October 14, 2014

Oh Taste & See: Walt Disney’s First Class Food Festival

Food & Wine Festival

There are festivals and then there are Walt Disney World festivals! And if you’re a lover of food and wine, there is no festival like the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at the Epcot Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

This 53-day festival (Sept. 19 to Nov. 10) really is a carnival of culinary mastery, showcasing nationally renowned chefs, restaurateurs and an assortment of foods and spirits from all around the world.

This fabulous global tasting offers a variety of activities, from free meet-and-greets with winemakers, to celebrity chef demonstrations, food and wine pairings and chocolate making classes. Ranging from $4 to $8, the mini-serving Marketplaces arranged around the World Showcase lagoon allow visitors to sample items from a dazzling array of nearly 30 countries.

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a coveted invitation for celebrity chefs and this year, notable food stars like “Hell’s Kitchen” winner Rock Harper, Oprah Winfrey’s former chef Art Smith, Cakelove founder Warren Brown, “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro, Chef Jerome Brown and Chef Gale Gand were among the who’s who.  In total, more than 270 Disney and guest chefs cook during the 53-day festival.

“I look forward to this festival every single year,” Cakelove creator Brown told  “I’m happy to get the invitation every year around March or so.”

Jawn Murray, Warren Brown & Rock Harper

One of the many highlights of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the extravagant Party for the Senses, a tasting expo (with an additional $300 ticket price) where top chefs serve samplings of their signature dishes and libations while guests mix and mingle and enjoy a performance by Cirque Du Soleil’s “La Nouba.”

Party for the Senses has become must-attend event for festivalgoers and the anticipated party sells out each year.

“People start running. It’s really kind of interesting that people are making a dash to get tables, to get to the first chef station. The food is knockout! There’s food, there’s beverages, beer, champagne, wine, hard liquor and dessert. The food is really, really good! It’s something to see, it really is,” said dessert pro Brown, who showcased a salted caramel cake with cream cheese icing in a jar at Party of the Senses.

Atmosphere at Party of the Senses

There’s also the Eat To The Beat concert series, with performances by acts like Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Billy Ocean, Wilson Phillips, The Commodores and Hanson, among others.

Additional attractions include the Illuminations fireworks show; American Heritage Gallery of art that currently features Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection; park rides like Soarin and Test Track; and tours of the various offerings at Epcot.

For just $94 for the day, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival offers an amazing time for foodies looking forward to feasting on some of the finest cuisine by culinary masters from around the world.

Jawn Murray & Art Smith


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