July 22, 2024

Flavors of America New Booth Menu & Review: 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

Flavors of America is one of the new booths at the 2023 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll share prices, food photos, my thoughts on the menu, and what is a good/poor bang for your buck.

Technically, Flavors of America is not new new. Previously, this was the Hops & Barley booth, having debuted back in 2005. We have a lot of fond memories from this spot, from free beer tastings (yes, really–it was a different era at EPCOT) way back in the day to the glorious Pumpkin Mousse…which, I guess, was technically way back in the day since it’s been gone for a decade.

More recently, this Global Marketplace has been more hit or miss. It was home to overpriced lobster rolls for a while and other expensive dishes and great barbecued meats, plus tons of different meals. However, a lot of its past menus were more or less rendered obsolete by the debut of  Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse, which opened a few years ago the American Adventure pavilion. As a result, Walt Disney World has finally done a complete overhaul of the America booth…

Speaking of Regal Eagle, our strong recommendation if you’re dining at Flavors of America during the daytime hours over the first half of the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival is to take your food over to the indoor seating area at Regal Eagle. I did the Flavors of America booth when the ‘feels like’ temperature was 119° in Orlando, and there was literally no one else in line at any point during the ~10 minutes I was in this area.

That’s likely because most of the dishes here are hot and heavy. Not only that, but many of the tables are not in the shade for some reason, making this a challenge when it’s hot and humid. On the plus side, the Regal Eagle seating area is covered and has an abundance of air-conditioning!

With that said, let’s take a look at the 2023 food menu for the Flavors of America booth:

  • Italian Hot Beef Sandwich with Shaved Beef, Spicy Giardiniera and Au Jus on a French Roll (NEW)
  • Cioppino: Seafood Stew with Saffron-infused Tomato-Fennel Broth and Sourdough Crostini (NEW)
  • Chilaquiles: Corn Tortilla Chips tossed in Salsa Verde with Ranchero Chicken, Queso Fresco, Cilantro-Lime Crema and a Soft-Poached Egg (NEW)
  • Freshly Baked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Flavors of America Beverages:

  • Rogue Dreamland American Lager, Ashland, OR
  • Goose Island Beer Co. Neon Beer Hug, Chicago, IL
  • Left Hand Brewing Sawtooth Amber Ale, Longmont, CO

Now our photos and reviews of each item from the Flavors of America Global Marketplace at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival…

Italian Hot Beef Sandwich ($6.25) – This is actually a fresh spin on a dish that was offered in this location in the past. In our view, it’s an improvement–and also cheaper despite the passage of time. This time, the sandwich is served on a French roll and consists of shaved beef, spicy giardiniera and is served with au jus.

The meat here is tender, smoky, and flavorful. The spicy giardiniera makes it reminiscent of a Chicago-style beef sandwich (missed opportunity for some synergy with The Bear on Hulu!), but this is no Portillo’s. Still, it’s quite good by EPCOT Food & Wine standards, with great flavor, texture, and a sizable portion. It’s not the most adventurous item you’ll find at the festival, but we still recommend it wholeheartedly.

Cioppino ($7.50) – I was skeptical of this one, which the menu describes as a seafood stew with saffron-infused tomato-fennel broth and sourdough crostini. We’ll start with the bad, which is the broth. It’s very one note, and tastes like it might be sourced from a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. It’s not the typical flavor profile you’d expect, and falls flat as a cioppino as a result.

With that said, the seafood in this dish is fantastic. The cioppino is chock-full of shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams–all of which are delicious. EPCOT festivals have a rich history of doing scallops surprisingly well, and that’s true once again here, as the hearty portions of those are fantastic. In fact, we’ve had similar scallops at past EPCOT Food & Wine Festivals that were about the same portion size as the ones here for around $6. Obviously, this cioppino includes more than just scallops.

As a result, the cioppino is very much a dish where the sum of the parts is more than the whole. Stated differently, if you want a good cioppino, look elsewhere. If you want a big dish of delicious seafood with a coating of tomato, it’s tough to beat this–really solid value for money, despite the high price.

Chilaquiles ($6.75) – The Chilaquiles consist of Corn Tortilla Chips tossed in Salsa Verde with Ranchero Chicken, Queso Fresco, Cilantro-Lime Crema and a Soft-Poached Egg. As a huge sucker for chilaquiles, I was most excited for these.

The chilaquiles took longer to come out than any other dish, and I was rewarded with the made to order preparation. The tortilla chips were still fresh and not soggy, holding up admirably under the weight of the toppings. Some quibbles with the dish are possible–the chicken isn’t the highest quality, for example.

But those are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. The toppings come together fantastically, making this a great late breakfast or brunch dish. The soft-poached egg is perfect, and the salsa verde and crema combo make for a really refreshing dish. It’s all quite filling, too. Highly, highly recommended!

Freshly Baked Carrot Cake ($4.50) – The one holdover from the Hops & Barley menu is this freshly-baked carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Here’s our hot take regarding this dessert: it’s incredibly overrated. 

For reasons beyond us, Disney has eliminated many of the best EPCOT Food & Wine Festival desserts in the past few years. Almost by default, this carrot cake has stepped into the void and been dubbed the new best-of the event by many fans.

It is most definitely undeserving of that distinction. What you have here is a relatively ordinary carrot cake; it’s competently-prepared and checks the right boxes, so no complaints there. It’s then slathered in cream cheese icing that contains, and I’m not exaggerating, a week’s worth of your recommended sugar intake. The icing makes my teeth tingle, and I feel like I need to immediately brush them.

Other fans seem to love this carrot cake, though, so what do we know. Consider ignoring us and giving it a try. If you do, we’d recommend sharing.

Ultimately, the overhaul of this booth and transformation into Flavors of America is mostly positive. The Chilaquiles and Italian Beef, in particular, are among the best dishes of the entire festival. Honestly, I’d order the Cioppino again, too, even though I’m more mixed on that dish as a whole, because it’s a tremendous portion of seafood for the price.

From our perspective, the worst dish here is the freshly-baked carrot cake. Given how much everyone else absolutely adores that dessert, having that be the weakest item of the lineup is a pretty big success. Flavors of America still isn’t as good as some of the past booths at the American Adventure, including Hops & Barley from several years ago and the Flower & Garden booths here more recently, but it’s the best incarnation of this Global Marketplace that we’ve tried at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival in at least the last 5 years. We’ll take it!

Check out our Global Marketplace Booth Menus & Photos for the 2023 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu this year! You’ll also want to read our full 2023 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival (yes, you will need a strategy), and much more!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

If you’ve tried any of the marketplace items at Flavors of America, what did you think? Favorites? Least favorites? What was and wasn’t worth it? Thoughts on the savory dishes or the overly sweet freshly-baked carrot cake? Anything on the menu you’re excited to try this year? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!