Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2014: Flora and Food!

The annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival officially opened yesterday, but I went mostly for the food! Here’s a quick mini-tour of some of the flowers — and the food.

Snow White Topiary at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2014

First up is the Snow White topiary (click on any of these images for a larger view). Is it just me, or is this the first year that Snow has actually had EYES painted onto her face? To me this looks way better than previous versions.

As a comparison, take a look at Belle in the image below, who is stationed in the gardens near France.

Creepy Belle

A bit creepy, no?

Like last year, Disney is offering FOOD for the Flower and Garden festival this year, and in my opinion, this really helps kick the whole experience up a notch. There aren’t as many food kiosks as you’ll see during the Food and Wine Festival, but the selection is still very good, and for the most part, Liesle and I both found the food delicious. We didn’t sample everything (all the more reason to go back!), but here’s a quick take on what we did try.

Lemon scones near UK

First up are the Fresh-baked Lemon Scones near the UK pavillion. This may have been Liesle’s favorite treat of the entire day. The dish could use a bit more of the raspberry and creme dipping sauces, but otherwise these were really, really good!

Peter Pan Topiary at Epcot

Look up and find Peter Pan watching over the festivities. #peterwantsafacetoo

Parisian-style Dumplings

Next up, in France, we tried the “Gnocchi Parisien à la Provençal” (or Parisian-style Dumplings with Vegetables and Mushrooms), shown above. This was also very good, sort of a rich pasta dish with enough vegetable “accents” to provide some variety in the flavor.

Orange Blossom Macaron with White Chocolate Ganache

Also in France is the Orange Blossom Macaron with White Chocolate Ganache (or the “Macaron à la Fleur d’ Oranger” for those of you who prefer to eat in French). A very tasty dessert!

Lumiere Topiary

Along with Belle, the Lumiere Topiary is also nearby. I’m still not sure why Lumiere gets a face and Belle doesn’t. Maybe the candlestick union just had really good representation at the face-bargaining-table?

Temaki hand roll

The Temaki hand roll in Japan was probably one of our least favorite dishes of the day, although it was still OK, I guess. I’ve lived in Japan for a couple of years, so I’m somewhat used to the nori seaweed flavor, but there was so much of it here in comparison to the rest of the dish that it sort of overwhelmed the other flavors. We ended up scooping out the “insides” and enjoyed the rest of the dish nori-less.

Japanese Torii in Epcot

It looks like they’ve recently repainted the Torii Gate in Japan. It looks a lot more “orange” (less red) than before. I think these are supposed to be “Vermillion” in color. Maybe this is closer than the previous shade of red?

Pulled pig slider with cole slaw

Next up is the “Pulled Pig Slider with Cole Slaw” near the America Pavillion. This was very good, and very filling. The cole slaw added just enough change in texture and flavor to the rest of the dish that it enhanced it quite a bit.

Epcot Bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch

Also near America is the bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch. This was a very good, but also very dense, cupcake. It also contained a surprisingly generous supply of bacon. If you try this, make sure you have a beverage nearby to wash it down with. (I say this because I didn’t, and regretted it.)

Epcot - Shrimp and stone ground grits

From the Florida Fresh kiosk near Germany (why not?!!), this dish is “Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro.” Be forewarned that it’s a bit spicy, but it was also really, really good! Our dish contained three large-ish shrimp, and was quite filling. I think I’ll be having this one again before the Festival is over.

Epcot Watermelon Salad

This is the watermelon salad, also at Florida Fresh. The dressing was a balsamic reduction, and the combination of flavors, including the watermelon on the bottom of the salad, made this one of our favorite dishes of the day.

Rafiki and Simba Topiary at Epcot

Hang on, Rafiki!

Epcot Beijing-style candied strawberries

By this point in the day we were pretty full, but the Beijing-style candied strawberries are one of Liesle’s favorites, so we had to stop and get these. Delicious, as always!

Epcot frozen desert violet lemonade

We finished the day by washing everything down with the frozen desert violet lemonade, at the Pineapple Promenade.

Bambi topiary at Epcot

Finally, here are a few more scenes from the park. Above is Bambi. Note the face. Not sure how Bambi qualifies for membership in the candlestick union though.

Epcot Flowers

Pretty flowers everywhere!

Pretty flowers under the monorail at Epcot

More pretty flowers still!

Inside the butterfly garden at Epcot

The picture above was taken inside the butterfly garden, as are the two below:

Epcot butterfly garden

Epcot butterfly garden

Epcot sand sculpture

Still working on the sand sculpture. It’s looking good so far!

All in all, we really had a good time touring the Flower and Garden Festival, and I expect we’ll be back soon to try some of the dishes we missed this time!

What about you? Will you make it to the Flower and Garden Festival this year? Do you have a “must try” dish? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!