It’s that time of year again! The Annual Party for Disney’s Foodie crowd. For sixteen years The Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival has come around in the fall where friends old and new meet for fun, food, and spirits. Chefs, cookbook authors, wineries, sommeliers, food and beverage producers from local and international companies, and now mixologist come from all over the world to share their expertise and products with food lovers coming in from all over the world. Let’s not forget about the concert series with musical acts like Taylor Dayne, Boys II Men, Hanson, Sugar Ray, Pointer Sisters, and more.
Every year, I would make plans to attend. I knew exactly where I’d go, what I’d eat, and who I’d be with through all of it. There were always new faces and chances to make friends that has lasted through the years. We’d all gather in line waiting for the Culinary Demonstrations for an opportunity to get ideas, try new flavors, and meet chefs from around the world.
My palate was truly happy to sample everything and I did eat everything until 2005. I became vegetarian and then immediately vegan. I still attended The Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, however I noticed that being there wasn’t as fun or exciting as it used to be. The fun of truly sharing a meal and discussing the flavor nodes of wine while picking apart ingredients of each dish became more of an experiment of sharing without tasting. Sometimes, some components of each dish could be given to me if it were already vegan. Yet, for the most part, my journey through each demo slowly dwindled to me just watching and not sampling as well. Eventually, I stopped going to the culinary demonstrations. It just didn’t make sense any more. Being a vegan at Epcot® was beginning to be a not so wonderful experience. So I thought about it and decided that I would still attend the Authentic Taste Seminars that featured food companies giving a little history, samplings, and gifts from their businesses.
So when I decided to attend the festival this year, I made my way to the Festival Center to enjoy an Authentic Taste with Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™.
Once the elastic rope was dropped, we made our way to our seats to find recipes, a tasting notes card, a napkin and finally – berries! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and one beautiful strawberry.
Tasty juicy goodness! I was one happy vegan!
The next Authentic Taste Seminar was presented by POSH Salt™ (Primordial Ocean Salt Himalaya™) . We dove into the world of Himalayan salt. We tried a salt kissed with vanilla. It had an amazing mouth feel and incredible flavor. We even received a little gift bag of Small Pink Salt Chunks. Awesome!
As I walked around the World Showcase, I explored the International Marketplace kiosk out of curiosity and a desire to enjoy a taste from different countries. Unfortunately, not one of the cute little houses held anything for a vegan. The International Marketplaces were basically houses of meat,cheese, and/or seafood dishes. Do you know how upsetting it was to walk around each country and not be able to enjoy a taste from them? Oh, extremely frustrating for a vegan at Epcot®!
So you’re basically left to roam the park doing what you naturally do everyday and that’s read labels on products. Yet with careful reading and questioning of Cast Members, you can find foods vegans can have. It’s just that you are left out of the fun of all the cute kiosks around the World Showcase. I spoke with others attending the festival and they were also disappointed in some things. I received questions about what can I eat at Epcot®. I gave a few suggestions. Yet for all of you, I’ll write about that another day. Until then, have your own food and wine festival at home.
Happy Vegan Eating!