The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival features music, food, beverages and 99 Disney-inspired topiaires.
I was able to chat with the executive chef, Jens Dahlmann, about his inspiration for this year’s menu items
He said the Outdoor Kitchens were inspired by the importance of “healthy and outdoor living.”
“Story telling is very important when it comes to our food,” Dahlmann said. “From the plants, to the seed, to the plate and to your mouth, we want a story to be told.”
A new staple item brought to the festival by Dahlmann is the “Piggylicious” bacon cupcake. These pork-filled cakes are topped with maple frosting and and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon. They can be found at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews located near American Adventure Pavilion.
I asked Dahlmann how he thought up such a daring dessert item. His answer: “What the heck?”
He wanted to make a hearty cupcake that joined the sweetness of maple and the saltiness of bacon.
“It started out as a ‘mancake’ or a manly cupcake,” Dahlmann said. “But eventually we decided to call it ‘Piggylicious.’ The guests connect with this one, and it’s doing very well”
Dahlmann named a few Outdoor kitchens I needed to visit and the items to taste. These were the ones he recommended:
This year, the festival is providing an exclusive beverage through the Florida Beer Company. The new brew is called Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale and can be found at Florida Fresh, which is near the Germany Pavilion.
The marketing director of the Florida Beer Company, Eulan Middlebrooks, said the beer encompasses everything about Florida, including the story of its discovery. Middlebrooks said that in 1513, when Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, he initially named it La Florida or Pascua Florida, which is loosely translated into “Eastery Flowery Festival.”
“We had flowery festival in mind and kicked names around to find a loose translation and came up with ‘Feast of Flowers,'” Middlebrooks said.
Middlebrooks said they created this beer with the intention of making it the brew company’s 500-year beer but decided to wait and present it at the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
“It’s the perfect season for this beer. The ingredients include a Belgium yeast to give a nice spicy note and a warming quality at the same time. What’s unique about this beer is the fact that there is hibiscus, rose hips, Florida palmetto berry and Florida wild honey giving the beer a very complex taste with floral notes,” Middlebrooks explained.
I sampled the Feast of Flowers and it has a very nice taste. It is very drinkable and bursts with so many flavors. It has an intoxicating flowery aroma. I highly recommend you try it because you won’t have the chance for long. It is only available from the Florida Beer Company at the Flower and Garden Festival which ends May 18.
There are several items you should try when visiting the festival. Here are some I would recommend.
Although the food is a large part to the festival, the name is “Flower & Garden” for a reason. Throughout the park, there are 99 topiaries inspired by favorite Disney characters.