17 Must-Have Snacks And Sips At Disney's 2023 International Food & Wine Festival

Walt Disney World in Florida, an iconic destination known for its four primary parks — Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot — offers a variety of unique experiences. But amongst them, Epcot holds a special appeal for gourmets who delight in exploring global cuisines during their vacation.

Each year, Epcot transforms into a gastronomic paradise in the late summer and early fall, hosting the International Food and Wine Festival. During this highly anticipated event, visitors can sample a cornucopia of dishes and drinks inspired by culinary traditions from around the globe. From unique offerings from different kitchens to a myriad of cocktails, beers, ciders, and wines, each echoing the distinct flavors of their native regions, the festival promises an absolute feast of culinary delights.

This year, thanks to a sneak peek at the new Brew-Wing Lab, nestled within the Odyssey pavilion, we were introduced to a selection of dishes and drinks that dared to be different. Venturing beyond the conventional, these offerings presented adventurous flavors that might seem a little outlandish to some. But for those of us with a penchant for culinary exploration, these novel creations intrigued our palates and easily found their place amongst the festival's must-try offerings.

Pickle Milkshake

A standout and perhaps the most adventurous offering at the 2023 Walt Disney World's International Food and Wine Festival is the Pickle Milkshake from the Brew-Wing Lab. In this unique offering, the punchy dill taste is prominent but ingeniously counterbalanced with a touch of vanilla. Beyond the adventurous flavor profile, this Pickle Milkshake deserves praise for its visually stunning presentation.

As much as the dill is the star of this beverage, it's not overwhelming. It's a fun addition that elevates the drink into the realm of the extraordinary. Pickle lovers will find themselves in a paradise of sorts with this concoction. But it's for more than just the dill aficionados; even those with a penchant for not-quite-sweet drinks will appreciate the innovative flavors. One thing is for sure: Pickle drinks are getting to shine this summer. This one feels similar in delicate flavor to Spritz Society's pickle cocktail. However, this milkshake is alcohol-free and sure to delight your kiddos looking for something silly to enjoy.

Frozen Fusion

The Frozen Fusion drink is another must-try at the fest, especially for those looking for a refreshing respite in the warm Florida climate. This drink stands out not only for its flavor but also for its vibrant red hue that immediately catches the eye. Plus, it comes served in a fun cup and is topped with orange Dippin' Dots style ice cream, offering a fun, playful twist to the classic frozen drink aesthetic.

As for the taste, the Frozen Fusion has a vaguely fruity profile attributed to its innovative blend of ingredients. The drink's base is Twinings Pomegranate and Raspberry Herbal Tea, known for its delicate sweetness and rich, fruity notes. This adds an irresistible depth to the drink, with the tart pomegranate and raspberry flavors working harmoniously to offer a delightful taste sensation. It's a combination that doesn't overwhelm but perfectly quenches your thirst and tantalizes your taste buds.

Buffalo Brussels Sprouts

This dish reimagines the humble Brussels sprout, transforming it into a flavor-packed, spicy delight that will please even the most discerning palate. These Brussels sprouts retain their inherent earthy flavor while boasting an outstanding layer of spice. This dish is not for the faint of heart; it's unapologetically spicy, with a heat that gradually builds, tantalizing your taste buds with each bite. Despite its spiciness, the dish doesn't overpower. Instead, it strikes a balance, allowing the natural flavor of the Brussels sprouts to shine through.

An essential component of this dish is the cheese — a delicious plant-based blue cheese. This unexpected addition introduces a creamy tanginess that cuts through the heat, providing a refreshing contrast. The plant-based nature of the cheese makes this dish a fantastic option for vegans or those looking to reduce their animal product intake. A plant-based ranch accompanies the sprouts, adding a rich, creamy note that perfectly complements the bold flavors.

Impossible Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Impossible Buffalo Chicken Tenders are an exciting offering that will satisfy both the vegan and non-vegan crowds alike. The dish wonderfully encapsulates the joys of indulging in comfort food while remaining committed to a plant-based lifestyle.

The tenders have a remarkable buffalo flavor that fans of the classic dish will appreciate. Unlike some tenders that can be dry, these are saucy and tender, making each bite a pleasure. Despite this dish's location at the festival (in the Brew-Wing Lab), the tenders are much more akin to a chicken nugget than a wing, a distinction that plays well with their texture and flavor.

Visually, these tenders are impressive, mimicking the appearance of chicken so well that they could easily pass as the real deal. They pack the perfect heat level, and we find they are just spicy enough to give a nice kick without overwhelming your palate.

Cider Flight

The Cider Flight presents a perfect opportunity to explore a variety of flavors in one delightful package. This flight is especially great for those fond of fruitiness, as it brings together diverse fruity notes that are intriguing, enjoyable, and deliciously refreshing.

Included in the flight are selections from reputable cider makers. First up, we have Blake's Hard Cider Co Tropicalada Hard Cider, a vibrant brew that marries tropical notes into a crisp cider experience. Then we have Bold Rock Peach Berry Hard Cider, a blend that perfectly balances the sweetness of peach with the tang of berries, resulting in a fruity fusion.

The standout of the bunch, according to our tasting, is the Raspberry Lemonade. This cider brilliantly captures the tartness of raspberry and the citrusy zing of lemonade, offering a palate-pleasing experience. We love that whether your preference leans towards the tropical, the classically fruity, or the uniquely tart, this flight has something to cater to every palate.

Garlic Parmesan Wings

The Garlic Parmesan Wings offer a decadent, savory delight for those seeking a departure from the spicy and sweet. With a flavor that's both classic and irresistible, these wings capture the essence of comfort food.

You'll notice the abundance of sauce as soon as you bite into one of these wings. They're generously coated in a thick, indulgent layer of garlic parmesan goodness that is sure to please. This isn't a light glaze; it's a hearty sauce that fully envelopes the wings, ensuring that each bite is packed with flavor. In fact, we think there's more sauce on these wings than there were last year.

These wings are not spicy. Instead, they offer a robust, savory flavor that is wonderfully satisfying. The combination of garlic and Parmesan is a timeless classic, creating a taste exactly what you'd expect — and more. The garlic provides a bold, aromatic note, while the Parmesan adds a creamy, slightly tangy element.

Fry Flight

The Fry Flight at The Fry Basket celebrates the humble French fry in glorious forms. It offers a delightful variation of flavors that take the classic snack to exciting new heights. This is an essential pitstop for French fry lovers seeking to indulge their cravings with an adventurous twist.

The Sea Salt and Vinegar Fries deliver a punch of saltiness complemented by the tang of vinegar. They're a delicious balance that captures the essence of this classic flavor combination. The BBQ Bacon Fries with Smoked Aioli are topped with tender bacon pieces with just the right toughness. Then, there are the Sweet Potato Casserole Fries,  generously topped with candied pecans, toasted marshmallow cream, and a drizzle of maple bourbon glaze. The sweet potato base provides a sweet and savory contrast, while the pecans add a satisfying crunch. The maple bourbon glaze finishes the dish with a sweet and smoky note, completing this dessert-meets-snack creation.

Pickle Fries

The Pickle Fries with dill ranch at The Fry Basket serve up a compelling combination of taste and texture that we adore. These aren't your typical fries; they're fried pickles served with an incredibly flavorful sauce, offering a unique twist on traditional fried snacks. This is a favorite pub treat of ours, so we're thrilled to see it on the menu here.

These fried pickles have a crispy yet easy-to-eat coating. Since they're served as pickle spears, there's plenty of surface area for the coating to cling onto. Despite being fried, they maintain a lightness that ensures the snack doesn't feel too heavy, making it an option for those seeking a slightly different fried delicacy.

The accompanying dill ranch sauce is creamy and packed with a herby dill flavor that pairs excellently with the tang of the pickles. The quantity of the sauce is generous, and with an overall portion size that's more than satisfying for its $5.50 price tag, these pickle fries offer excellent value. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sticky Wings

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sticky Wings offer an innovative take on a beloved classic, blending nostalgia and novelty in every bite. These wings are coated in a thick, shiny sauce, unlike anything you've typically seen on chicken wings.

One of the first things you'll notice is the prominence of the peanut butter flavor. It's robust, creamy, and unmistakably at the forefront. The jelly element is subtler, but its sweetness complements the richness of the peanut butter. Beyond the intriguing sauce, these wings also impress with their quality. Each wing is meaty, ensuring a satisfying bite every time. The thick sauce envelops the chicken beautifully, making each bite a harmonious blend of textures and flavors.

Although these wings have a sugariness to them, they are not spicy in the slightest. In fact, they make for a wonderful follow-up to any of the spicier wings, offering a fun respite.

Griddled Cheese

The Griddled Cheese with pistachios and honey from Greece offers a symphony of flavors and textures that will delight cheese lovers. This dish combines the warm, creamy, slightly sharp cheese with the sweet honey and crunchy pistachios to create a culinary experience that's simultaneously comforting and exciting.

The star of the dish is, of course, the griddled cheese. It's beautifully smooth and creamy, with just enough sharpness to keep the flavor profile interesting. The cheese is griddled to perfection, creating a delightful crust that contrasts pleasantly with the soft cheese. Despite its sharpness, the cheese's flavor is mild enough to be enjoyed by any cheese lover. Honey's warm sweetness perfectly complements the cheese, while the pistachios lend a crunch, enhancing the overall texture of the dish. The portion size of this dish is notably generous, making it an excellent value. Plus, it's part of Emile's Fromage Montage, a fun feature of the festival where guests can indulge in various cheese dishes from different stalls and earn a delicious prize.

Unnecessarily Spicy, Yet Extremely Tasty Scotch Bonnet Pepper-Curry Wings

If there's a dish with a name as tantalizing as its flavor, it's the Unnecessarily Spicy, Yet Extremely Tasty Scotch Bonnet Pepper-Curry Wings. This wonderfully named treat gives you exactly what it promises: An intense heat that builds with every bite, yet an incredibly delicious flavor that keeps you coming back for more.

It's important to note that this is not your typical buffalo wing spice. The heat comes from the scotch bonnet pepper, which boasts a Scoville level of around 300,000, according to a chef we spoke to on-site. That means these wings are seriously hot, but don't let that deter you. The curry adds depth and complexity to the wings, balancing the heat with robust flavor.

Interestingly, these wings pair excellently with the previously mentioned Pickle Milkshake. The unique blend of dill and vanilla in the milkshake provides a refreshing counterpoint to the fiery wings. The result is a dining experience that is both satisfyingly spicy and pleasantly cool.

Tostada de Carnitas

The Tostada de Carnitas from Mexico is a vibrant palate of flavors and textures, promising an experience that's as delectable as it is memorable. This dish revolves around a crispy tostada shell which serves as the foundation for a symphony of ingredients, each playing its part in a culinary masterpiece.

Braised pork, a star player in this dish, rests on the tostada, tender to the point of melting in your mouth. The pork is perfectly cooked, exhibiting an enticing spiciness far from overpowering yet enough to leave a warm trace on your palate. The black beans contribute a welcome depth and hearty texture that contrast the avocado mousse. Queso fresco, known for its mild flavor and crumbly texture, is sprinkled over the top along with fresh chives that round off the dish. We think the Tostada de Carnitas is a dish best enjoyed in stages, starting as a hand-held treat and then moving on to using a fork to savor the remaining toppings.

Orange-Cardamom Wings

If you're a fan of orange chicken, you'll be delighted by the Orange-Cardamom Wings. They embody orange chicken's familiar, comforting taste but elevate it with a twist. The wings are coated in a sticky glaze, reminiscent of your favorite orange chicken but with an added depth of flavor.

This dish's secret lies in its subtlety. The orange flavor doesn't overpower; instead, it lends a gentle sweetness that complements the savory chicken perfectly. What makes these wings stand out is the addition of cardamom. When you cook with cardamom, you introduce warmth to your food, and that is evident in these wings as the spice creates a unique flavor profile that you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

The orange in this dish is incorporated as a glaze. The result is a sticky, sweet coating that clings to the chicken, ensuring every bite is flavorful. Despite its flavor, the glaze doesn't overwhelm the dish. Instead, it enhances the chicken's natural flavor and melds with the cardamom's warmth.

Guinness Baileys Coffee Shake

The Guinness Baileys Coffee Shake from Ireland is an indulgence that's impossible to resist. It's a delectable blend of flavors that offers the perfect escape during a hot day at the festival, promising a moment of sweet and creamy refreshment that's both delightful and memorable.

The shake carries a distinct chocolatey feel that lingers beautifully on your palate. While it contains alcohol, the blending process is so expertly done that you can't distinctly taste it. Instead, the alcohol subtly enhances the overall flavor profile without overpowering the other ingredients.

Adding to the shake's decadence is a topping of chocolate shavings. While they might melt away if it's hot enough, they add an extra layer of chocolatey goodness that complements the shake perfectly. The shake itself is incredibly rich and creamy, providing a delicious sensation with each sip. Another fantastic aspect of this shake is its texture. It's thick and cold, reminiscent of a delicious dessert rather than a mere beverage. This quality only amplifies the indulgent experience and makes it all the more enjoyable.

Fire Taiko Roll

The Fire Taiko Roll from Japan offers a flavorful journey into the art of sushi, bringing together a delightful array of ingredients that create a harmonious balance between spicy, refreshing, and savory. This roll boasts a distinct kick courtesy of its spicy tuna. The heat, however, doesn't overwhelm; it's a well-measured intensity that tantalizes the taste buds without overpowering them. This perfectly pitched spice makes the roll exciting to eat, adding a touch of fiery flavor to each bite.

Beneath the spiciness lies a combination of cucumber and pickled daikon radish. Their cool, crisp textures are a welcome contrast to the spicy tuna, providing a reprieve that allows the spiciness to shine without becoming too much. Accompanying the roll is a zippy spicy sauce. When paired with the sushi, it adds an extra dimension to the overall flavor, enhancing each ingredient while tying them together in a fiery embrace.

Tropical Mimosa

The Tropical Mimosa from Shimmering Sips is an invigorating blend that brings together the best of sparkling wine and POG juice, which is a mix of passion fruit, orange, and guava. The POG juice infuses the mimosa with a trifecta of tropical flavors. The passion fruit brings a hint of tanginess, the orange adds a familiar citrusy zest, and the guava rounds it all out with its subtly sweet, aromatic essence. These tropical flavors form a harmonious medley, presenting a beverage that encapsulates the essence of a tropical paradise.

The sparkling wine adds a layer of sophistication to the drink. It's not overtly noticeable but subtly blends with tropical flavors to create a beautifully balanced beverage. This delicate fusion allows the vibrant fruit flavors to shine while lending a mimosa's classic effervescence. This fruity blend offers a refreshing break without being too heavy, making it an ideal midday drink. The Tropical Mimosa is a standout among the festival's sips and one we look forward to since it premiered.

Freshly Baked Carrot Cake

The Freshly Baked Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing from Flavors of America is a dessert that deserves a special mention. This enticing cake is a flawless blend of moistness, sweetness, and tartness, genuinely exemplifying the art of baking.

The carrot cake is renowned for its moist texture, a testament to its flawless baking. Each bite is a moist morsel that melts in your mouth, releasing a wave of deliciousness accompanied by the unique, earthy undertones of the carrot.

Crowning the cake is a layer of cream cheese icing that adds a smooth, creamy dimension to the dessert. This icing, with its distinctive tang, beautifully counteracts the flavor of the cake, creating a balanced flavor profile that's nothing short of outstanding. Moreover, its melty consistency enhances the overall experience, providing a silky contrast to the cake's moist crumb. Plus, it doesn't get drizzled over the cake until moments before it's in your hands. Don't plan to share this one; it's too good.