It's once again Food & Wine time at the Walt Disney
Photo by Angela Ragno
Now in its 16th year, Epcot's International Food
& Wine Festival is in full swing. For the next five weeks, foodies will
eagerly be eating their way around World Showcase, sampling cuisine from 6
New for 2011 is the Caribbean International Marketplace.
Which is serving up tapas-sized portion of Ropa Vieja (which is a slowly
braised beef) with White Rice. Not to mention a Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick
with Mango Salsa.
And given that - just last month - the Mouse opened Aulani,
a Disney Resort & Spa ... Well, is it any wonder that Disney World's Food
& Beverage used that event as an excuse to slip a Hawaii marketplace in
along the shores of World Showcase Lagoon?
Where - as they're enjoying their Kalua Pork Slider with
Sweet & Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnnaise - WDW Guests can
also visit an Aulani information booth (Which - not so co-incidentally - is
located to Epcot's Hawaii marketplace).
Meanwhile over at the Festival Welcome Center ...
... there are daily culinary demonstrations ...
... plus (given that this is a Disney theme park, after all)
the usual merchandise opportunities ...
... for adults as well as children.
New to Food & Wine for this year are HGTV's home
entertaining seminars. Presented on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, these
half-hour-long presentations feature celebrity designers like Vern Yip of "HGTV
Design Star" and "HGTV Urban Oasis" fame ...
Vern Yip at his "Entertaining
Through Décor: Innovative and Accessible Ideas for Parties of All Sizes"
seminar. Photo by Angela Ragno
... who will then serve up a variety of tips on
entertaining-related topics like creating a great look for your holiday party.
And speaking of things looking great, Walt Disney World's
horticultural department has put together some genuinely fun floral displays
for this year's event.
But if I had to pick the one decorative element at the 2011
edition of Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival that really seems to
be fascinating WDW visitors ... It wouldn't be a garden or a planter or even a
character topiary. But - rather - a bog.
A cranberry bog, to be exact. A thousand square-foot display
right in the middle of that walkway which connects Future World & World
Showcase. Which filled with over 900 lbs. of this seasonal fruit.
Now through November 13th, Ocean Spray employees
(some of whom are actually third and fifth-generation cranberry growers) as
well as WDW cast members will spend their days dressed in waders standing right
in the middle of this bog, answering Guests questions about how cranberries are
Mind you, this isn't the first time that Ocean Spray has
done something like this. As part of its "Bogs Across America" promotion, this
Lakeville, MA.-based corporation has built cranberry exhibits in Chicago, LA,
even out in the plaza at NYC's Rockefeller Center.
But those were only
temporary displays. Only designed to last for three days max. Whereas Epcot's
cranberry bog has to be attractive & functional for the entire six weeks
that the International Food & Wine Festival is running at this theme park.
Which is why Ocean Spray's assembly team (which had to put together this
exhibit in a single 5 ½ hour span after the Park had closed for the night) took extra care with this bog's water-tight
Cranberry Grower Jim Bible gives
Princesses Lauren Caltrider and Abigail Oliver the royal treatment with a
unique, inside look at the cranberry harvest at Ocean Spray's 1,000 square-foot
bog display filled with 900 lbs. of cranberries at the Epcot International Food
& Wine Festival, Sept. 30. Consumers can visit the bog at the Festival and
sample Ocean Spray Craisins Dried Cranberries now through Nov. 13. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
I'm bringing this bog up because
Chef Ming Tsai (i.e. the host of the PBS cooking show, "Simply Ming") will
actually be doing a cooking demo early, early tomorrow morning while standing inside of Epcot's cranberry
bog. Ming will also be doing a culinary demonstration at the Festival Welcome Center at 5 p.m. tomorrow. At which time, this Emmy Award-winning TV personality has promised to " ...
whip up (a wide) array of worldly cranberry creations celebrating the
versatility of ..." this seasonal fruit. Or so says the press release that Walt
Disney World & Ocean Spray just jointly released.
I promise to post an image from this early morning photo as soon as I can. Just so JHM readers will then have a fun conversation-starter when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner. ("You think you had tough in the kitchen today? Well,
take a gander at the guy who actually prepared a dish while standing knee deep in a
Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai prepares a salad featuring Craisins Dried Cranberries whilestanding in Ocean Spray's cranberry bog exhibit, which is now on display at Epcot'sInternational Food & Wine Festival. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved
UPDATE: And -- as promised -- here's a photograph of Ming Tsai standing in Ocean Spray's cranberry bog exhibit earlier today as he prepared Grilled Chicken Frisée Salad with Shallot, Cranberry-Soy Vinaigrette. And if you'd like to try and prepare this dish yourself over the coming holiday season, here's the recipe:
1 cup grainy mustard8 medium shallots, minced (about 1 cup)1 cup Ocean Spray Craisins Original Dried Cranberries, chopped1/4 cup Ocean Spray Craisins Original Dried Cranberries, whole1/2 cup rice wine vinegar1/4 cup Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar1/4 cup soy sauce2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups grape seed oil or canola oi
4 sliced grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 heads frisée, washed, cored and leaves halved
1 English cucumber, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
To make the vinaigrette, using a whisk and bowl, food
processor or blender, combine the mustard, shallots, vinegars, soy sauce, and
sugar and puree. With the machine running slowly, drizzle in the oil until an
emulsion is formed or drizzle into bowl whisking vigorously. Add in chopped
Craisins and fold in with a rubber spatula or spoon. Season with salt and
pepper, remembering that not much salt will be needed because of the soy sauce.
In a large bowl combine the frisée, cucumber and grilled
chicken breasts. Add enough vinaigrette to coat the salad ( about three
quarters cup) season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining vinaigrette if
Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai and Chef Mickey. CopyrightDisney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Garnish with remaining Craisins.
Quote "took extra care with this bog's water-tight lining"
What the heck is this supposed to mean? Has it leaked before? Has Chef Ming caused the lining to break before?
Personally, I think the "Food and Wine Festival" to be a rip-off. Customers should be wise to the fact that international fare isn't as uncommon as in the past. There are many more inexpensive ways to taste foods from around the world. Maybe the word "taste" isn't it. "Eat" is better. The portions sold are so puny that I wonder why people take to it hook, line, and sinker. Going to a gourmet international buffet offers much better results.
How will all those cranberries stay fresh in that brutal sun for over a month?
I think Gimbo must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed before the making his post.
Nobody's making anybody buy the food.
If they want to sample, they can. If they don't, they won't.
I think it's a great way to try food from around the World.
Certainly better than going to some buffet.
Walt Disney World has never really been a place where you go for food bargains.
What'd you expect GImbo?
Enjoy your buffet.