The end of the 2021 Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival on July 5 is rapidly approaching, but there’s still time to enjoy the exclusive edibles available around the theme park, so we’ve got your Unofficial Guide to our favorite — and least-favorite — flavors we’ve found among the food items offered during Walt Disney World’s springtime celebration.
We’ve already brought you our Unofficial Guide to this year’s socially distanced Flower & Garden Festival, and followed up with a deeper look at the floral displays and live entertainment guests can currently enjoy at Epcot. Now, after eating and drinking our way around World Showcase multiple times, we’re ready to serve up suggestions of selections from the fest’s outdoor kitchen kiosks that you can’t miss, along with a few you should probably skip.
Best Flavors of 2021 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival
If you’ve just entered Epcot’s main entrance and want to get your grub on, the closest Outdoor Kitchen that we enthusiastically recommend is Flavor Full Kitchen, located in Future World West along the pathway near Journey Into Imagination. All of the options here are tasty, but we are suckers for a nice piece of salmon, and seared Verlasso fillet with Farro Risotto is truly restaurant-quality.
On the other hand, if you are entering through International Gateway and are hankering for a substantial hunk of protein, head straight to Hanami in Japan for the amazingly unctuous soy-glazed pork shank with truffle mashed potatoes. I was disappointed not to see any real sushi on the event’s menu (only fruit-based “frushi”) but the addition of this umami-packed pork dish more than makes up for it.
Looking for something on the lighter side? Luckily, the event’s Garden Graze tasting trail highlights the abundance of plant-based vegan options, including Bauernmarkt’s German potato pancakes topped with homemade applesauce, perfect for a post-Passover nosh.
To be honest, the other four items on the Garden Graze are a bit hit-or-miss (read on to see what we mean) but it’s well worth wading through them all for the free Lime-Mango Dole Whip you can collect from Pineapple Promenade after completing your stamps. At first, I didn’t think I liked this exclusive flavor as much as the traditional pineapple frozen dessert, but the curiously tart & tangy taste had me coming back until I was licking the bowl clean.
Better yet, afterwards you can take that collectible bowl home and use it with the included packet of seeds to create a living souvenir.
Last but not least, it turns out that one of our early favorites at the Flower & Garden Festival remains at the very top of our list. Trowel & Trellis’ boneless Korean short rib rice bowl is so meaty and satisfying, even hardcore carnivores could hardly guess it was made with Impossible plant-based protein!
Worst Flavors of 2021 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival
Although we’ve enjoyed the vast majority of dishes we’ve sampled so far at the 2021 Flower & Garden Festival, we wouldn’t be doing our Unofficial duty if we didn’t warn you about a few duds on the menus.
We were really happy to see Walt Disney World supporting plant-based dining with the Garden Graze, so it’s a shame that two of the five selections along the trail ended up on the bottom of our list. The first, a pineapple skewer with Tajin seasoning from Refreshment Outpost, is one of those “love it or hate it” items. If you already know that you like the cult-favorite spicy-and-sour salt, you’ll probably love this item, but for the rest of us the intense flavoring will overwhelm the fruit’s natural sweetness.
Less divisive — and more dense — is the lemon Magdalena cake from Taste of Marrakesh. There’s nothing wrong with with the luxurious orange and fig compote that tops the cake, and sangria gel on the side is inoffensive at worst. But the lemon cake itself is so heavy and dry, you’ll need more than a sample sized beverage to choke it down.
By the way, the neighboring Morocco pavilion appears to being undergoing an unannounced renovation. The back portion of the marketplace, which included Restaurant Marrakesh and an Aladdin character meet-and-greet location, has been completely blocked off by construction walls.
Meanwhile, a small snack stand has opened in Morocco’s adjacent souk, featuring olives and other Mediterranean treats.
Last and most definitely least is the duck confit à l’orange with Parisian gnocchi from France’s Fleur de Lys. While it isn’t necessarily the worst tasting dish we’ve ever had at the Flower & Garden Festival — although it’s far from the best — what really sets this dish apart is the dire presentation.
Compare that plate to this photo from the menu. Still not the most attractive plating, but at least it doesn’t look like canned cat food.
Do you agree with our selections? What are the best and worst dishes you’ve tasted at this year’s Epcot Flower & Garden Festival? Let us know in the comments below!
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.