Thursday, October 4, 2012

Going Gluten-Free at Disney Food and Wine 2012

Disney was amazing. I have a number of posts that will come over the next few weeks because we ate so many meals there, but I wanted to start off with a review of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for people with gluten allergies or sensitivities. I used this handy guide to get myself through:

The highlights?

1.) Florida's white corn arepa with mangalista pork. Oh. My. Gah. I love arepas as it is -- we often go to a local Venezuelan restaurant and get them. This arepa was stuffed with a tender flavorful pork and fried -- the best part was that Florida's offerings were BOTH gluten free, so the stand was completely uncontaminated.
2.) Australia's grilled lamb chop with mint pesto. The potato crunchies were salt and vinegar flavored, and the vinegar was malt vinegar, so I had to leave those off. But the chop was perfectly cooked and the pesto was to die for.
3.) Florida's shrimp ceviche with the fried plaintain and roasted tomatoes. Spicy and cold, this ceviche was perfect for a hot day.

The protocol appeared to be different for each booth when dealing with a food allergy. At first, the booth workers said every time that I ordered anything, I had to wait until they called the chef and had him come over. The first time this happened, the chef told me to simply ask for the ingredients binder at each stand, and the allergens are listed at the top of the page. At a few stands, this was fine. But a couple of stands insisted on having the chef called each time, and he was always at a different stand, so I had to wait for him. I dealt with a very rude worker at South Africa (of course, I told Guest Relations and they were very apologetic and said they would deal with it) who treated my allergy like a major inconvenience. This was at the soft opening, so I understand that they were still working out the kinks.

Every other stand, however, was wonderful. They treated me with respect and clearly just wanted to make sure I didn't get sick. The binders were very useful, and often, I would check the binder to just make sure I could order anything at all.

Other gluten free items sampled included:
-New Zealand's seared scallop, which was tasty but nothing special
-Singapore's beef rendang, which was very flavorful but a little too spicy for a super hot day
-Australia's shrimp on the barbie, which was excellent

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