This is the 25th year for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and to celebrate, there will be 90 days of blooming fun for the whole family. From exciting live concerts and entertainment to colorful gardens and interactive play areas, this is the ultimate springtime celebration. One of the best parts of the festival is getting to try all the amazing foods from the 15 outdoor kitchens around World Showcase. Here’s our roundup of the five best new dishes to try at this year's event.
Honey-mascarpone cheesecake from the Honey Bee-stro
The Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board is a new outdoor kitchen making its debut at this year's event, and everything it offers is made with sweet, scrumptious honey. The standout dish is the honey-mascarpone cheesecake. This decadent dessert is made with local wildflower honey and mascarpone cheese, served with orange blossom honey ice cream on the side. Wash it down with a glass of orange blossom honey wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery or an orange blossom pilsner from Orange Blossom Brewing Co. For kids, there's a non-alcoholic honey-peach cobbler freeze.
Brisket burnt ends and pork belly slider from The Smokehouse
The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews has become one of the most popular stops at the festival. Located at The American Adventure, you can find an array of local craft beers from Central Florida, along with some finger-licking, lip-smacking barbecue. The most popular dish in the past has been the beef brisket burnt ends hash, which you can still get here, but this year they're also offering an all-new slider featuring the popular burnt ends along with some smoked pork belly. To make this dish even more special, the slider is topped off with garlic sausage, chorizo, cheddar fondue and a housemade pickle. Be sure to grab a lot of napkins – you're going to need them!
Tropical mousse cake from La Isla Fresca
If you're looking for something sweet and light, try this fluffy new mousse cake from La Isla Fresca. It's made from alternating layers of soft passion fruit cake and velvety coconut mousse, topped with a tropical fruit glaze and served with fresh pineapple chunks on the side. Looking for a savory bite before diving into your tropical cake? Try the sugar cane shrimp skewer with steamed rice or Jamaican-braised beef with pigeon pea rice. For the full Caribbean experience, order the refreshing Tropical Freeze frozen drink to go with your meal, available with or without Cruzan Mango Rum.
Toasted pretzel bread from Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market
If you're a fan of pretzel bread, head to Germany for this brand-new Bavarian bite. The toasted pretzel bread is a simple yet delicious culinary masterpiece. It's topped with black forest ham and covered in melted Gruyère cheese. It's like an amazing hot sandwich on yummy toasty pretzel bread. Of course, you can still get the returning potato pancakes and warm cheese strudel with mixed berries from Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market, back by popular demand. And while in Germany, beer lovers will want to try the beer flight featuring three unique imported lagers.
Griddled maple pound cake from Northern Bloom
You know you're in Canada when the foods are made with maple syrup. This new dessert dish strikes the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The griddled maple pound cake is topped with a warm peach compote and a scoop of frozen sweet corn gelato. Just for good measure, there are a few kernels of popped maple popcorn on the plate as well. The interesting mix of warm and cold with sweet and savory flavors makes this one of the year's must-try new dishes. Accompany your dish with the rich maple popcorn shake, available with or without Crown Royal maple whisky, straight from the Great White North.
The 25th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 28, 2018 – get your tickets on BestofOrlando.
(Photos: Walt Disney World)