The 2014 edition of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicked off this past weekend, and we were able to sample quite a few of this year’s new menu items (of which there are more than 35 total).
Though this list is certainly not exhaustive, of the new items we tried, these five were definite standouts and are definitely “must try” items if you are planning to check out this year’s festival in the near future.
5. Teriyaki Gyoza Bun – Japan
Of the new choices for 2014 at the Japan booth, the teriyaki gyoza bun is a standout item. This chicken and veggie-filled bun has a texture similar to a potsticker, but is bursting with flavor, and has a surprisingly sweet flavor that is very pleasant and unique. The teriyaki gyoze bun is also a very hearty item by itself, and is easily shared between two people.
At $5.50, the teriyaki gyoze bun is a mid-to-high priced item, but its unique, sweet flavor and large portion size make it a standout among the new items at this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
4. Nueske’s Pepper Bacon Hash – Farm Fresh
This year, the Florida local booth was replaced by the more generic Farm Fresh booth, which included fresh ingredients from around the south. A standout item was Nueske’s Pepper Bacon Hash, which was a playful take on a classic breakfast item. This hash features big potato wedges, thick-cut bacon, corn, a generous helping of hollandaise sauce and a few pickled jalapeños to top it all off. The taste is very peppery, and definitely tickles the nose (though it's not intensely spicy).
The portion isn’t extremely generous, but at $4.00, you definitely feel like you are getting your money’s worth with this item. Though it certainly isn’t great for those who don’t like their food with a little bit of “kick”, this moderately spicy dish is definitely not one to be missed, especially if you are looking for something that you might see at a Sunday brunch.
3. Carne Guisada con Arroz Blanco – Puerto Rico
After some time away, Puerto Rico returned to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival this year with a completely new menu. One of the standout items was the Carne Guisada con Arroz Blanco, which is essentially slow-cooked beef in a hearty vegetable-laden sauce served over a bed of rice. The slow-braised beef is extremely tender and the sauce that it is served with is very flavorful, but surprisingly not very spicy. The rice underneath is a bit bland, but if you mix it up with the sauce, the taste is perfect.
This is another dish that features a fairly good portion, and is again easily shared between two. At $4.50, it certainly is a great value at the Puerto Rican booth.