Food & Wine ’13 “Scouting Report”!

88 days.  I meant to mention that yesterday, but I forgot.  88 days until Food & Wine officially begins!  Less than three months away, now!  Yahoo!

I did mention the phrase “party-crasher” yesterday.  Is that what we should call Brazil’s return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?  Party crashing?  No, not in my opinion.  In fact, when it came to Brazil’s absence at the 2012 event, I was among the disappointed.

In 2011, Brazil hit our list at #4 with its Seared Mahi-Mahi.  Served with with steamed rice, hearts of palm, and a coconut-lime sauce, it was, as I recall, quite tasty.

Their other offering was a rendition of Brazil’s National dish – Feijoada.  Feijoada, according to Wikipedia, has been described as a stew of black beans, salted pork or beef, bacon, smoked pork ribs, and at least two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef.  To be honest, I wasn’t adventurous enough to try it but, looking back, I wish I had.

For 2013, our South American friends are going to serve us Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado, and Cilantro.  Yum!

Pork Belly

Although I’m not quite ready to put this one at the very top of the pre-festival chart, I can’t wait to give it a try!  I do like pork and black beans.  Only the avocado, undoubtedly a minor ingredient in this masterpiece, gives me reason to pause.  I’m not a huge fan.  For the time being, however, our crispy pork belly will hit the list at #3 – right behind Hawaii’s pork sliders and Canada’s filet and ahead of Scotland’s salmon.

Then again, Florida Local will be presenting Florida Grass-Fed Beef Sliders accompanied by White Cheddar and Sweet & Hot Pickles.  Oh, this one has got to be good!  Sorry, pork belly.  You didn’t last at #3 for long.  Slot these sliders in there instead!  I mean, this dish has three of my favorite ingredients – beef, cheese, and sweet-hot pickles!

It’s hard for me to imagine that these morsels might be able to “take out” Hawaii’s Kalua pork and Canada’s filet, but who’s to say?  Last year, Florida offered, what was for me, a very disappointing White Corn Arepa.  This year, they’re clearly ‘stepping their game up’!

One word makes me avoid the South Korea marketplace.  Kimchi.  Yes, I have tried kimchi.  I don’t like it.  So, I hesitate to imagine what a ‘Kimchi Dog (??!) with Spicy Mustard Sauce and Kimchi’ will be.  I’m afraid I’m going to need to see it before I can even think about eating it.  Sorry, South Korea.  You’re last on the list, at this point.

Finally, in what’s being labeled as an “Epcot International Flower & Garden (er, “Food” & Garden) Festival Rewind”, we’re going to see Florida Fresh’s Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese, and Balsamic Reduction.  It’s being served at the Tables in Wonderland “Taste Your Way Around The World” event.  Will it also be available at the festival?  I hope so.  For “Food” & Garden, I ranked this salad a very solid, and “Recommended”, #11.  It was a very refreshing dish.


So, where are we at?  Here’s the very first installment of All in WDW’s 2013 Pre-Festival Top “25”:

  1. Kalua Pork Sliders (Hawaii)
  2. “Le Cellier” Filet Mignon (Canada)
  3. Grass-Fed Beef Sliders (Florida)
  4. Crispy Pork Belly (Brazil)
  5. Scottish Salmon (Scotland)
  6. Watermelon Salad (Florida)
  7. Kimchi Dog (South Korea)

OK, I know we’re not at “25” as yet, but give it time.  I can’t wait to see what’s coming next either.  Stay tuned, folks!

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