2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Africa Marketplace and the Outpost

We’re trying something new this year re: Food & Wine Festival… On Monday nights, as long as the New England Patriots aren’t playing football <grin>, we’re going over to the Festival with Walter (& Calvin too, sometimes we hope)… He’s agreed to be the designated driver and that means we can drink without taking cabs (which is difficult at best).

So last Monday was the first Monday of the Festival and away we went. Did you remember that we also went to the Italian Regional Luncheon with Lisa & Andy on that same Monday? Well, we weren’t hungry after a five-course Italian lunch… So even though I’d made us a list of “green-light” things to try, it was really hard to get up any enthusiasm for food.

On our first lap, we stopped at the Canada Beer Cart… Yes, the beer cart, not a Marketplace Booth. Why you ask? Well, you don’t know us very well yet if you don’t know the answer to that question! Because the Canada Beer Cart has UNIBROUE during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (at least they have during recent years); usually it’s Ephemere Cerise (Cherry), Trois Pistoles, and La Fin Du Monde… On Monday night, there was no Trois Pistoles and no La Fin Du Monde (and strangely there were these guys without beer in their cups talking to the CM Earning Her Ears, just like Thursday night)… Anyway, no beer that we really wanted and no information about what was going on. Another CM came out to help and he said that it was simple, they’d run out of Trois Pistoles and La Fin Du Monde. Instead, they had Ephemere Cerise, Ephemere Apple, and Blanche de Chambly (not our favorites). Nick got the Blanche de Chambly and I decided to try the Ephemere Cerise. Nick’s choice is a white wheat beer, not a favorite but not bad. When the CM was pouring my “cherry beer”, she hit the bottom of the tank. Oh crap! Walter jumped in and said “oh she’ll take it anyway, any discount?” (That’s our Walter! Always looking for a discount. Or as he said to me “they’re going to throw it out anyway, why should you pay for it?”) THEY GAVE ME THE BEER (3/4 full and foamy). It was fine, but I don’t think I”m a very big fan of cherry beer (although I do like Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic).

As we wandered around the World Showcase, Walter kept pointing out how beautiful it all looked as the sun went down. And he was right, I’m glad that he encouraged us to slow down and take a look. There was also a really cool cloud formation…

Ominous Clouds on Sept 30th at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Ominous clouds over La Hacienda – yes, we did get spritzed on a bit by rain

Eventually, we slowed down and bought something to eat! We really liked the Spinach Paneer Cheese Pocket at Africa last year, enough to get it twice (it’s also a favorite with Sarah at EatingWDW, in 2012 and in 2013…) THE only thing we scored higher than the Spinach Paneer Cheese Pocket in 2012 was the lamb chop from Australia Marketplace Booth.

It’s street food, or as Nick likes to tell me, it’s kind of like if American had a booth and they were selling hot pockets (ha ha ha!).

Spinach Paneer Africa booth - 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival - 1

Simple – dough + spinach + paneer cheese + spices

The dough is thick enough to contain the contents but it isn’t THICK or heavy. The spinach isn’t over-cooked or slimy or icky. The paneer cheese adds more texture than flavor (we think that paneer is actually pretty flavorless). There’s a bit of spiciness, it’s mainly latent (back of the tongue after you chew and swallow). I don’t know why this is so yummy, it isn’t complicated, it’s just good.

Spinach Paneer Africa booth - 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival - 2

Spinach is abundant, you can see the paneer in the upper right, if you look carefully you can see the stain from the spices

A bit later, we stopped at the Outpost (it’s across from the Africa booth, it’s always there, you know the place with Coca-Cola coolers, soft serve ice cream, and hot dogs), the promotional materials for the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival say that there’s a special cocktail there (The Brown Elephant with Amarula) and a special festival beer (St George lager)… So, of course, we have to get the beer (and Walter got him a hot dog, of course).

St. George Lager The Outpost Africa - 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

St George Lager

We thought this lager was a bit floral. It wasn’t bitter or hoppy at all. Not much fizz or carbonation. It was okay, but not really something we’d go out of our way to have again. Surprisingly, or not, the beer comes from Ethiopia!

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