Orlando’s Disney Epcot park allows you to experience the cultures of 11 different countries, and the price of admission is lot cheaper than a plane ticket. For the past 20 years, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival has given guests a chance to indulge in epic flavors from the park’s 11 countries and so many more.
I recently went to the festival for the first time hoping to experience a variety of cultures through their foods and drinks. It was a great day full of delicious food (and, of course, alcohol), but it was also a fun way to learn about the diverse world we live in — all without even leaving Orlando. Here are my top 7 food and drink pairings from the day:
The Food: Kefta Pocket (seasoned ground beef in a pita pocket)
The flavor of the pocket was unbelievable. The ground beef had perfect amounts of pepper, flavorful vegetables, and texture, all stuffed in an airy pita pocket. This paired great with an ice cold Casa beer that went down smooth and cooled me off in the Florida heat.
The Drink: Casa Beer
The Food: Gaoli Beef Slider
The Gaoli beef slider had a unique flavor and texture all of its own. It was wonderfully seasoned with a nice crunch and a few slices of onion that really woke up my tastebuds and sent it over the top. I decided to pair it with a Tsingtao beer, which complemented the slider really well.
The Drink: Tsingtao Beer
The Food: Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream
The kielbasa was amazing, and adding the potato pierogi and caramelized onions made it even better — to the point where I was making sure I ate every last bite of it. The Okocim O.K. beer was a bit sharp in taste, but the added flavor of the kielbasa helped round everything out and paired nicely.
The Drink: Okocim O.K. Beer
The Food: Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream
After so many amazing savory foods, I was really craving some sugar, and my stop in Belgium offered just the thing I was looking for. This Belgian waffle with chocolate ganache and whipped cream was unbelievable. Seriously, every bite made my eyes roll in pure joy.
The Drinks: Hoegaarden Beer and a beer sampler consisting of Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde, Palm Speciale Belge Amber Ale, and Stella Artois Cidre
The beer sampler had an assortment of flavors, but the Hoegaarden beer and Stella Artois Cidre went really well with this sweet treat.
The Food: Teriyaki Gyoza Bun (steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki sauce)
I love trying new things, so I was excited to see what this mysterious bun was hiding inside. The second I took my first bite, I was overwhelmed with the flavors of the chicken and sweet teriyaki sauce, which paired well with the fresh flavor of the vegetables. The Kirin draft beer was excellent, and had a smooth flavor that went perfectly with the steamed bun.
The Drink: Kirin Draft Beer
6. Dominican Republic
The Food: Lechon Asado (roasted pork with mangu, pickled red onions, and avocado)
Being a Spanish person, I’ve had this type of food too many times to count. I was surprised by how good the lechon (roasted pork) was. It was very juicy, and the mangu (boiled and smashed plantains) added a great punch of flavor. I paired this with an ice cold Presidente Pilsner beer, which helped me kick back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the day.
The Drink: Presidente Pilsner Beer
The Food: Escondidinho de Carne “Little Hidden One” Layered Meat Pie with Mashed Yuca
Whether it’s mashed or fried, I love yuca — a starchy root vegetable similar to the potato. This dish was fantastic. Once you break into the yuca meat pie, you’re greeted with flavors of meat, yuca, and pungent spices. The Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black beer is definitely an acquired taste, but it went surprisingly well with this plate.
The Drinks: Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer
You can check out the entire festival menu here.