Sunday, September 29, 2013

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2013

July 2014 Update

Gluten free options at the marketplace booths will be noted in the Marketplace Passport this fall, just like they were for the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.  The Disney Food Blog has a list of all the gluten free options for 2014 on their blog here.  The Food & Wine Festival starts September 19th!  I will highlight all returning dishes, and list all gluten free options for 2014 at the end of this post.  

Yes, it's that time of the year again in Orlando.  It's officially Fall and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival started this weekend and will run until November 11th.  

Last year was a Celiac's dream come true, at least for me.  Disney released an official map of gluten free foods.  I had pretty much avoided the Epcot Food & Wine Festival for the previous three years.  It was so tedious to stand in long lines, then wait for a chef to be called over, usually from another location, only to find out nothing was safe for me to eat.  Plus, my husband and I were often being told something was safe one week, then informed it was not gluten free (for me) or nut free (for him) when we asked about the same item on another day.  

In 2012, we were averaging at least one visit a week to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival because my whole family had found foods they loved, and it was fun to drive down after church on Sunday to have an early lunch before it got too crowded.  

One of my favorites was the Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey at the Greece booth.  I have got to find out what kind of cheese this is so I can recreate this dish at home! 

Today, I started at the Canada booth and asked if the Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce was gluten free.  I have eaten this dish in Le Cellier and at the Canada booth last year.  As they were calling a chef, I also inquired about the Greek Cheese, hoping to save myself some time.  I never spoke to the chef in person, but word was passed on to me that the beef was safe, but the Greek Cheese was not.  I was very sad about the cheese, but enjoyed my filet mignon.  

Our next stop was for Fresh Watermelon Juice at the Terra booth.  I was told it was straight up watermelon, so we each sampled a cup.  It was delicious and so refreshing on a near 90 degree day.  

At the Brazil booth, I lucked out that a chef was on site and came out to talk to me in person.  When he pulled out a very small card with allergens marked on it for the various booths, I asked if I could inquire about other booths and mark them on my map.  The chef told me that at the Brazil booth, both the Seared Scallops and the Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado, and Cilantro, which I sampled, were gluten free.  He mentioned the lamb being gluten free at Argentina, but when I got home, I realized that there is no lamb dish there.  I wonder if he meant the Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree, which I have been told is safe in previous years.  Other gluten free items I marked on my map include: Garlic Shrimp and Grilled Lamb from Australia, Berbere Style Beef from Africa (cross-contamination issues were mentioned for this one), Shrimp Ceviche from the Florida Local booth, Venison Sausage from New Zealand, the Warm Chocolate Pudding with Bailey's Custard from Ireland, the Rainbow Trout at Canada, and the Greek Cheese at Greece.  Ok, so the chef I talked to in person told me something completely different about the beef and Greek Cheese than the chef that was called at Canada.  I had just consumed Filet Mignon at Canada that was not marked gluten free on the little cheat sheet carried around by the chef I talked to.  Interestingly enough, Disney has no plans to publish a gluten free map this year because of liability, yet here I am with no map to guide me and being told two different things by two different chefs.  The whole situation is very un-Disney and very frustrating because in almost all situations, Disney does such a great job with special diets.  My advice to you is to ask about the gluten free status of the food at every booth before eating anything, and you might want to avoid it all together.  There are many other fabulous dining options at Epcot. 

At the America Pavilion, we stopped in at the Chase VIP Lounge for Disney Visa Card Members. We enjoyed a complimentary cold drink and this great view of Epcot.  

We all enjoyed the AC and a chance to sit down. 

After my girls, who do not need to eat gluten free, enjoyed the ravioli at the Italy booth, we headed to Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion.  I wanted to see if their new macarons were gluten free.  Sadly, they were not, but I was told that the Parfait Aux Fruits and the Creme Brûlée were both gluten free.

January 11, 2014 Update  -- the macaron are gluten free

I like Creme brûlée, which I have eaten in the France Pavilion before, but I decided on the Parfait Aux Fruits today, and it was just as delicious as the last time I ate it.  

On a side note, I recently read that gluten free pizza is available at the Pizza Window on Disney's BoardWalk.  When I stopped by today, the Disney employee I spoke to enthusiastically told me about the gluten free pizza, which he said is very good.  It is a small individual pizza, made in a separate kitchen to avoid cross contamination, and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to prepare.

Update -- October 4, 2013

First on the list -- I found a recipe for the Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey. I purchased kasseri cheese at Whole Foods and had it for lunch twice already this week.  It's quite tasty!

My friend Sarah from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW visited the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this week.  You can check out her blog post about it hereLemongrass Chicken Curry from Singapore can be added to the list of gluten free options, and it is dairy free too. Other gluten free options found by Sarah or her blog readers include the Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree at Argentina, Silk Ice Cream Ribbons (all flavors) at China, the Roast Bratwurst minus the Pretzel Roll at Germany, Creme Brulee au Chocolat au Lait at France, the Orange Dole Whip at the Refreshment Port, and the Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liquer at Belgium. 

Update -- October 6, 2013

For my husband's birthday, we headed to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival to have lunch after church.  

I headed straight to the Canada booth to try the Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee, and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette.  I also was hoping to get some clarification on whether the Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce was gluten free.  Thankfully, a chef was on site and told me that both dishes are gluten free.  She assured me that the truffle butter sauce is thickened with corn starch. Both of my daughters loved the trout, which was surprising because Emma rarely eats fish. 

Next, I had to go to the Greece booth and find out about the Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey.  A chef was called and it turns out that this dish is gluten free too, like it was last year. 

My daughters and I enjoyed the Grilled Beef Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree at Argentina. (In 2014, this dish can be found at the Patagonia booth)

Last stop for today was the France booth for a tasty Creme Brulee au Chocolat au Lait!

Update -- October 16, 2013

Before attending Chef Tony's culinary demonstration at the Festival Center, I walked over to the Ireland booth to finally try the Warm Chocolate Pudding with Bailey's Custard. (In 2014, the warm chocolate pudding will be served with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard) I spoke to a chef who confirmed that it was gluten free, and dug in.  I highly recommend this dessert.  The cake and sauce were delicious.  I use the word cake because it tasted like a flourless chocolate cake, not like an American pudding.  

Today, I attended my first culinary demonstration at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  The last time I saw him at Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory, Chef Tony had mentioned that in all of his demonstrations, the food was gluten free. 

Today, he made Salmon "en Papillote" with Asparagus and Cranberry Hollandaise. 

It was incredibly delicious!  I especially liked the addition of the cranberries to the hollandaise sauce.  I can't wait to make this at home!  I can definitely handle cooking the salmon in a foil pouch, and I was glad Chef Tony demonstrated a second, easier sauce than the hollandaise. 

Chef Tony, thanks for the invite!  I'll be sure to stop over at Disney's Port Orleans resort for some gluten free beignets soon.  If you haven't tried them, you really must visit Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory at Port Orleans French Quarter.  You can read my blog post about it here.  Chef Tony Marotta has one last demo on Tuesday, October 22nd.  He will be making pork tenderloin with Asian pear-cranberry chutney.  Tickets are $14 and can be purchased by calling 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378).  

Update -- October 20, 2013

My daughters asked to go to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival after church today.  They were already planning all the things they wanted to eat on the car ride downI tend to be a creature of habit once I find foods I like, but since I started this blog in May, I have been trying new meals and restaurants at Disney.  Today, I had some of my usual favorites -- the watermelon juice from the Terra booth, the griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey, and the warm chocolate pudding with Bailey's custard from Ireland.  My new choice was the garlic shrimp with roasted tomatoes, lemon myrtle & rapini from Australia.  It was so much better than the Shrimp on the Barbie that was sold at this booth in previous years.   I will definitely be sampling this dish again!  It appears that all of the food offered at the Australia booth is gluten free, but I was told that there is a risk of cross contamination with the Pavlova, a crispy meringue with fresh Driscoll's berries and a vanilla custard.  I still haven't tried the grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies at the Australia booth.  Maybe next time! 

I would really appreciate you commenting on this blog post if you happen to go to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  I would love to hear about your experiences, and I am sure my readers would to! 

Gluten Free Options for 2014  

Africa -- South African bobotie with turkey & mushrooms

Australia -- Garlic shrimp with roasted tomatoes, lemon myrtle and rapini; grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies

Brazil -- Regal Springs premium tilapia with coconut lime sauce and steamed rice; crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro

Canada -- Seared rainbow trout with bacon, frisee and maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette; "Le Cellier" wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce

Farm Fresh -- Nueske's Pepper Bacon hash with sweet corn, potatoes, hollandaise and pickled jalapenos; griddled "yard bird" with braised greens

Greece -- Griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey

Intermissions Cafe -- Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Crisp Apple

Ireland -- Warm chocolate pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard

Mexico  -- Rib eye taco with marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle salsa, and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla

New Zealand -- Venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula and black currant reduction

Patagonia -- Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree; roasted verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri

Puerto Rico -- Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican grown rice; Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro

Scotland -- Fresh potato pancake with smoked Scottish salmon and herb sour cream; seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon

Singapore -- Lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice


  1. I wish I would have come across your page before going last Monday! Would have saved me some time :) But I luckily ran into a Chef half way through the night that definitely pointed me in the right direction. Had a blast at the event and loved seeing The Go-Gos!!

    1. Jennifer has a new blog called Celiac in Orlando. Be sure to check out her blog post about the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this - it will be a huge help during our first Food and Wine Festival in two weeks! Just wondering what is in the Parfait aux Fruits you had at Boulangerie Patisserie? Is it pudding? Mousse? Whipped cream? Can't wait to try it - it looks super yummy!

    1. It's like a sweetened whipped cream. So delicious! Have fun!

    2. Hi Alexis - just got back from Disney and the Food & Wine Festival. Thanks for your reviews - they were a huge help! Sampled lots of great food. I did want to let you know that I went to Boulangerie Patisserie for the Parfait aux Fruits. Went one night and got one - was told by employee it was gluten-free as you had said. (I ate it and did not get sick.) The next day I went back to get another one and a different employee told me (very rudely) it was definitely NOT gluten-free. He checked with the manager who also insisted it was NOT gluten-free. When I explained what had happened the previous night, they didn't seem concerned that I was given conflicting (and possibly incorrect in an illness causing way) information - they just kept (rudely) repeating that it wasn't gluten-free. I left confused and worried and without another parfait. I had read other gluten-free reviews of the France Pavilion basically saying "stay away". Now I understand what they meant.

    3. Wow! Thanks for letting me know! That's really strange. Between the two of us, 3 separate times, we were told the dessert was gluten free.

  3. I finally went to the food and wine festival today. I enjoyed the crispy pork (Brazil), beef skewers (Agentina), kimchi dog NO BUN (South Korea), warm chocolate pudding (Ireland), and fried cheese (Greece).

    All delicious but the kimchi was a huge surprise. It was good! We are returning Sunday with the kids and I'm looking forward to getting that again (my husband ordered it so I just had a small bite but loved it). I'm getting my own Sunday :)

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I need to try the warm chocolate pudding the next time I go.