We love food, yes we do, we love food, how bout you?
If you are a foodie- the food and wine festival at Epcot is where you want to be this fall!
But we also have to talk about the gluten free offerings.
Because not all of us are able to eat freely, and we want to get a game plan for some yummy eats! People that are gluten free like to eat too!
I went opening day (and then for a few more days) to Food and Wine- except this time I was on a mission to find foods that my family and I could eat freely. And I wasn’t just looking for one item- I wanted multiple things for everyone to choose from!
What, when and where is the Food and Wine Festival?
The food and wine festival is an 87 day-long Disney World tradition. In fact, this year will be the longest the festival has ever been held!
It’s held at Epcot in the fall time and it is a total blast!
This year you can find the goods all around the world showcase and in future world! It’s held every day of the week, with special events happening during the time- both ones that you need to reserve in advance (like special food meetups) and the concert series which you can enjoy without reservations.
You can participate in most of the activities and sites with the price of your regular ticket.
The food however, is an additional expense. Portions are decent sized. Not quite a sample size but certainly not the size that Disney normally serves up for lunch and dinner in their restaurant. (although some can be rather small)
If we are walking around and enjoying the sites, we can easily eat 2-4 orders per person (depending on how much we share!) and a few drinks. The food entrees at the specialty booths run between 8-15 dollars, so the cost would be similar to what you would spend on a character meal is you got 4 items and a few drink or dessert offerings!
Is there a risk of Cross Contamination?
Generally, Disney World does a pretty dang good job about avoiding CC.
But for several of the festival booths, it’s going to be hard to avoid cross-contamination.
Many of those stands have very small kitchens and they can have different allergens in the same area.
Also- some of the people working the booths may not be allergy-literate, and this will cause them to not understand your concerns about cross contamination.
Always ask to see an allergy binder or speak to the head manager.
Also- try to go in the week, and if you need to go on a weekend, go early around luch rather than later.
The more people there are at Epcot, the harder it is to get clear answers and good service!
I want to add my personal experience with 2019 here. I’ve gone to the festivals for the last three years with allergy restrictions and this year has honestly been the WORST for service.
Normally, I speak with a chef, we look at ingredients and I find some items we can eat, I stick with those. This year, I had two different people ask me if it was a preference or an allergy. Which I had to laugh at both times. You think I honestly want soy free items for my kids because its a preference? Like I want to stand here in the heat and wait an addition 15 minutes for a preference? You’ve lost your damn mind.
Also, they MUST have received some new training because they were absolutely adamant that GF stood for Gluten Friendly, and that nothing could be guaranteed, and that there was a high risk of CC.
They stated that ALL of the items are now made in a shared kitchen.
How do you know what is gluten free or allergen friendly?
You’ll know several ways.
The first is this post. I’ll be covering all the ways that the food is labeled. You can follow along on my instagram here! But I come back to this post to add details and ingredient lists.
The next is with the passport. Normally we like to grab one before entering the World Showcase so we can map out all the places we want to stop. This tells you a lot about the foods offered, where you can find them, and gives you an idea on what you could ask to modify before you get to the booth.
The third is by the signs outside the stands. These are all labeled and list the ingredients. They tend to have these on a separate stand by the booth and on the booth themselves, so it gives you a chance to find the G symbol (for gluten
free FRIENDLY) and is a lot larger print to read than the passports.
If you are looking for Allergen Friendly (like we avoid soy for the kids and they are also gluten free) it can get a little harder to find safe foods. but you CAN find offerings if you are comfortable with the CC risk.
Normally, we look online to see whats available, check the passport, head to the booth, speak to a manager, check the allergen book and then decide if the items are safe for our kids to consume.
Should we ask at customer service?
You can- it never hurts. Just be prepared that they might be totally clueless (or they could be a hidden gem that knows all about allergies!)
Your best bet is going to the booth, preferably when the crowd levels are lower, and asking to speak to a manager to see the ingredient book and learn if certain allergens can be omitted. Just realize that CC risk will still exist.
List of Booths at The Food and Wine Festival
- The Alps – NEW
- Appleseed Orchard – NEW
- Brewer’s Collection
- Craft Beers
- Desserts & Champagne
- Farm Fresh
- Hops & Barley
- New Zealand
- Islands of the Caribbean
- Active Eats
- Chocolate Studio
- Wine & Dine Studio
- Almond Orchard
- Cheese Studio
- Coastal Eats
- Earth Eats
What special foods are offered at these events that are gluten free?
Typically they have gluten friendly, vegetarian and kid friendly.
It is harder to find a gluten friendly and vegetarian option- but you can typically ask them to just leave the meat/seafood off the entree.
Next eats, new for this year, has some good Gluten free, allergy free, Vegetarian, Pescatarian and Vegan Options! They’ve got Coastal eats, Active eats and Impossible eats.
- Spice-crusted Verlasso® Salmon with UNCLE BEN’S® Quinoa & Ancient Grains Medley
- Fruit and Nut Energy Snack: House-made mixture of Apricots, Almonds, Pecans, Coconut, Puffed Rice, and Chocolate Chips
-Impossible Cottage Pie
- Deconstructed Pavlova with Pastry Cream, Citrus-macerated Berries and Lemon Myrtle Meringue
- Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas
- Roasted Lamb Chop with Sweet Potato Purée, Bush Berry Pea Salad and Pistachio-Pomegranate
- Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions
- Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
- Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce
Crème Brûlèe with House-made Chocolate Hazelnut Cream
- Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts
- Madras Red Curry with Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Chickpeas and Basmati Rice
Islands of the Caribbean
- Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt
- Smokey Margarita: Mezcal Ilegal, Pineapple-Ginger Juice, Agave Nectar, 100% Agave Tequila
- Seafood Salad with Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar and Smoked Paprika
The Chocolate Studio
- Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel
- Pumpkin Chai Tea and Chocolate Shake (have to ask for it without the chocolate cookie crumble)
My Favorites this year
I really really really enjoyed the salmon over at Active eats, and the chocolate shake from the chocolate studio was great (despite being served the cookie crumble the first time and giving it back).
We went back and got the chocolate shake again last week- the cookie crumble is no longer included so no worries about that anymore (whew!)
I also have a new favorite- We tried the impossible cottage pie in the Next Eats section and I was really surprised by how delicious it was! Very flavorful and filling! It’s not picture worthy- but that doesn’t matter when its super yummy!
If you’re going this year, I hope you have a blast! It’s a lot of fun, especially when it gets cooler. There is a lot of construction going on this year at Epcot, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying your trip.
Let me know your favorites!