Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Disney- Wine Pairing at Restaurant Marrakesh

There are special food and beverage pairings offered during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. We knew that during our trip, we had to do at least one.  After going over the various options, we decided to go with the Morocco food and wine pairing at Epcot's Restaurant Marrakesh. The decision was based on our love of Moroccan cuisine, the fact that it was one of the least expensive, and the chance to taste Moroccan wines which you can't find in stores.

The Moroccan pavilion is my favorite at Epcot. I love the architecture, the tiles, and the fountains. We've always wanted to eat at Restaurant Marrakesh, but somehow it always got bumped for something else.

We arrived to the restaurant and were invited to sit in the lobby area while the rest of the guests arrived.  While we waited, a server came around offering tiny glasses of Ksar Blanc.

They were adorable. I love tiny things.

Once everyone checked in, we were lead into the main dining room. Wow. It's beautiful, with the soaring ceilings, dangling chandeliers, and intricate designs.

We were a little nervous at first. Since there were only two of us, it was evident that we would be seated at a table with strangers.  This could either enhance the experience, or totally ruin it. Luckily, we were seated with a brother and sister, and the brother's adult son. They were from Nebraska. They were wonderful people. We ended up having a lot in common. They shared stories about what it is like living in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska, and we shared with them what it is like living near cities. We had great conversations, and even shared around pictures of our pets. It's nice when people understand, and don't think it's crazy that your phone contains multiple pet photos. Their dog was named Nacho. We happily listened to Nacho stories. 

For each course, the chef came out and explained the dish in detail.

After the chef talked, the sommelier came to the center of the room to describe the wine that went with the course.

First up was a Shrimp Tangine with Chermoula Sauce. The shrimp were nice and big. The sauce was spicy enough to enjoy without being too spicy. It was paired with a Les Trois Domaines Blanc.

For the second course, we were presented with Chicken with Fresh Grapes and Ginger. The chicken was fall off the bone tender, with a ginger sauce that was not overwhelming. If the piece of paper sitting in front of me didn't say that the ovals on the plate were grapes, I would have sworn they were olives. The way the grapes cooked down in the sauce gave them the exact texture of a sweet olive. I could have eaten a whole plate of them. The chicken was paired with a Les Trois Domaines Rouge.

Finally we had a Spiced Lamb Kefta Kabab, with Cucumber, Mint, Cilantro, Chilis, and feta cheese. It was paired with an Amazigh Rouge.  

I wasn't sure how I would like this dish. I am not a kefta fan. I usually find it dry and bland.  I'm not sure what magic wand Disney uses, but this kefta was moist, juicy and flavorful. I realize now that it is not kefta's fault, I've just never had good kefta before. It's yummy. 

We enjoyed all of the dishes. 

One of the guys at our table was a vegetarian, so he had his own set of dishes that looked very tasty too. 

The wines were okay, but not sensational. 

The Le Trois Domaines Rouge was probably the one I liked best. They just didn't pop. They weren't wines we would choose to buy and bring home. 

Now I'm not someone who complains about Disney prices. It is what it is and most of the time I'm happy to dole out whatever for a nice experience. I must admit though, that for what we paid for the meal, I was surprised that it didn't include a dessert. I mean would it have killed them to throw in a piece of baklava?  Okay maybe I was just really craving  baklava being in a Moroccan restaurant and all. 

We ended up buying baklava at Morocco's Food and Wine Festival kiosk.  

Mmmmmm, baklava. 

If you are going to Disney World specifically for Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, then I think doing one of the food and beverage pairings is worth the extra splurge. There's not just wine, some have beer pairings, or a wine and beer combo. We had nice company, good food, and it was a nice relaxing respite from all of the park hustle and bustle. 

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