Italy is back again for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017. Italy is a special booth to me because as many of you know, my wife is Italian and we spend many months there throughout the year. So let’s just say that we are familiar with Italian food! ?. That being said, it’s not always easy to find authentic Italian food like in Italy, so it will be interesting to see how the booth does this year. Andiamo a mangiare di brutto (let’s go eat a ton) in my Italy Review: 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival….
I’m not sure why Hops and Barley has to be different, why can’t we just call this the America Booth again??
Italy has changed up its menu quite a bit from last year. First they changed out Pennete alla Pamigiana last year to Penne w/ Vodka Sauce and Shrimp. Kept the Spezzatino but this year it’s a beef style stew with creamy cheesy polenta instead of the crispy one. Then they also added a whole new item this year: Crispy Calamari w/ pomodoro sauce. The only thing that’s exactly the same is the Chocolate Cannoli.
I can’t wait to see how they compare to the food back in Italy…
Here is this year’s menu 2017:
- Crispy Calamari with Spicy Pomodoro Sauce – $8.00, DDP Snack Credit *Ziggy Recommended
- Spezzatino con Polenta: Beef Stew with Parmesan Creamy Polenta – $7.50, DDP Snack Credit *Ziggy Recommended
- Absolut Penne with Vodka Sauce with Shrimp – $7.00, DDP Snack Eligible *Ziggy Recommended
- Cannoli al Cioccolato: Chocolate-covered Cannoli filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate and Candied Fruit – $4.25, DDP Snack Credit
- Pinot Grigio – $7.00
- Chianti – $7.00
- Prosecco – $9.00
- Corbinello – $9.00
- Moscato -$9.00
- Frozen Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila -$10.00 *Ziggy Recommended
- Moretti Lager Beer -$5.50
- Moretti La Rossa Double Malt Beer -$5.50
We noticed that this is one of the highest-priced menus at Food and Wine this year, with no savory item coming in less than $7.00, so we’ll keep and eye out to see if they are worth the high price!
Might as well start out with the Spezzatino con Polenta: Beef Stew with Parmesan Creamy Polenta, as this is a typical dish from our area of Italy. I’m very particular with my polenta and I hate it when it’s hard and not creamy. When I took my first bite of this my worry was instantly relieved. This is really, really good and something most Americans don’t immediately associate with Italian cooking, however it’s huge were we are. It’s a giant portion, very filling. The stew is awesome, very savory and perfectly salted, lots of good beef in there too. That polenta is just great though, super cheesy and smooth. Not an ideal dish for hot weather, but if you get it an evening in late Oct or Nov you’ll love it!
My family are crazy for calamari, so we got the Crispy Calamari with Spicy Pomodoro Sauce to share. Big mistake. Should have kept it for myself. This was the second amazing dish in a row. Pretty good size portion of calamari, small rings, which are my favorite part! The breading is what makes this amazing though. In Italian we call it: “pastella” which is only flour and water, and seasonings of course. That way when you fry it, it’s super light and crispy, not a heavy breading which I don’t like at all. The calamari wasn’t chewy, very tender! The sauce is a simple tomato sauce, but not Ragu from a jar, actually fresh tasting, and went really well with the calamari. Overall we loved it!
Last up of the 3 savory items: Absolut Penne with Vodka Sauce with Shrimp. One amazing dish after the next here! Penne was perfectly cooked al dente, which is often not the case when cooking for this many people. The vodka sauce was unreal, real fresh, sweet tasting tomatoes, and the sauce was creamy and cheesy too. Three shrimp included which were good too, and the portion of pasta is abundant! Much better than the pasta dish last year! I love a good pasta dish, I could eat it every day, and this was pretty great!
Could Italy make the clean sweep with the Cannoli al Cioccolato: Chocolate-covered Cannoli filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate and Candied Fruit? I’m sorry to say…not so much here. I love cannoli, but they have to taste authentic, and this just doesn’t. The shell is not a classic cannoli shell, but it’s denser and more like a cookie. Didn’t taste fresh, but frozen too. I also prefer cannoli without chocolate, so that was a negative for me. The filling was still pretty good, creamy. It’s also really small, I could fit like 3 in the palm of my hand. I think the shell must be different from last year because I remember liking it a lot more than this time. Oh well you can’t win them all.
Booth Summary and Grade:
Italy for me was absolutely amazing this year, much improved over last year and a strong contender for #1 Epcot Food and Wine Booth this year! I thought there were a nice variety of dishes that represented Italian cooking pretty diversely, not just the usual items associated with it. All three savory items are incredible: Penne w/ Vodka Sauce and Shrimp, Spezzatino with Creamy Polenta and the Crispy Calamari. Italy is an absolute Must-Try this year, don’t skip over it!
If you have to get just one thing: Penne, Spezzatino and Calamari!
Take a look at all of my 2017 Epcot Food and Wine articles. I have a 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Info Guide with a complete Index of the Food and Wine Menus, The Top NEW Items for 2017, Top Food and Wine Booths and more…I want you to be able to have the best info on the Festival so you have a great time and don’t waste your time!
I want to know what you think of my Italy Review 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Which was your favorite item? Where does it rand on your list of 2017 Food and Wine booths? Let us know in the comments section below!
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