Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival which runs the year March 1- May 29th. The Flower and Garden Festival is included with Epcot’s regular park admission and features incredible farm-to-table flavors, amazing topiary, beautiful flowers and an array of my personal favorite, fresh herbs, and I can’t forget to mention the Garden Rocks Concerts that run Friday-Monday evenings during the festival.
I was able to sample some of the new yummy items featured located throughout the 15 outdoor kitchens of the World Showcase.
So I will start with my favorite…
Northern Bloom Outdoor Kitchen
Seared-Scallops with French green beans, butter potatoes, brown butter vinaigrette and applewood smoked bacon. (no-gluten added). If seared scallops make your mouth water, you can find them in Canada.
The Berry Basket and Urban Farm Eats
If vegetarian options are what you’re looking for, try out The Berry Basket outdoor kitchen. This yummy dish is field greens with fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry vinaigrette and spiced pecans.
Or try out the Urban Farm Eats kitchen, which has a crabless cake with crispy vegetable slaw, lemon vinaigrette, and Old Bay Remoulade (who doesn’t love a good remoulade). Both can be found at the Showcase Plaza.
La Isla Fresca
Shrimp lovers, this plate is also worth a try. The La Isla Fresca Kitchen has a delicious sugarcane shrimp skewer with steamed rice and coconut lime sauce. Also located at the Showcase Plaza.
If meat is what you’re after, the Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews Kitchen has a beef brisket burnt ends hash with white cheddar fondue and pickled jalapeños. This hardy dish is at The American Adventure.
Carne asada with black bean cake and cilantro-lime sour cream. To try this yummy dish, you can find it between Morocco and France.
I can’t forget the desert… The Florida Fresh Outdoor Kitchen also has a Key Lime Tart with Toasted Meringue and oh so decadent.
If a strudel is what you’re after, head over to Germany to the Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market Kitchen and try out the warm cheese strudel with mixed berries.
Last but not least, I can not forget to mention the most important part…BEER! There is nothing like an ice-cold beer on a hot day. Of course, you’re walking around (I consider this exercise, and that deserves a treat!) Did you know that for a craft beer to be selected for a festival the aspiring beer company needs to be able to produce 60 to 80 kegs of each beer? (That means a lot of beer drinkers needing to drink up!)
I had the pleasure of tasting the Maui Brewing Company’s, Pineapple Mana Wheat Ale, not sweet but there is an undertone of pineapple. It’s made but where else? Hawaii of course. My second favorite which is made right here in Orlando, Florida is the Orange Blossom Pilsner. It tastes like spring and summer wrapped up together when the orange blossoms (which happens to be our state flower) smell their best. My favorite was surprisingly the Founders Brewing, Rubaeus Pure Raspberry Ale. This Grand Rapids, Michigan beer is a refreshing ale with a raspberry finish that made my taste buds beg for more. But who am I kidding I loved them all!
After our delicious samplings, we headed over to the Festival Center to meet Captain Ron, the pocket beagle sea-turtle detective and learned how he saves sea turtles in Vero Beach.
While in the Festival Center I stumbled upon the Central Florida Bonsai Club. I found out about ways to not only start a Bonsai tree, but that almost any type of tree can use this method. It was fun to learn about how to care for them and to shape them with wire, making a masterpiece. I was so intrigued that I plan to start my bonsai!
Walt Disney World Resort is committed to the environment and is excellent stewards that are paving the way for others to take notice and follow this incredible leader.
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling are a big of waste management at Walt Disney World Resort, and more than 141,000 TONS of materials were diverted from landfills in 2016!
Did you know that in 2014, Walt Disney World Resort became one of the first customers of Harvest Power, sending food waste which converts organic waste into renewable energy?
Water conservation on your mind? Approximately 30% of the resort’s overall water needs and 80% of its irrigation needs are met with reclaimed water. Apparently this amount of the reclaimed water, in one year, could fill Spaceship Earth roughly 60 times!
Did you know that Disney Harvest reduces food waste by gathering all their excess prepared food (roughly 680,000 pounds) from their kitchens and distributes it through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, which just celebrated its 24th year in 2016?
Don’t forget to check out the Garden Rocks Concert Series at America Gardens Theatre. Here’s the list of concerts and dates scheduled for the festival.
7th-10th – Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice – “Spinning Wheel”
14th-17th – Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy”
21st-24th – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO – “Evil Woman”
28-29 – Exposé – “Point of No Return” – NEW
30th-May 1st – Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – “Take My Breath Away” – NEW
5th-8th – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City”
12th-15th – The Guess Who – “American Woman”
19th-22nd – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone – “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”
26th-29th – The Spinners – “Working My Way Back To You”
*Contributor Tiffany Tatsch was invited to experience the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to share her experience with our readers. All opinions are her own.