The New Zealand booth at this year’s Food and Wine Festival is located near Australia's – just around the bend after you turn right from Future World into World Showcase (toward the Canada and United Kingdom pavilions). And once again, if you were at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival last year, the menu won’t be unfamiliar.
- Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs ($4.50)
These are a mere 25 cents more than they were last year and still easily one of the best values at the Festival. They are gorgeous and HUGE, soaked in butter and garlic, and covered in breadcrumbs. They smell like the ocean and have a briny taste that will make you think you’re on a remote beach somewhere instead of eating, perhaps off the top of a (pristine) trashcan, along World Showcase Lagoon. These are not shy about what they are. They are strong, beautifully seasoned mussels, and they are delicious.
- Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney ($5.50)
Again, a mere 25 cents more than last year and still a great value. This is a lamb meatball covered in Disney-level “spicy” (think little kick more than major heat) chunky tomato chutney with garlic and lots of fennel seeds, all sitting in a soft doughy basket that does a lovely job soaking up everything. The fact that it is lamb rather than a more “common” meat is not in your face. The meat is very mild. Not the most refreshing thing to eat on a hot day, but if you’re looking for a generous portion of something tasty on a breezy evening, this is a very good option.
- Seared Venison Sausage with Kumara Purée and Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce ($6.50)
They switched this up from chunks of venison last year to venison sausage this year. While I preferred last year's version, this is still good. The marsala sauce has a lovely flavor and the sausage is not gamey at all. The kumara is a type of yam or sweet potato found in New Zealand and the purée definitely tastes just like you would expect a mashed sweet potato to taste. It’s a great choice, as the mildly sweet starch cuts the richness of the venison and marsala sauce well.
- Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($7.00)
Oh New Zealand. You had me at frozen wine. This was just a happy little glass of slushy wine that went down easily along with the three savory dishes. I’d order it again in an Epcot minute.
And with that, we've conquered New Zealand. Check!