Eat This: Fleur de Lys at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

I’ve shared before that I tend to overlook (or intentionally skip) the offerings at the various festivals’ France and Italy booths, as they tend to offer heavier foods that I don’t crave in the Florida heat. In part because of the cooler temperatures that we’ve had (on and off) so far this year, I’ve managed to try both menus early on and, while I was disappointed in Italy, I was thrilled with France and so excited to share my thoughts here.

As you’d expect, France’s Flower & Garden Festival booth, Fleur de Lys (see what they did there??), is located just outside and to the right of the France Pavilion in World Showcase, just after you cross the bridge from the U.K. pavilion. This year they are offering two savory dishes and one very sweet, along with a number of drinks.

  • Tarte à la Tomate Provençale: Provencal Tomato Tart with Sautéed Onions, Fresh Thyme, and Rosemary on a Flaky Pastry Crust ($5.50)

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival France Pavilion Fleur de Lys Tarte a la Tomate Provencale

This was so simple and so good – fresh tomatoes and olives atop a light flaky crust. And I’m a sucker for rosemary and thyme. It was France’s take on pizza and it was wonderful. I’ll definitely be back for more…especially if I can dip it in the leftover sauce from this…

  • Confit de Canard aux Gnocchi à la Parisienne: Braised Duck Confit with Parisian Gnocchi ($5.75)

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival France Pavilion Fleur de Lys Confit de Canard aux Gnocchi a la Parisienne

This is as delicious as it is ugly…. and I am *not* an indiscriminate fan of duck. It doesn’t take much for me to find it too greasy or fatty if it isn’t chosen or prepared well. This almost could have passed for a very rich chicken or turkey. And the gnocchi was far from the dense round type that you’d expect in Italian food. Instead is was a flat sort of dumpling. I cannot recommend this ugly little plate of food more strongly…especially if you are smart enough to get the tarte too and dip it in the leftover sauce.

  • Macaron au Chocolat en Sucette: Large Chocolate Macaron Lollipop (gluten free (?!)) ($4.95)

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival France Pavilion Fleur de Lys Macaron au Chocolat en Sucette

You guys. Look how pretty!!

This was SO good. I’m not even a big sweet eater – and when I do have a dessert it’s rarely chocolate. Last year the French kitchen at Flower and Garden offered a raspberry macaron that got one bite from me before I had to pass it along to someone else because it was sweeter than I could take or enjoy. This is also very sweet but not nearly as overpowering. The macaron is light and filled with a rich, soft chocolate and then dipped in these pretty little balls of white and (milk?) chocolate that make the whole thing that much more fun and pretty. This might have been one of my favorite desserts at F&G so far.

  • La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush: Grey Goose Vodka L’Orange, St. Germain Liqueur, White and Red Cranberry Juice ($10.75)

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival France Pavilion Fleur de Lys La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush

This thing is light and refreshing enough that I can forgive the obnoxious “glass”. The perfect thing for a hot day, especially when you have a macaron’s sweetness to cut. 😉

Have you eaten at Fleur de Lys yet? If you have, let me know what you thought!

Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival – France Booth

There are a handful of booths that, through no fault of their own, often take me some time to hit at Food & Wine each year. Sometimes it’s location related…. (Who still has room for waffles when they reach Belguim??) More often it’s the play of the type of food against the heat and humidity of central Florida well into “fall”. I dig French and Italian food, but I tend not to crave it while strolling outside in 90+ degree heat and 1000% humidity.

That said, I wasn’t going to let France slip by this year. So when a childless, relatively mild weathered Friday lunch hour presented itself yesterday, I seized the day and ordered the full slate.

These are the sacrifices I make, my friends. These are the sacrifices….

So, without further ado, my thoughts:

  • Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parley ($5.75)

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This is a returning item and, in short, if you’re cool with snails and not planning on going on a first date later (because you will reek of garlic for the rest of the day), it is delicious. The croissant is perfectly flakey and fully saturated in butter and garlic and the escargots do their usual job of adding texture and transporting garlic from plate to palate as they should. If your young children are anything like my older son, they will cry when they learn that something like this exists in the world. so maybe save it for an adults-only visit.

  • Moelleux au Fromage de Chèvre et Épinards – Warm Goat Cheese Pudding with Spinach ($4.25) (Vegetarian, GF)

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I am a goat cheese fanatic, so I was excited for this. And as you can see from the picture, it is a pretty little dish. That said, while it wasn’t bad by any stretch, it was probably my least favorite of the group. When I eat a dish with goat cheese, I want to be punched in the face with it. This was more of a spinach quiche with a dollap of goat cheese (see it there?) perched on top. It was fine, but not my favorite thing. I marched on…

  • Bouef Bourguignon, Purée de Pommes Terre: Cabernet Sauvignon-braised Beef with Mashed Potatoes ($6.25)

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Damn this was good. Even in the early October, mid-afternoon Florida sun, I could have enjoyed a few of these. The beef fell apart at the touch, was just the right amount of salty, and sat on a happy little bed of potatoes that were as simple as they were delicious. It was true to France and it went down easy. No frills, no silliness, just solid yum.

  • Crème Brûlée à la Confiture de Framboises: Crème Brûlée with Housemade Raspberry Jam ($4.25) (Vegetarian, GF)

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There are few things in the world as satisfying as the crack into a perfectly fired crème brûlée. With one bite it frog leaped into one of the top spots for desserts at F&W. It’s sweet but not overpowering, cut by the tartness of the raspberries. Again, nothing over the top. Just simple and delicious.

  • La Passion Martini Slush: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, and Cranberry Passion Fruit Juice ($10.75)

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I can’t tell you how many people asked where I’d scored this as I walked with it. Get yourself one on a hot day. Please. You deserve it. You’re welcome.