Florida serves up a varied menu of food festivals this autumn

Florida serves up a varied menu of food festivals this autumn

By Georgina Cruz

When travelers start feeling hunger pangs while visiting Florida’s theme parks and other attractions, there is no problem! Florida serves up a varied menu of food festivals to satisfy each appetite and taste. Among the special culinary events this season is one of the biggest food festivals in the U.S., and possibly, the world: Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival –this year called “A Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.” It started on July 15 coinciding with the reopening of the Orlando theme park at World Disney World after it was closed due to Covid-19, and the gastronomic delights fest is scheduled to continue through the fall.

Among the novelties of the festival this year is a Remy topiary in the park’s French pavilion, (Remy, of course, is the beloved mouse chef of the animated hit Ratatouille). The series of “Eat to the Beat!” concerts will not be presented this year to avoid crowds, but there will be more music in the international pavilions of the park each day including presentations by the popular Mariachi Cobre in Mexico’s pavilion.

During the festival, visitors stroll around the park’s World Showcase tasting tapas at more than 20 international marketplaces. The festival offers special events presented by celebrity chefs, culinary demonstrations, seminars and tastings of food and beverages. My mouth is watering already! 

Some not-to-be-missed tastes include the Duck Confit a l’Orange in France,  and the Kalua Pork Slider at the Hawaiian Marketplace. The tapas typically cost $4-$8, so it is easy to send your taste buds on a trip around the world when it comes to culinary delights –and without long flights. Some of the festival events are included in the price of admission to Epcot; others require separate tickets. Info: www.disneyworld.com.

Other Florida food festivals scheduled for this autumn include the following. As in the case of any special event, dates and details are subject to change, particularly in this time of Covid-19, so it is important to verify festival dates before planning a trip.

  • Oct. 9-11 – The 16th Annual Greek Festival in St. Augustine, presented by the Holy Trinity Greek Church, will feature the aromas and flavors of Greek culinary specialties. Dancers in typical costumes will perform traditional dances. Info: www.stauggreekfest.com.
  • Nov. 6-8 – The Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival is one of the biggest food fests in Florida, offering a variety of specialties in historic Seville Square in the heart of Pensacola. Visitors can enjoy such delights as seafood gumbo, grilled conch, oyster croquettes, soft-shell crab, coconut shrimp, crab cakes Caribbean-style and much more. The event also offers a crafts fair, live music and culinary demonstrations. Info: https://www.pensacolaseafoodfestival.com/.
  • Nov. 6-7 – The Annual Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola is one of the oldest culinary special events in the state. It serves up fish and seafood paired with musical entertainment and arts and crafts fair along with seafood-themed events in Battery Park. Among the activities and events are oyster eating contests, crab races, culinary competitions, a parade, 5K race and Blessing of the Fishing Fleet. Info: https://www.floridasforgottencoast.com/event/florida-seafood-festival/.
  • Nov. 8 – Tampa celebrates one of the world’s most popular snack treats during the Cuban Sandwich Food & Art Festival in Centennial Park. The event features live music, arts and crafts, and, of course, Cuban sandwiches! Info: https://www.thecubansandwichfestival.com/.
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