Tuesday, November 9, 2010

EPCOT Center Food & Wine Festival Adventures - Part 1: New Zealand - Ireland

We started off at 11 AM, opening time for the World Showcase. We decided to go counter-clockwise around the World Showcase, heading towards Canada first.

Off-Kilter Performing
Our first base of operations was at the Off-Kilter stage area between Canada and the United Kingdom. We decided to skip Kiosk #28 15 Beers for 15 Years as it didn't appeal to the group as a whole (Josh does not imbibe). Ben took Kiosk #27 New Zealand, Josh took Kiosk #26 Greece, I took Kiosk #25 Charcuterie & Cheese, Linda took Kiosk #24 Canada, and Colleen took Kiosk #23 Ireland.

Here's what we sampled from these kiosks (items with an asterisk were tried on the previous visit I had with my mother):

          Ireland - Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie, Kerrygold® Cheese
            Selection*, Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey's Irish Cream
            Ganache, Guinneess draught, Bunratty Honey Meade Wine*
          Canada - Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup*, Chicken Chipotle Sausage
            with Sweet Corn Polenta, Inniskillim Pearl Vidal Icewine*
          Charcuterie & Cheese - Cheese Fondue with Croutons and Roasted
            Potatoes, Nueske's Charcuterie Plate (Applewood Smoked Beef, Duck,
            and Ham), Martini® Prosecco
          Greece - Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki, Spanakopita, Greek Salad with
            Pita Bread*
          New Zealand -  Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil

Everything was delicious, but the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie was hailed as the best dish we tried all day. It was the epitome of comfort food; the mashed potato topping was light and smooth while the filling underneath allowed the flavors of the lobster and scallops to shine. The Kerrygold® Cheese Selection was not that impressive and I would not go out of my way to experience again (the cheeses were Kerrygold® cheeses that you can find at your local grocery store).  The Warm Chocolate Lava cake was phenomenal and the ganache was so heavenly that the plates were licked clean; I plan on making this cake for my birthday. Guinness is, well, Guinness (one of my favorite beers, but obviously not for everyone). Bunratty Honey Meade is a very sweet dessert wine; it is not overly alcoholic in flavor, but the sweetness can be cloying and small samplings are best.

The Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup never fails to please; the bacon adds a wonderful smokiness to the soup and on a chilly evening it is most welcome indeed (there is a reason why this soup is so well-known, it is a must-try at EPCOT Center). The Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta was very good as well. The sausage was not spicy in the slightest and was overshadowed by the fabulous polenta; I would gladly pay the $3.75 asking price to omit the sausage and triple the amount of polenta provided. The Inniskillin Pearl Vidal Icewine was rather overpriced ($5.75) for the exceptionally small portion. All icewines are exceptionally sweet and this one was no exception. It has a syrup-like texture and is thicker than the also sweet Bunratty Honey Meade at the Ireland kiosk.

The Cheese Fondue with Croutons and Roasted Potatoes was a real treat. The croutons were unremarkable, but the baby purple potatoes and fingerling potatoes were perfection; the fondue was very creamy and the serving was so large that we took it with us to use at our next "base camp". The Nueske's Charcuterie Plate was a nicely sized sampling for $3.75. The applewood smoked beef was amazing, it had an incredible flavor and richness; the duck and the ham were good, but paled in comparison to the beef. Martini® Prosecco is always a delight; the bubbles tickle the nose and it is neither too dry nor too sweet. An excellent toast to start the day.

Spanakopita and Greek Salad
Greece has always been somewhat of a disappointment to me in the years I have attended the festival. The Greek Salad is good, don't get me wrong, but it is rather unremarkable and a common dish. The Spanakopita is tasty, but rather dry (I am biased, admittedly, as my mother-in-law makes a heavenly spanakopita). The Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki was well seasoned and the tzatziki sauce was served in a perfect amount to help moisten the pita and complement the chicken.

The Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil was very fresh. The scallop was amply sized to provide 4 respectable tastings and was not overpowered by any seasonings. What I was most impressed with, however, was the vegetable slaw. It was seasoned with fresh dill which really complemented the onions and melded so harmoniously with the lemon oil. Ben also bought a very lovely dry red wine, of which I unfortunately neglected to note the name.

********RECIPE TIME********

The best dish of these kiosks (and perhaps the entire day!) was the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie. Here's the official recipe in case you'd like to try to make this wonderful dish at home!

Serves 8


Lobster Bisque
2 T butter                                  1 T cognac
2 T olive oil                               4 c fish stock
1.5 c chopped onion                  2 c heavy whipping cream
2 c chopped celery                    1/4 t cayenne pepper
1.5 c chopped fennel                 1 t crushed garlic
2 lobster shells, meat removed   1 t chervil
.5 c tomato purée                      1/2 t coarse salt
2 T flour                                    1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie
4 c mashed potatoes                  2 T brandy
2 T butter                                  1 lb bay scallops
1 T olive oil                               1 qt lobster bisque
1 c diced onion                         1 lb cooked lobster meat, chopped 
1 c diced celery                         1/2 t tarragon
1 c diced carrot                         1/8 t hot pepper sauce
3.5 T flour                                 2 c shredded cheddar cheese

For the lobster bisque - 
  1. Place butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery, and fennel for 6-7 minutes until tender. Add the lobster shells and tomato purée and cook for another minute. Add the flour and stir until combined and cook for another 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Add the cognac and stock and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the heavy whipping cream and boil for 15 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper, garlic, and chervil, stirring to combine.
  4. Remove the lobster shells and blend the mixture until combined and smooth.
  5. Pour the bisque through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth to remove any pieces of shell.
  6. Return the bisque to the saucepan and bring back to a boil for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce heat to low.
For the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie - 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots for 6-7 minutes until tender. Add the flour and stir until combined, continuing to cook for another minute.
  3. Add the brandy and stir for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the scallops and lobster bisque, stirring to combine. Cook until mixture comes to a boil. 
  5. Remove from heat. Add the cooked lobster, tarragon, and hot pepper sauce. Stir. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Carefully pour the mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, spreading to all sides of the dish to cover. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment