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Spotlight: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

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The 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival officially kicked off last week. Each year at this time I try to give you my suggestions for how to best enjoy the festival and all it has to offer. This year I have one very important recommendation: wait.

The festival will be running until Nov. 16. I know it doesn’t seem possible right now, but there is an almost certainty that temperatures will drop to something much closer to tolerable than what I experienced the first day. Wandering around in the heat and the crowds, eating too much and adding alcohol to the mix is a brutal combination.

But you’re not going to listen to me, are you? You’re already planning to hit the fest as soon as you can, maybe even this weekend (predicted high of 88 degrees with little chance of rain). Don’t say I didn’t warn you as you’re begging one of the cranberry wranglers to let you into the bog.

Ah, yes, the Ocean Spray cranberry bog has returned to the festival after taking a year off. And no, unless you’re part of an invited group, as members of the media were Saturday, you won’t have the chance to don the overall waders and tiptoe through the berries.

As for the items in the Global Marketplaces, my favorite was the Souffle de Yuca topped with a wedge of griddled cheese from Dominican Republic. The Loaded Macaroni and Cheese from the land of Farm Fresh was also quite good, with Nueske’s pepper bacon, cheddar cheese and chopped peppers. A gloppy delight.

And France can always be counted on for some good slugs. This year the escargots were served in a croissant topped with a classic sauce of garlic and parsley. Pretty yummy, especially with the Martini Slush, made with Grey Goose Citron vodka, cranberry (not from the bog) and passion fruit juice. Unfortunately, the glass of chardonnay that I also got here had been prepoured and was standing in the sun, just like me, and was quite warm, just like me.

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