This 2021 Epcot International Festival of the Arts (the ultimate celebration of world-class food, amazing visual art, and live entertainment) has just come to an end and we’re already getting hungry just thinking about next year’s festivities!

Believe it or not, we ate our way around the entire world. After devouring 13 booths worth of culinary masterwork, we have narrowed it down to 12 items that we hope… nay… demand make a reappearance at the 2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

Now, it is important to note that some of these delectable dishes were rated based on their flavour, uniqueness, display, and/or cultural authenticity. So, while you may read a review that isn’t glowing in terms of taste, for example, its beauty, representation, or individuality may have helped clinch the deal.

Chile Relleno @ El Artista Hambriento, Mexico Pavilion (World Showcase) – $7.25

Description Disney describes this dish as a “Fried Poblano Pepper filled with Flank Steak, Black Beans, and Tomatoes drizzled with a Poblano Cream Sauce .”

Display Covered in a bed of vibrant Poblano Cream Sauce and decorated with colourful edible garnish, this hearty bite from El Artista Hambriento may just be one of the most authentically handsome dishes at the fest.

Distinction San Angel, we are begging you to add this to your menu! This dish features a spicy yet not overpowering sauce, almost reminiscent of a grittier salsa Verdi. Each bite presented a mouthwateringly tender piece of flank steak, accompanied by the naturally oily poblano pepper, which offered a playful ‘good heat.’ We are not certain if the garnish was pickled radish, but it certainly added to the complexity of the dish. In addition, there is a smokiness to the Chile Relleno that really puts it in a class by itself. We appreciate the fried texture of the pepper, as well as the slickness it provided to the sauce, of which there was plenty! Frankly, we could eat three more and call it a day!

Taco de Chocolate @ El Artista Hambriento, Mexico Pavilion (World Showcase) – $6.00

Description Disney describes this tasty treat as a “Chocolate Candy Shell filled with Mexican Chocolate Mousse with a touch of Chile topped with Tropical Fruit.”

Display An enticingly rich chocolate shell sits at the centre of the plate, beautifully contrasted by the tropical fruit display, featuring colourful pomegranate seeds.

Distinction After sampling the Pecos Bill’s Chocolate Taco from Magic Kingdom last December, we were giddy with anticipation at the thought of this offering at Epcot’s Festival of the Arts. That being said, we may have hyped it up a bit too much in my head. Overall, it was enjoyable but a bit uneventful. The taco itself was a bit small, but that didn’t stop us from taking a big bite of its crunchy hard chocolate shell. We were surprised to find that the shell was a bit bitter, but it was quickly complimented by the thick mousse, which gave a lightly sweet milk-to-dark chocolate flavour. Surprisingly, the berries and pomegranate seeds made all the difference, adding more complexity to each bite.

We could have used it a little more dialled up with a touch more spice. Not dissimilar to how we felt about the Pecos Bill Chocolate Taco. That being said, what we LOVE about this offering was how it paired with the Chile Relleno. Unlike most meal-to-dessert offerings, this selection didn’t make a dramatic jump from salty to sweet. Because both items packed a little spice and heat, they felt particularly well suited to be served side by side. Interestingly enough, the Taco de Chocolate managed a higher ranking due to its previous counterpart.

Gosh, isn’t food fun?!?!

Croissant à la Truffle Noir d’Hiver @ L’Art de la Cuisine Française, France Pavilion, World Showcase – $7.75

Description Disney describes this savoury bite as a “Black Winter Truffle Croissant.”

Display L’Art de la Cuisine Française never disappoints when it comes to gorgeous and satisfying festival offerings. The Croissant à la Truffle Noir d’Hiver is no exception! A classic croissant with a glossy black truffle ribbon swirling throughout, this heightened take on a standard staple showcases itself as a gift-wrapped present, tantalizing each passerby. Spoiler Alert: The contents inside do not disappoint!

Distinction We are in love, and we don’t care who knows it! This is without a doubt one of the most scrumptiously savoury things we have ever eaten… in our life! It is one of those festival-only offerings that you just know you’re going to be craving throughout the year… which is precisely why the France Pavilion needs to put it on rotation at Les Halles Boulangerie – Patisserie.

The flaky yet buttery exterior is as delightful as the creamy warm inside. Decadent and earthy, the truffle provides a swoon-worthy class to this snack that can be enjoyed any time of day!

Moelleux à la Framboise et aux Chocolats Valrhona @ L’Art de la Cuisine Française, France Pavilion, World Showcase – $7.75

Description Disney describes this sweet treat as a “Molten Chocolate and Raspberry Cake with Pure Origin Valrhona Chocolates.”

Display A classic mini molten cake with a nearby saturated dollop of raspberry puree. The contrast of these colors, along with the backdrop of the white plate is both stunning and magnifique!

Distinction We are not going to lie, this one didn’t feel all that special at first. However, we refused to accept that there wasn’t more to this sweet treat. So, we did something we NEVER do while eating. We slowed down… closed our eyes… and savoured every bite. As we continued this experiment, a funny thing happened… we grew to like the cake more and more. We were able to discover the details. And we are oh-so-happy that we did.

Crumbly yet moist, sweet yet veering on decadently dense with a sinful raspberry addition… this cake ran the gamete. Now, we will warn you… we are not certain that this selection was the most unique choice out there. In fact, we are fairly certain that you could get it at most sweeteries. That being said, between be newfound culinary experiment and the France Pavilion playing La Vie en rose in the background… with each bite I was transported to Paris to take a stroll along the Seine.

Mediterranean Flatbread @ Mosaic Canteen, Morocco, World Showcase – $5.75

Description Disney describes this delicious plate as a “Mediterranean Flatbread with Za’atar Pesto, Artichokes, Roasted Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes and Fennel Cream”

Display A colourful array of green, yellow, and red veggies atop an artesian-style seasoned flatbread.

Distinction Mosaic Canteen, you’ve done it again! This heightened take on a classic flatbread is absolutely delicious! Packed with panache, the sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts stood out the most, without throwing off the overall balance. Not to mention, a fresh-tasting option for guests on a vegetarian diet.

A pre-cut, easy-to-share, large portion with tons of toppings… what’s not to love?!?!

Maeloc Blackberry Hard Cider @ Mosaic Canteen, Morocco, World Showcase – $4.50

Description None provided by Disney.

Display Poured into a little clear glass. Come on, what did you expect?! A tiny umbrella?

Distinction Now here comes a beverage that we couldn’t get behind and yet can’t seem to get out of my mind.

The Maeloc Blackberry Hard Cider is incredibly floral with a strong sweet blackberry bite. BEWARE: This beverage is reserved for those with a wildly adventurous sweet tooth. In fact, we are glad we got the 6-ounce option, as more may have been too much. What we found most rare about this cider is that you can actually taste the fruit fermentation which is commonly found in most European-style ciders. We think this may be a bit of an acquired taste.

Maybe we are a bit off-base here, but we think we would like to try this again outside of the park. Without a seat to be found, we more or less had to down this quickly and move on. We think this selection deserves to be savoured before truly making a judgment call. And let's be honest… Figment was calling and we just didn’t have the luxury of time!

Wild Mushroom Risotto @ The Masterpiece Kitchen, Canada, World Showcase – $9.25

Description Disney describes this delightful dish as “Wild Mushroom Risotto, Aged Parmesan, Truffle Shavings and Zinfandel Reduction.”

Display A glossy black plate serves as the dramatic backdrop for a rich and creamy serving of risotto. The abundant topping of aged parmesan and reduction provides an eye-popping contrast with each and every glance. This is a dish that tastes every bit as good as it looks…. maybe even better!!!

Distinction The Masterpiece Kitchen lives up to its name, we can tell you that much! If you’ve had a dish like this before, you won’t be surprised how incredibly rich it can be. The only difference between this version and the one you’ve tried elsewhere is… this is better! Though the portion size was a bit disappointing in comparison to the price, the generous amount of mushrooms, sharp cheese and garlicky truffle more than made up for it.

When we hear the word gourmet, this is what we think about. There is only one major issue with this dish…. we wanted more!

Vanilla, Rose Water and Pistachio Panna Cotta @ The Masterpiece Kitchen, Canada, World Showcase – $8.00

Description Just as the name suggests, this is a “Vanilla, Rose Water and Pistachio Panna Cotta.”

Display Presentation is key at Epcot’s Festival of the Arts and this dessert gets it right. Set centre stage over a bed of crushed pistachios, the Panna Cotta waits to be plucked. The hard shell glistens, as subtle dollops of jam line the border of this tantalizing treat. It is just too pretty to resist!

Distinction Light and creamy with a hint of floral, this sweet and shareable delight is undeniably delectable. We almost didn’t want to cut into the crispy white chocolate shell on account of how charming it looks, but we are so glad that we did! The inside revealed an incredibly smooth multi-layered interior.

Stone Garden @ Goshiki, Japan, World Showcase – $6.75

Description Red Bean Mousse with Chocolate Rocks and Arare Rice Cracker Pebbles

Display Now, this one is more than a treat… it is an activity. The display that Goshiki provides is nothing more than a Red Beam Mousse sitting in a shallow tray and a clear cup of earth-tone Chocolate Rocks in a bed of Arare Rice Cracker Pebbles. Oh, yeah… and there is a fork/rake beside it. Nothing eye-catching here but it certainly is intriguing! What comes next is completely up to you!

Distinction Remember when you were growing up, folks used to tell you not to play with your food. Well, get that out of your mind and have at it! The Stone Garden @ Goshiki puts you in the driver's seat. Here, you are invited to design your very own edible Stone Garden!

Note: Whatever you design will have little to no bearing on the taste. That is unless you mess with the ingredients provided.

As for taste, we felt as though this was one of the most unique options at the fest. We are a fan of Red Bean and therefore knew what we were getting into. The Chocolate Rocks were crunchy and sweet without overpowering the mousse. Meanwhile, the Arare Rice Cracker Pebbles are fun and really helped vary the texture of each bite. This is a very specific flavour that is not for everyone, we know. However, we liked it as a midday treat, almost serving as a palate cleanser of sorts. It really helped break up the more standard spices from around the park.

One issue we had with the Red Bean Mousse was that tasted a little overly refrigerated. We understand that it is Florida and food needs to stay cool, as well as be premade. However, we just wish it did not come off as freezer burned.

Prime Steak Tartare @ Painter’s Palate, World Showplace – $8.50

Description Prime Steak Tartare with Pickled Vegetables, Parsley Salad, Béarnaise Anglaise, and Sous Vide Quail Egg

Display Exquisitely plated on the classic round painter’s board, this selection is balanced while providing rare levels to its staging. It truly is a piece of art! Bravo!

Distinction Severed cold, the salty, tender steak works in perfect harmony with the béarnaise sauce. we even got adventurous and allowed the sous vide quail egg to run down the tartare!

Salt-roasted Beet Tartare @ Painter’s Palate, World Showplace – $6.50

Description Salt-roasted Beet Tartare with Pickled Vegetables, Parsley Salad, and Béarnaise Aïoli (Plant-based)

Display A beautiful vibrant mound of beets sits next to two pale slices of crusty bread.

Distinction Well, this one was a bit of a letdown. The diced salted beets were a bit bland and the vinegar cauliflower was a bit too overwhelming.

So, why is this on the list? Well, to be honest… when consumed alongside the Prime Steak Tartare, it actually served as a decent side dish. In addition, this isn’t an awful counterpart option to the Steak for our Vegetarian friends out there.

Plant-based Bratwurst @ Refreshment Outpost – $9.50

Description Plant-based Bratwurst with Spicy Turmeric Aïoli, Coffee Barbecue Jackfruit, and Slaw

Display Wowza! I don’t remember ballpark Franks looking anything like this! A Plant-based Bratwurst lies in a large bun, decorated with heaps of Jackfruit and Slaw, as the embellishments add a rainbow completion.

Distinction You had me at “spicy turmeric aioli.” The coffee barbecue jackfruit and coleslaw balanced the spice perfectly, while the brat was as flavorful as can be.

We look at this as a gateway option. If you’ve got someone in your crew who isn’t quite the foodie you are… throw this at them!

Compliments To The Chef

And there you have it fellow foodies! While we tend to prefer Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival menu, we were overall impressed by everything we tried from Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts!