2014 Food & Wine: France

There was a bit of shock that swept through social media when France’s very popular Escargot Persillade en Brioche had been revamped into a Tartelette aux Escargot: an Escargot Tart with Garlic, Spinach, Bacon, and Parmesan. The former three tiny brioche that featured chopped escargot, garlic, and parsley had been drastically changed.

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The Boeuf Bourguignon returned, and a Gratin de Crozets de Savoie – a Wheat Pasta Gratin with Mushrooms and Gruyere Cheese – has been added. The Creme Brulee au Chocolat au Lait, like the escargot, has been changed up – though not as drastically – and features a Caramel Fleur de sel flavor.

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Our top focus on the first visit to the kiosk was the Tartelette aux Escargot. One of the things mentioned, and I believe this was on Twitter, was that the new Escargot dish features a lot of filler with the Spinach, Bacon and Parmesan.

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The crumbly crust doesn’t treat the filling in the same way as the brioche did. Its crumbly texture holds firm, whereas the brioche would absorb the buttery filling. Yes, there were indeed three whole snails in this tartelette, but they didn’t feel like the star of the show. And while I love crispy bacon, it felt a bit out of place. It along with Parmesan Cheese, which can be very strong in flavor, seemed to compete with the delicate escargot. Even the Spinach seemed a bit lost.

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We’ll be returning to France later in the Festival for more reviews, in particular the Gratin de Crozets de Savoie and the Creme Brulee Caramel Fleur de sel. We tried the Boeuf Bourguignon last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt orders it again.

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2013-food-wine-france-sparkling-pomegranate-kirSparkling Pomegranate Kir

I think fans of the former escargot should at least try the Tartelette aux Escargot. It was by no means bad, just different. I might give this another try later in the festival to see if my thoughts on it change, or if maybe I notice something I didn’t the first time. Of course, we’ll let you know! 🙂

UPDATE

A few weeks ago, we revisited France with some friends. At this point we were pretty full from Puerto Rico, but that didn’t stop us from ordering the Creme Brulee Caramel Fleur de Sel. Creme Brulee is one of Matt’s favorite desserts, so it’s almost always guaranteed he will order it if it’s on a menu. This year, the version being served was switched from Chocolate au Lait to a Caramel Fluer de Sel.

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The top of the dessert had a really nice layer of caramelization of the sugar. I’ve seen it over the years as rather spotty/patchy sometimes. Bits of sugar were clinging to the aluminum dish.

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The satisfying snap of the crust gave way to a silky custard below. The salty punch that one would get from eating an actual salted caramel is not found here. Instead, the overall sweetness is muted and the actual caramel flavor is enhanced. I think this was a large improvement over the Chocolate au Lait version of years past.

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Our friend ordered both the Boeuf Bourguignon and the Gratin de Crozets de Savoie. Matt enjoyed a taste of the Boeuf Bourguignon as it is one of his favorites as well (he loves stews). I have a feeling he’ll want to order his own before the end of the festival.

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While we didn’t sample  the Gratin de Crozets de Savoie personally, our friend really enjoyed the dish. Crozets is a specialty pasta from the Savoie region of France, and is typically flat and square in shape. In this dish, they were prepared al dente.

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It was noted that there was a healthy dose of mushroom in this dish, which immediately put Matt of from trying it. Apart from not liking mushrooms themselves, he doesn’t like when the flavor permeates a dish. There was also a hearty amount of Gruyere cheese. This is one I’d consider giving a try still.

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We’ll keep you posted on updated reviews from France as the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues. What have you tried from the kiosk, and what did you think? What are you looking forward to trying?

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5 responses to “2014 Food & Wine: France

  1. I am very interested to try this new treatment on the escargot. While I enjoyed the version in the tiny brioche, I am glad the F&W chefs are changing things up a little. I sometimes have a hard time convincing my husband to go back to F&W as he says, “why it’s the exact same stuff they had last year”. Honestly, I’d love to see more changes each year to make it fresh, but I understand why they don’t do it. Hopefully, the line in France won’t be too terrible this Saturday & I’ll get to try this.

  2. I like seeing things changed up too, which is one of the reasons I was interested in trying this dish (and any of the new food items, really). While I may have returning favorites, I tend to order the new items first to cover on the blog before revisiting old ones, especially since they rarely change – and if they do, it’s typically minimal – each year. I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy Flower & Garden so much – since it’s still new, there’s more room to “play,” and having less kiosks allows for more focus and thought on what’s being prepared. Looking forward to your thoughts on the new escargot! 🙂

  3. WHY IN THE WORLD DOES THE GRATIN HAVE TO BE MADE WITH WHOLE WHEAT PASTA!?!?!?! It really makes no sense. Like, at all.

  4. Since this is my first F&WF, I can’t compare the previous version of the escargot dish but I really like the current version! It is very rich and oh so yummy! I’ll definitely need to have it again before going home!
    The only other item I had at the France booth was the crème brûlée. The sea salt added a very interesting flavor to it. I recommend! 🙂

  5. Andrew – I know. Probably one of the quickest ways to kill a pasta dish!

    Ricardo – I like sea-salted caramel, so it’s on the list! Thanks for your input!