We’re less than one month away to opening day of the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and three months from closing day. This year, the area’s biggest — and longest — celebration of all things consumable will run a whopping 62 days.
The festival starts on Sept. 14 this year, which means that weekend will be one of the hottest of the year. Seriously, the people who write weather almanacs check to see when the Epcot IF&WF starts and just write in triple digit temperatures for that date.
Now if you’re thinking that you’ve done the festival and seen and tasted it all, you should know that there are lots of new things added to the lineup. That doesn’t mean that some favorites won’t be back. For instance, Remy, the little toqued-up rat from Ratatouille is returning, however there is no truth to the rumor that his appearance is being sponsored this year by PR’s Taco Palace.
I’m interested in the newly added “Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!” hands-on workshops that will allow guests to get their fingers dirty and sticky as they learn from pro chefs, bakers and mixologists.
Also new this year: Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef for a hands-on chef’s table experience in a professional working kitchen; The Secret of Flavor three-course lunch that gives guests a “sensory-food connection” at Yachtsman Steakhouse; and a tropical “Zombie” encounter during Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
And we’re being promised that almost half of the food items sold in the global marketplace kiosks will be new this year. They include hard soda floats at Desserts & Champagne; savory vegan “nachos” at the Greece marketplace; sweet quesitos with guava sauce at the new Islands of the Caribbean kiosk; and peanut butter and white chocolate mousse at The Chew Collective.
Yes, the crew from The Chew television show will be back for a second year and will tape a week’s worth of episodes from the festival.
Rockin’ Burger Block Party will give it a second go. We’ll see if they’ve tweaked the event, which uses the World Showplace space.
Celebrity chefs have always been one of the big draws. Newcomers this year include Geoffrey Zakaria and Masaharu Morimoto, both Iron Chefs, which I assume means they specialize in cooking with essential vitamins, and Maneet Chauhan, a judge on Chopped.
Some of the events have a participation fee and some are free. And by free, I mean that you have to buy a ticket to get into Epcot, so there’s that.
You can get details on all the events, when they’re taking place, and how to buy tickets at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival web page. Check it out and do your planning. Maybe I’ll see you out there — sometime in early November.