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Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will open the same day as 'Star Wars' land

The Alps, a new marketplace at this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, will feature “mountain fare” like a gooey hunk of warm raclette Swiss cheese. [Courtesy of Walt Disney World]
Published Jul. 29

This year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival runs for a record 87 days, and it's opening on Aug. 29 — the same day that Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge launches at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios.

May the fork be with you.

The Orlando area festival is scheduled to take place through Nov. 23, featuring the usual dozens of marketplaces along the World Showcase with international drinks and dishes. Old favorites include the Canadian cheddar cheese and bacon soup and the chocolate truffle mousse. The chocolate is lowered into liquid nitrogen for less than a minute before it's removed and cracked open with a hammer and drizzled with warm whiskey-caramel sauce.

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There are some new additions to the festival, too. For 2019, the Greece and New Zealand booths have retired and been replaced by the Alps. This marketplace will offer "mountain fare" including a gooey hunk of warm raclette Swiss cheese, charred and then scraped with baby potatoes, cornichons and baguette slices.

Also new is the Appleseed Orchard set up in the O Canada! theater while the CircleVision movie theater undergoes an update. The air-conditioned space will get a fall makeover and serve green and caramel-apple popcorn, a charcuterie and cheese plate and apple-centric craft beer and cider.

Impossible Foods takes over the Earth Eats marketplace this year, adding a vegan cottage pie. The dish resembles your typical shepherd's pie but with a mashed cauliflower and white bean whip on top and plant-based mozzarella.

That vegan cheese can get you a stamp on the Emile's Fromage Montage, a.k.a. a scavenger hunt with cheese. Various cheese items are planned throughout the festival, and when guests sample five cheeses (and get a stamp), they will receive a free specialty cheesecake.

In addition, the Italy booth showcases a new menu of ravioli carbonara, balsamic-glazed pork ribs, crispy chicken with marinara, traditional Sicilian cannoli and chocolate-hazelnut cake.

The hard seltzer trend, which is still going strong, even shows up at the festival's Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar, where a frozen mimosa will call for White Claw instead of wine.

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Outside of the marketplaces, culinary celebrities are lined up for "Sunday Brunch with the Chef," kicking off Sept. 1 with Jamie Deen, son of Paula Deen and co-owner of the Lady and Sons restaurant. The series includes Carla Hall (Sept. 8), Fabio Viviani (Sept. 15) and Buddy Valastro (Oct. 6). Epcot tickets are required in addition to the cost of the brunch: $139 per guest.

The concert series "Eat to the Beat" opens with rockers the Plain White T's Aug. 29 and 31, plus country's Sawyer Brown Sept. 1 and 2. Other acts are Grace Kelly (Sept. 5 and 6), Sheena Easton (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1), 98 Degrees (Oct. 7 to 9), Kenny G (Oct. 14 and 15) and Billy Ocean (Oct. 21 and 22).

Performances are included with admission and take place three times a day at the American Gardens Theater in the American Adventure Pavilion.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is popular with locals and tourists alike, so crowds tend to swell in the evenings and on weekends. For shorter lines, visit during the week or the day rather than during dinner hours.

Tickets start at $113 at disneyparks.disney.go.com.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

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