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Terra Vegan Marketplace at 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

July 12, 2012

I’ve been enjoying Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival almost every year since I turned 21. It’s always been a great time, and one of my favorite times to visit the World. (The others being right before Christmas, for Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, and also my birthday.) Walking around World Showcase eating and drinking from the booths, is such a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Since I’m dining completely vegetarian now, my dining choices at the booths are more limited. In 2011 there were about 70 different food items to sample between a couple dozen booths. Only 23 items were vegetarian, and of those 23, only six were savory items. Slim pickings for vegetarians unless you want to spend the whole day eating sweets, which wouldn’t actually be the worst thing, but sometimes you just want something more substantial.

I’m really looking forward to the fact that this year Disney is making a brand new “Terra” marketplace booth that will be entirely vegan. The menu is already partially leaked, and will feature a Indian-flavored Gardein “chicken” dish and a Gardein “beef” chili with cashew “cheese.” I have to say, though they get an A for effort, I think the food offerings fall short, and while I’m beyond thrilled that there will be a vegan booth at this year’s festival, I am somewhat disapointed that the offerings will be relying on processed “meat.”

Really Disney? All the time you spend planning the Festival, and this is the best you could come up with? I’ll probably still try both items, at least the chili, since I’ve been experimenting a lot with nut cheeses recently, (to clarify, I am not a vegan, but my kitchen is completely vegan, I only eat eggs and dairy while dining out,) and cashews seem to be the best substitute for cheesy flavor that I’ve found so far.

I just think that with so many naturally great whole vegan foods out there, Disney could’ve done much better then Gardein meat substitutes. What about using some tofu or tempeh? I will admit, before going vegetarian, I probably would’ve stayed away from any tofu offerings. I really thought I didn’t like the stuff, since when I was younger my mom went through a health nut phase, and anything she cooked for dinner is what we ate, or we didn’t eat. She made tofu dishes a few times, and I always found them extremely bland and boring. After going vegetarian I tried tofu again, and now it’s one of my favorite foods. Seasoning makes all the difference. I would have however, probably tried tempeh without being vegetarian. I had never heard of the stuff before I went vegetarian, and anytime I see something on a menu I’ve never tried, let alone heard of, I usually decide I need to try it.

But I am still happy that there will be a vegan marketplace in general. I think it makes vegan a little more mainstream, and maybe will educate the general public a little bit better on veganism.

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