One of the best things about the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays in Walt Disney World is that I actually crave food from Holiday Kitchens like France and Italy since it's not sweltering hot outside. This is excellent because they often offer some amazing options – and Italy's Tuscany Holiday Kitchen this season is no exception.
The Tuscany Holiday Kitchen offers a whopping FIVE food options this year – two savory and three(!) sweet – along with 7 beer and wine options.
- Cavatappi ai Quattro Formaggi: Baked Four-Cheese Pasta, Parmesan Crumble and Truffle Essence (Kid Friendly) ($8)
This. Is. Delicious. At $8 it's not cheap but it's a huge serving for a festival dish and it's as hearty as anything I've ever eaten from an Epcot booth. Loaded with cheeses and generous with the truffle flavor and parmesan crumble on top, this tastes like the Pioneer Woman indulgences that I only dare to make and keep in the house over the holiday season. Don't miss this fancy mac ‘n cheese bit of heaven. It's a stand out item for sure.
- Mozzarella in Carozza: Golden-crusted Fried Mozzarella Sandwich and Tomato Sauce (Kid Friendly) ($8)
This is some straight up fried mozzarella grilled cheese in a pool of thick tomato soup. With the current cold-for-us weather in Florida, this is worth standing in line for. Don't get me wrong – it's not breaking any records for creativity. But in cases like this, that's okay. Because fried grilled cheese sitting in a bed of tomato soup is always, always a good thing. And your kids will actually eat it too!
- Crespelle di Mele: Cinnamon Apple Fritters and a Vanilla Sauce Drizzle with Chocolate Caramel Sauce ($8)
Finally!! A dessert that hits it out of the park at the Festival of the Holidays. If you've ever had a warm corn fritter, these crespelle have that same warm and wonderful taste and texture but with chunks of warm apple instead of corn. (Actually one of these was like that, the other was full of huge chunks of apple that channeled apple pie a bit more – but both were delicious.) Also, the warm vanilla sauce drizzled on top and chocolate caramel sauce underneath were not overpowering at all. At $8 this dessert is awfully high on the price spectrum for the festival – but if you're going to pick one or two sweets to try, this will likely deserve to be on that list.
- Bacio al Cioccolato: Warm Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream ($10)
Speaking of desserts that are expensive but wonderful – just look at this warm hazelnut chocolate cake with cream and berries. Truth told I am not usually one to enjoy rich chocolate desserts, so I needed the cream and berries to cut the rich sweetness, but even I can tell you that this was incredible. The cake is warm and rich and the berries and mascarpone cream balance it out well. At $10 it's without question a pricey dessert, but if you're a chocoholic this should be on your short list.
- Panettone Mignon: Miniature Traditional Italian Christmas Fruitcake ($8)
And for perhaps the funniest surprise item at the festival – I paid my $8 for the fruitcake and rounded the corner to the booth to be handed this entire prepackaged mini panettone!! If you're not familiar with this Bauli Panettone, it's actually quite delicious and tastes more like light, chewy raisin bread than what we in the U.S. think of as the clichéd holiday fruitcake. That said, I can get this delicious oversized muffin for less than $8 elsewhere, and it travels quite well, so this will probably be a one time indulgence at the festival for me.
All in all, Italy is one of the pricier kitchens at the Festival of the Holidays this year but it's loaded with options for every palate and they hit it out of the park again and again with each one.
You'd better believe I'll be back for more. But for now?
Tuscany Holiday Kitchen? Check!