimmicky. Me, well … I really liked the coconut-scented rice. But beyond that, the texture really made me unhappy. It was just too sticky.
The smoker added a festive touch and heavenly smell to the American Adventure, for sure, but I wasn’t 100% in love with these selections. First up, we tried the pulled pig slider with coleslaw (Dan poured on BBQ sauce). While I thought the slider was a little too peppery, Dan loved it so much that he ordered it again on a subsequent visit.
We also gobbled up a plate of smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread. The beef was crazy tender, and the collards were nice and smokey salty but the texture was off. And as much as I love corn bread, this jalapeño-laced version didn’t do it for me.
For dessert, we took on the bacon cupcake with maple frosting, and I liked the cake and the frosting well enough but … ehhhh … the pretzels were soggy and the bacon was overly chewy and, at the end of the day, it felt too gimmicky. Overall, I’m not excited
Do you even know what a kumquat is? It’s a tiny, cute citrus fruit. And I typically love all things tart and citrusy, so I was sad when I didn’t love this one. The pastry itself had a great texture and crunch from the crystallized sugar, but the filling was just so sweet. Oddly, that’s the exact quality that allowed Dan to enjoy this one–he grew up in Florida eating super sweet kumquat desserts.
Jardin de Fiestas
In Mexico, we sprung for the tacos al pastor: another delicious pork dish, this time served with grilled pineapple. I didn’t love the cilantro, but I did love the pineapple, tender pork and non-spicy deliciousness. Ironically, Dan didn’t think it was spicy enough. (The story of our lives.)
To round out the day, we had dole whips … two ways. First up was a delish sweet potato waffle dusted with cinnamon and dole whip toppings. The flavor of the waffle was nice, but not something I’m dying to order again. The ice cream made the waffle a little too soggy.
Next, I hit up a dark rum’d dole whip. I’m no stranger to pouring alcohol in my pineapple soft serve, but … I don’t know. It just never quite lives up to the hype in my head. It’s too sweet or too astringent. I think I may be done with the boozy attempts at dole whip. (I am so much in love with the boozy root beer float made with Rumchata that it’s barely a loss at all.)
This year, I will actually be in the Parks for a bit of the festival, but only plan to spend a half day in EPCOT. I definitely want to enjoy the flowers, but I’m not sure how much I’ll really be eating this year.
I’m very into the look of the Strawberry Marshmallow Macaroon, so maybe I’ll just have a small lunch and have dessert. And a drink. Because there are some interesting (read: weird and likely delicious) offerings on tap, including a pineapple wine and a sparkling lime wine.
What did you enjoy at last year’s Spring Fest? And what are you looking forward to this year? Let us know!