Florida’s Fantastic Fall Food Fests
By Georgina Cruz
Florida’s fall is fantastic for foodies. Treasure Coast families and visitors looking for getaways that offer opportunities to enjoy delicious food will find them in various points of the peninsula as Florida seems to feel like humorist Mark Twain who once observed that “Nothing helps scenery like bacon and eggs.”
Among Florida’s top culinary fairs is Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World in Orlando, one of the country’s, and arguably the world’s, biggest. Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, presented by Corkcicle began in July and continues in full swing now through Nov. 18.
During the festival, park-goers can stroll in Epcot’s World Showcase enjoying tastes from six continents at various international marketplaces. The international marketplaces feature tapas from Japan, Latin America, Ireland, Germany, France, Africa, China, the U.S. and many more. The phrase, attributed to Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” comes to mind here, as if visitors have dreamed about going on a trip around the world, they can do so –definitely treating their taste buds to global delights during the festival.
The tapas typically cost from $4 to $8 each, so enjoying tastes from around the world here is relatively economical and without long flights. And before or after the tapas in the marketplaces visitors can attend seminars and cooking demonstrations as well as ending the day with a concert at a free “Eat to the Beat!” concert presented at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot’s U.S.A. pavilion. Many festival events are included in park admission; others are ticketed. Visit EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival | Walt Disney World Resort (go.com).
Other culinary festivals in Florida this fall include the following. As with any special event, dates are subject to change, so always verify them before planning a trip.
- Pensacola, Sept. 29-Oct. 1– The Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival offers a variety of delights from the sea at Seville Square in downtown Pensacola. Visitors may wish to try fish soups, oyster croquettes, soft-shell crab, coconut shrimp, Caribbean-style crab cakes, and much more. The event also offers a crafts fair with 150 kiosks, live music and culinary demonstrations. Info: Seafood Festival | Fiesta Pensacola.
Destin, Oct. 6-8 – The Annual Destin Seafood Festival offers fresh fish and seafood from the Gulf of Mexico at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk and also features live music and family activities. Admission is free, but donations are requested. Ticketed VIP passes are available that offer access to a private área with seating and free food and beverages. Info: Destin Seafood Festival – Destin, Florida
- St. Augustine, Oct. 7-8 – The 25th Annual Greek Festival in Florida’s Old City invites one and all to be Greek even if for just a weekend.
Presented by the Holy Trinity Greek Church, it will boast the tastes and aromas of Greek culinary specialties. Baklava, anyone? Dancers in traditional dress will perform. Admission is free. Info: www.stauggreekfest.com
- Appalachicola, Nov. 3-4 — The 60th Annual Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola is one of the oldest in Florida. It serves up fresh fish and seafood along with live music and an arts and crafts fair as well as special seafood-related events. Among the activities are an oyster eating contest, crab races, cooking contest, a parade, a 5K race and Blessing of the Fishing Fleet. Info:www.floridaseafoodfestival.com.
- Orlando, Nov. 10-11 – The Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic returns this fall with delights from the hotel ‘s chefs on the Swan & Dolphin beautiful causeway. In addition to the culinary specialties visitors may taste wines from California and other places in the U.S. as well as wines from France, Argentina, Germany, Spain and other nations as well as beers in a Beer Garden. Info: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com).