Review: Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival | 2019

IMG_7621.jpeg

Springtime is here y’all! The sun is out, the weather is warming up, flowers are a-bloomin’…

Well, at least, that’s true for Florida. Ontario hasn’t gotten the memo yet apparently.

I haven’t visited Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival in 3 years. For me, that’s a long time! Considering I’m at the parks several times a year. It just so happened that I didn’t really have an opportunity to go. In the past, I would visit the Festival during March Break in high school or I would visit during the Cheerleading Worlds, like I did once when my boyfriend’s brother competed. But once I got to uni, I no longer had a March Break and school went to May. In first year, we visited New York City as our spring trip and then last year, we just stayed home until our summer trip to Orlando in June. But this year, we specifically planned a trip around the Festival because truth be told, we all missed it a lot! If you’ve never been, I would highly recommend it. It’s absolutely the loveliest.

While at the Festival this year, we tried quite a few treats. If you’ve ever been to an Epcot festival before, you’ll know how they set up numerous booths around the World Showcase which feature delectable treats from different countries around the globe. It’s a really great way to try some new food and experience the cultures of other nations. I’ve done multiple posts on the International Food and Wine Festival which I visit every year, including last year. So I thought I would review what I tried for the Flower and Garden Festival as well!

IMG_8017.jpeg

Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade

I feel like it’s absolutely necessary that I start off this post with perhaps the most beloved of all the Flower and Garden treats - the violet lemonade. To this point, I had never tried the violet lemonade. The last time I visited the festival, the lemonade was either not offered or just wasn’t as popular as it is now. Obviously, it’s grown massively in popularity over the years, as this year they even had merchandise devoted to this sweet drink! So I figured I had to give it a try. I love lemonade and this was absolutely no exception. I was genuinely obsessed with this!! It was really refreshing and tasty, although it is quite sweet so if you’re not into sweet drinks this may not be for you! I had this on two separate occasions because I loved it so much. Also, it was quite lovely that they tell you where the flower on top of your drink came from!

You can find this at the Pineapple Promenade booth near the Refreshment Port!

IMG_8037.jpeg

Watermelon Cucumber Slushy

Staying on the topic of drinks, my boyfriend and I shared one of these bad boys. I was actually quite nervous to try this! I’m not an adventurous person at all when it comes to food or drinks, and the idea of cucumber in a drink seemed like it wouldn’t really be my sort of thing. But I made it my goal to try new things on this trip! And I ended up loving this slushy! And so did my boyfriend, for that matter. The cucumber wasn’t overpowering at all and the bit of it that you could taste was really lovely and refreshing. I always love a good watermelon juice as well, so that part of it was definitely down my alley. I’m already trying to figure out how to make this on my own at home!

You can find this at the Florida Fresh booth between the France and Morocco pavilions!

IMG_7597.jpeg

Beef Tenderloin Tips

One of our first stops on our first trip to the Festival this year was Canada. I’ve recently learned that it’s actually “proper” or whatever to follow the World Showcase by doing Mexico first and ending in Canada, but we’ve always done the opposite! I think that it’s because we’re Canadian, we are automatically drawn to our own pavilion. My boyfriend wanted to try the Beef Tenderloin Tips from the booth so we ended up sharing a plate and it was so delicious!! It felt sort of reminiscent of the Wild Mushroom Filet that is served during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival during the fall, except this one didn’t have the creamy gravy/sauce on top. It was really tender and cooked well (which is a blessing as I can’t eat any meat that isn’t cooked well). And the mashed potatoes underneath were wonderful!

You can find this at the Northern Bloom booth at the Canada pavilion!

IMG_7718.jpeg

Tri-Coloured Tortellini

First off, please take in how the pasta is literally almost falling out of the bowl smh. This is what happens when you try to take creative photos in ridiculous Florida heat and get a little dizzy. Let this be a cautionary tale lol. I’ve only recently gotten into tortellini as picky eater me thought it was weird. And even with dipping my toe in the tortellini world, I refused to eat multi-coloured tortellinis because I’m weird. However, we’re trying new things right?! So I tried this tri-coloured cheese tortellini and LOVED it. Like honestly this might have been my favourite dish at the festival. The sauce was a chicken veloute with sage butter which was really light and lovely, but oh-so-tasty. I’m already searching up how to cook this one at home, too!

You can find this at the Primavera Kitchen booth at the Italy pavilion!

IMG_8030.jpeg

Toasted Pretzel Bread

Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely adore pretzel bread. I love bread as it is, but pretzel bread is even better. Soft pretzels just rock, don’t they? So when I saw that Germany was offering some sort of pretzel bread sandwich, I was all in. This pretzel bread was sort of in the shape of a roll and toasted with black forest ham and melted gruyere cheese. It was so melty and savoury and delicious! It sort of reminds me of the Croissant Jambon Fromage at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France pavilion - which is ham, cheese and bechamel in a croissant. It was really well done and I think it would be an excellent treat for if you wanted something more sustaining to get you through a long park day, as opposed to the sweeter options around the Festival!

You can find this at the Bauernmarkt at the Germany pavilion!

IMG_8025.jpeg

Grilled Street Corn on the Cob

This was more so something that my boyfriend wanted to sample, and that I decided to try and ending up really enjoying! This corn on the cob is coated in a savoury garlic spread, which makes it absolutely so delicious that I can’t even put it into words. The corn itself was also very sweet which made it a really interesting mix of flavours - in the best way! I was sort of skeptical about just chomping down on a corn on the cob in the middle of a theme park but it was really tasty and I liked that they provided you with an aluminum foil covering at the bottom so you could hold the corn without touching it with your bare hands! Regardless, this was a super messy treat. The garlic spread got all over our faces lol so I would definitely recommend having plenty of napkins on hand if you decide to try this!

You can find this at the Trowel and Trellis booth near the Mexico pavilion!

Frushi

Lastly, we tried the famous Frushi. I’ve seen a ton of Instagrammers snacking on Frushi over the years at the Flower and Garden Festival, so I just had to know what was so great about it. I have NEVER eaten sushi before, in my life. I don’t even think I’ve seen anyone eat sushi in front of me before, unless maybe my dad did once upon a time. I’m not a seafood-eater at all so sushi isn’t in the cards for me. But fruit sushi is! Frushi is comprised of fresh pineapple, strawberry and melon rolled with raspberry coconut rice and sprinkled with toasted coconut, accompanied by whipped cream on the side (with some sort of raspberry sauce on it I think). I had no idea how to go about eating this lol my dad had to tell me to eat it in one bite which is hilarious because I only ever eat things in small bites. But it was good! I don’t know that I loved it, but it was refreshing and the fruit was so so tasty! I think the only thing that put me off might have been the raspberry coconut rice. But I’d try it again in the future!

You can find the frushi at the Hanami booth at the Japan pavilion!

♥ ♥ ♥

And that’s a close on my 2019 Flower and Garden Festival adventures! It was so lovely to be back at this beautiful festival, enjoying the wonderful treats and sights. I love how they integrate flowers in their sweets and how they keep everything fresh and themed to the season. We tried sooo many things this year but there were still so many things I wish I had time to sample! If you tried anything that I didn’t feature in this post, let me know what it was and what you thought of it!

Felicia x

epcotflowerandgarden pin.png

Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2018

Hello darlings!

Today, I thought I’d do a review of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and chat about the things I tried this year. I’ve done this in the past on two different occasions and I just love writing about the festival because it’s really a lot of fun and reminiscing about food is always a good time.

If you want to read my past Food and Wine reviews, you can! I wrote one up in 2015 (when I still a baby & v new to blogging) and in 2017.

The very first thing we did on our Food and Wine tour this year was ride Spaceship Earth. I don’t know if you guys heard, but it was announced on a bunch of blogs recently that Spaceship Earth will be undergoing a two and a half year refurb which will essentially change everything we know and love about this ride, in preparation for the brand new shiny Epcot 2.0 that Imagineers are cooking up. I immediately panicked when I read the article because basically every Disney ride or attraction I’ve ever held near and dear to my heart has been given the axe over the last 5 years and Spaceship Earth is my absolute fav ride. I’m cautiously optimistic about what this refurb will actually consist of - maybe it’s just a refresh?? But for now, I’m going to ride it as much as I possibly can before it closes down.

IMG_5095.jpeg

As my family are AP’s, we usually stop at the Festival Welcome Centre right off the bat to collect our free Passholder gift and the Festival passport. The Welcome Centre is located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, which is super cool because I never visited Disney when the pavilion was in operation so it’s a bit of a glimpse of what Epcot used to be. This year, the AP gift was a magnet with Mickey in a chef hat that is absolutely to die for. Like, c’mon how cute is that!!!! They’ve also been giving out cutting boards if you go multiple times.

Now, onto the food!

IMG_5096.jpeg

Kalua Pork Sliders

Our very first stop for food was Hawaii. Looking back on past reviews, this is kind of our go-to first stop haha. The weird part of my love for the pork slider is the fact that it’s the exact sort of dish that I’d actually hate in most cases. First off, I typically don’t love pork although I’m starting to warm up to it! Second, it’s got a sweet-and-sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayo on it. I’m the pickiest eater ever so this seems really ‘out there’ for me but good God do I love it.

You can find this at the Hawaii booth.

IMG_5099.jpeg

Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon

Our second stop was my home and native land! I always get this filet mignon, even though it mostly disappoints me. It’s kind of an iffy dish. Some years I love it, some years I could do without it. This year, it was quite good actually. I feel like it was a lot smaller than last year?? (Update: I went back & looked at old reviews, this dish has definitely gotten smaller and sadder looking over the years). Although I like the taste of the mushrooms on the steak, I’m not huge on mushrooms themselves and there were a ton on top of the beef this time, so I was constantly pushing them aside. But the meat was very tender and well-done, just how I like it. I also tried my mum’s dish, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, and I loved it! Especially because it came with a pretzel roll to dunk into the soup!

You can find this at the Canada booth.

IMG_5120.jpeg

Schinkennudeln

I also had, for the second time ever, the Schinkennudeln. There will never be a Food and Wine Festival where my family doesn’t totally butcher the name of this while ordering it, but we all love it anyway! It’s pasta gratin with ham, cheese and onions. And it’s sooo delicious. It looks like it’d be a really heavy pasta because of all the cheese but I find it’s actually not which is good because I don’t love heavy pastas. Plus, the cheese is very mild - again, a good thing because I’m not big on sharp cheese. (I know, I’m so weird)

You can find this at the Germany booth.

Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ladies and gentlemen, may I please direct your attention to the worst quality pic of this entire post! By this point, it was like 7:30 at night so the lighting was not my friend. ANYWAY. This is one of my fav dishes from the festival. Ugh this is so good. I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Again, it’s one of those dishes that seems like something I might hate. It’s got pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and peppers all mixed in with macaronic pasta to make an incredible (and quite spicy) dish. This and the pork sliders might just be tied for my #1 favourite dish of the festival.

You can find this at the Active Eats booth.

IMG_5105.jpeg

Honestly, Food and Wine is such a great time. It’s a great opportunity to just stroll around World Showcase, taste a few international dishes, and enjoy the atmosphere of *ahem* the greatest Disney park.

Also, let’s have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes (aka the food that didn’t show up on menus this year):

  • Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi (although, I should probably quit holding out hope on this one, it’s been a couple years since it last appeared lol)

  • Chicken Gyro

  • Boeuf Bourguignon (my absolute fav!!! how could Disney do this to me!!!)

Hope you guys enjoyed reading! If you’ve been to Food and Wine before, let me know what your fav dish was in the comments.

Felicia x

My 3 Favourite Summertime Beverages

IMG_2328.jpg

Summer is right around the corner. Can you feel it? I love summer, if you hadn't already noticed. I am definitely a warm weather gal. So, I am definitely soaking up all of this sun right now. 

This season is full of backyard barbecues, get-togethers with your gal pals, and summer holidays like Independence Day and Canada Day. So, there's always a perfect opportunity to make yourself a delicious summer cocktail - even if it's just to chill in your backyard with a good book. Heaven knows thats what I'll be doing.

I've been getting into mixology lately and, if I do say so myself, I've been getting pretty good at it. So I thought that today, I'd share with you guys my 3 favourite mixed drinks for the summer season, and their recipes!

BLUEBERRY FIZZ

This first drink is inspired by a drink that I love at Jack Astor's. I love blueberry and this is the perfect sweet fizzy drink. 

You'll need: Vodka, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Blue Curacao, and Sprite

First, add 3 shots of vodka, 2 shots of lemon juice, and 1 splash of simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it all up until it's nicely mixed, then pour into a tall glass with fresh ice. Then, add 1 shot of blue Curacao (make sure you do this at the end, after mixing, or else you won't have a cool blue colour!) and top it off with a bit of Sprite. 

RASPBERRY VODKA LEMONADE

If you're a fan of lemonade - like myself - then this is definitely a must-try!

You'll need: Raspberries, Sugar, Smirnoff Raspberry vodka (or regular vodka), and Lemonade

The very first thing you should do is add 5 raspberries into a cocktail shaker, with a teaspoon of sugar, and using a fork, just mix it all up together until the raspberries are more liquid than solid. Once you've done that, add 1 and 1/2 shots of raspberry vodka (or regular vodka) and 4 shots of lemonade. Shake it all up, and the pour over ice into a glass. 

TEQUILA SUNRISE

This is definitely the strongest of the three drinks, so I'd be more cautious with this one.

You'll need: Tequila, Orange Juice, and Grenadine

This is super simple to make. First, add 2 shots of tequila and 4 shots of orange juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake that up, and then pour into a glass over ice. Then, add 1/2 shot of grenadine into the glass, to add that funky red colour. And voila! If you want to dilute it, make it a little less strong, then you can add a bit more OJ to this recipe but be sure to do that before the grenadine, or else it will ruin the visual effect! Also, for fun, you can add a few maraschino cherries in there. 

And that's that! I hope you guys enjoyed this post. If you try out any of these recipes, let me know what you thought in the comments. Also, the pink and blue mason jar mugs I used for the pictures were $3 a piece at Zehrs! So, if you live nearby a Zehrs, definitely check those out cause they are super cute and so inexpensive.

Although it goes without saying, please be very careful when drinking - be responsible, and never ever drink and drive! 

What are your favourite summer time drinks?

Felicia x


Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2017

1901be98-0b72-46f9-b088-1e507ed94fe8-1.jpg
762b516b-bd3d-4003-a73c-730da9d6ad75-1.jpg

Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival is absolutely, without a doubt one of my must-do's at Walt Disney World. If you were to ask me, 'say Felicia, I'm thinking about going to Disney, when should I go?', I would say AUTUMN because FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL. My family has been going to the Food and Wine Festival since 2011, and in 2015 my boyfriend joined in on our yearly tradition. Each year, we pick up a complimentary Food and Wine Passport to record what we've tried each year and our thoughts on each dish. So, I thought I would share with all of you what we tried and what we thought of everything.

[NOTE: Hello from the future! This post is quite old now & as I’ve learned more about photography/editing, I’ve learned not to over-saturate all my photos like I did in this post. But unfortunately, there’s no going back now! Sorry about that. Hope you enjoy anyway!]

02a6cb50-8e87-41ad-91bd-28ffc4762162-1.jpg
img_0034-1.jpg

Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce

Starting off with my home and native land! Every year since we started attending the Food and Wine Festival, we’ve had this steak dish. It used to be one of my favourite dishes of the event, but the past couple years, it’s been meh. My boyfriend and I shared a filet this time and though I was happy it was cooked well done, we both agreed that it wasn’t as great as it has been in past years. I’m not sure if maybe this had something to do with the fact that we got there later in the day and it might have been sitting out under heat lamps, but I was unfortunately unimpressed.


img_0036-1.jpg
img_0035-1.jpg

Boeuf Bourguignon with Purée de Pommes de Terre

Okay, here we go. Favourite dish time. My boyfriend and I each had our own plate of the Boeuf Bourguignon because I looked at him and said, “um I’m not sharing this” lol. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon-braised beef served with mashed potatoes. Guys, this is the most tender piece of meat I have ever had in my entire life. Honestly, you don’t even need a knife to cut into this, you can easily tear it apart with a fork. Drizzled in gravy, atop mashed potatoes, this beef wins my heart year after year. Pro Tip: if you fancy trying this dish but can’t make it to Food and Wine Festival, or you’ve tried it at Food and Wine but just want to eat it again (trust me, I feel you), this dish is served with linguini at Les Chefs de France, one of the table service restaurants in Epcot’s France pavilion. Bon Appetit!


3f77b2b2-7546-4ad4-a6b8-bcca71ea2651-1.jpg
img_0037-1.jpg

Absolut Penne

Although I didn’t try anything at the Italy kiosk this year, my boyfriend did so I thought it fit to mention it regardless. Steven tried this Absolut Penne dish, which is penne served with vodka sauce and shrimp. I’m not a fan of seafood and especially not shrimp, but my boyfriend loves it. He really enjoyed this dish and said that he would most definitely try it again if they offered it in the future. Although, he did say it was a little bit spicy so if you don’t like any spice in your meals, this probably isn’t for you.


img_0043-1.jpg
img_0042-1.jpg

Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour DOLE Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise

We visit this stand every year and it’s always worth it. Every time we come to the Hawaii stand, I get the pork slider. I looooove it so much. It’s super odd in terms of ingredients. Like, pineapple chutney, spicy mayo, pork… It sounds like a weird combo, right? For someone as picky as I am, it’s bizarre that I ever tried it. But I promise you, these flavours come together to create something absolutely divine. The pork mixed with the pineapple chutney is very *Italian kiss*. Yum, I’m in heaven just thinking about it right now!


img_0032-1.jpg
img_0033-1.jpg

Grilled Lamb T-Bone with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies

The next stand we ventured over to was Australia. This is where my boyfriend tried the lamb. He found the lamb to be very tender and quite good, but said that the mint sauce was too excessive and overpowering.


5b273ad5-0687-4dbc-99e1-baa5d5dc5d7c-1.jpg
d87aebb0-b46e-48e8-a09c-caea3bbc8350-1.jpg

Rib Eye Tacos

I had never tried anything from the Mexico pavilion before this year’s festival, but my parents decided to try the tacos so I thought I’d have a taste. I was pleasantly surprised! Although I wasn’t totally in love with it, I did think it was pretty good. It was made up of marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle sauce, and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla. I feel like it was probably the chipotle sauce that I wasn’t keen on. All in all, pretty good dish, but I’m not sure that I would have it again in the future.


4d907667-01f5-443d-a693-6e92871f15f4-1.jpg
img_0040-1.jpg

Schinkennudeln

Germany was another new stop for me, but it will definitely be one I visit again in the future! My boyfriend and I tried this pasta dish which is pasta gratin made with ham and cheese. My boyfriend ordered it, offered me a bit, and I was in love! The baked pasta mixed with the taste of the ham was so interesting and tasty! I can’t wait to have it again next year.

fullsizerender.jpeg

Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions

Our last stop was the Active Eats kiosk which is separate from the World Showcase stands. This was our last stop but it was certainly worthwhile. I won’t bother listing what’s in this dish because the name of it, although a mouthful, gets the point across! I’m a mac ‘n’ cheese fanatic. And this one checks off everything on my list. It’s so good. It even has a bit of a spice to it which makes it really interesting and different than just a plain ol’ mac ‘n’ cheese. I highly recommend this dish.

NOTABLY ABSENT

There were definitely some dishes that didn't show up this year, that were very missed by all:

  • The Chicken Gyro from Greece

  • The Ravioli alla Caprese from Italy

  • The Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi

RIP y’all :(

Until next time, Food and Wine!

Felicia x

A Parisian Cafe

img_3834.jpg

IMG_3832IMG_3833IMG_3835IMG_3836IMG_3837IMG_3839 I am completely in love with cafes. I think that a quiet coffee shop is the loveliest place to spend a few hours relaxing and recharging. This evening, my mum and I took a trip down to idrive 360 on International Drive in Orlando to try out a cafe that we noticed the other day.

The cafe, iCafe de Paris, caught our interest because of how cute the patio is (seriously, it's adorable). We ordered a crepe to share, the Bella Paris (which is topped with Nutella, bananas, and strawberries) and each ordered a cup of coffee - my mum had a cappuccino, I had a caramel macchiato. The set-up of the cafe is really nice because they give you a number card to place on your table, and they bring your order straight to you. We took a seat on the patio (of course) and it didn't take long at all for our food and drinks to be brought to us.

The crepe was amazing. Seriously, it was absolute heaven. We both loved our drinks and would definitely return to this cafe in the future. But for sure, the setting of the cafe was what tied it all together. Our table on the patio faced directly onto the Orlando Eye (the large Ferris wheel, similar to the London Eye). We arrived just before sunset, so we got to see the Eye during daylight as well as at night. It's such a spectacular view. Not to mention, the cafe was playing great music haha :) We had an amazing night, chatting and sipping our coffee.

 

Review: Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival | 2015

dscn3092.jpg

You all may not know it yet, but I am a major foodie. Although I might be a bit picky (rather, very picky), I often go through periods of time where I become particularly adventurous in terms of my taste buds. Fortunately, this time of taste-related bravery comes along right around the time of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.

The Food and Wine Festival is a special event that Disney hosts every autumn. They set up several "Marketplace" booths, representing various countries, and serve delectable dishes from around the world. It is a fantastic chance to try new things and enjoy miniature versions of fabulous meals.

Today, I visited alongside my parents and my lovely boyfriend. I took a few photographs of what I had and thought I might share them with all of you, so you can virtually drool over the culinary excellence of the Food and Wine Festival.

What I Had:

Hawaii: Kalua Pork Slider w/ Dole Pineapple Chutney & Spicy Mayo

Cheese Studio: Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread

Greece: Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce

Desserts & Champagne: Cream Soda Float with Caramel Ice Cream

Farm Fresh: Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese

Italy: Ravioli Alla Caprese

Belgium: Belgian Waffle w/ Chocolate Ganache

France: Boeuf Bourguignon

Canada: Cheddar cheese soup & Wild mushroom beef filet

Kalua pork sliders

Kalua pork sliders

Cheese fondue with sourdough bread

Cheese fondue with sourdough bread

chicken gyro

chicken gyro

cream soda float with caramel ice cream

cream soda float with caramel ice cream

loaded mac ‘n’ cheese

loaded mac ‘n’ cheese

raviolli alla caprese

raviolli alla caprese

belgian waffle with berries (left) and chocolate (right)

belgian waffle with berries (left) and chocolate (right)

boeuf bourguignon

boeuf bourguignon

cheddar cheese soup and wild mushroom filet

cheddar cheese soup and wild mushroom filet