Around the World at The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2014

Although I have been known to watch HGTV and the occasional DIY Network show, I’m by no means a huge fan of either one.  My thumb is definitely more brown than green.  But that didn’t stop me from enjoying immensely the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT in 2014!  One of the benefits of going to the opening of Star Wars Weekends was that it was also the closing weekend for the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT.  Having spent both Thursday and Friday soaking in all the Star Wars goodness, I decided to hop over to EPCOT for some fun in the sun on Saturday and check out the happenings over there.

The large topiary that greets you as you enter into EPCOT
The large topiary that greets you as you enter into EPCOT

What I found was beyond my expectations.  The topiaries that can be seen all throughout the park were beautiful.  Many of them were so intricately made they were attractions in and of themselves.  Walking into EPCOT, one couldn’t help noticing the beautiful topiary with Donald, Daisy, and Goofy, but that was just the opening act.  Traveling between Future World and World Showcase, you could find even more of these wonderful creations. Everything from Lightning McQueen and his friend Tow Mater to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, all of them done with astounding likeness.

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But the topiaries were only part of the fun.  They had other exhibits and performances going on related to all of the festivities, but for me, the other wonderful part of it was the food tasting around World Showcase.  Special booths were created featuring little tastes and bites from different countries.  Each one featured several treats as well as a unique drink or two, all created specifically and ONLY for the festival!  My favorite was at the Lotus House which served Beijing-style candied strawberries.  Delicious!  The strawberries themselves were so fresh and amazing, but when covered in what tasted like candied honey, the taste was off the charts.  I also tried some tasty fresh three-cheese manicotti at Primavera Kitchen in the Italy pavilion and a plate of Hanami sushi from the Hanami stand in the Japan pavilion.  The sushi plate was a close second place in terms of taste.  Three rice balls topped with a thin slice of protein – salmon sashimi, scallop sashimi, and beef.  Each one was incredible and the Shiso Violet Sauce that I was sure I would not like was terrific.  They had other great selections all through World Showcase, but even my stomach had to make choices.  Some highlights included Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake which could be found in the Smokehouse at the American pavilion and combined bacon, maple frosting, and cake with a pretzel crunch.  Shrimp and Grits at the Florida Fresh booth also in the American pavilion.  Lamb Brewat Roll at the Taste of Marrakesh booth in the Morocco pavilion.  And the Confit de Canard, Pomme de Terre Sarladaise (pulled duck in confit with parsley potatoes) in the French pavilion.  There were many more booths and tastes to try, but just not enough words to adequately describe them.

The adorable "gnome" Duffy's created exclusively for the Flower and Garden Festival.
The adorable “gnome” Duffy’s created exclusively for the Flower and Garden Festival.

On top of that, they had a wonderful selection of merchandise – from exclusive event pins to shirts to a special gnome-looking Duffy the Bear.  Special Vinylmation was also created for the event.  There was so much to do and see and buy that one day certainly wasn’t enough to experience it all.  If you didn’t make it over there this year, be sure to go next year!

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