A Guide To The Best Food At Epcot's Festival Of The Holidays

Potato pancake on white plate
Potato pancake on white plate - Robyn Song/Tasting Table

If there's one park foodies flock to at Walt Disney World, it's Epcot. The beloved destination opened its doors in 1982 with nine pavilions, each showcasing a different country's architecture, culture, and food. Should you pop by in the spring, you can catch its Food & Wine Festival, famously attended by Julia Child. But during the winter months, it's all about the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. The event, held from November 24 to December 30 this year, is home to some of the biggest draws at Disney, from a nightly, celebrity-narrated Candle Processional to a newly-debuted fireworks show called Luminous: The Story of Us.

In between storytelling sessions, visits with Santa, and Epcot's Festival of the Holidays cocktail offerings, guests can choose from a wide array of globally-inspired culinary creations. The 2023 Festival of the Holidays features myriad menu options to suit just about anyone's tastes, and the marvelous mains are worth writing home about. Disney fans can expect some comeback courses at this year's event, such as the Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl from Bavaria Kitchen. Of course, there are also new entrees available, like a tamale de barbacoa by Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen.

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, Tasting Table tested all of these tried-and-true dishes and more. After making our way around the world at Epcot, we're excited to share our favorite main courses from the 2023 International Festival of the Holidays with you.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

Bavaria Holiday Kitchen: Cheese Fondue In A Bread Bowl

Cheese fondue in bread bowl
Cheese fondue in bread bowl - Robyn Song/Tasting Table

Many of us can agree that the only thing better than a giant hunk of cheese is a giant melted hunk of cheese, and fondue is one of the fanciest ways to enjoy this indulgent treat. At Epcot's International Festival of the Holidays, you can even squeeze a healthy serving of vegetables into the 1970s favorite by ordering the Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl from Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, part of the park's Germany Pavilion.

This filling creation features a massive bread bowl as its centerpiece, flanked by freshly steamed baby vegetables, marble potatoes, and an extra fluffy wedge of bread. Our eyes lit up as soon as we saw it, and our stomachs were equally pleased. The gooey cheese fondue has hints of Swiss and Gruyére, and its velvety consistency means you'll never need to double dip. It's hard to choose which piece of pint-sized produce to dip first, but each one tastes exceptional under a warm blanket of fondue. Best of all, its edible fondue pot serves as an extra satiating snack once you've used all your options.

Char & Chop: Grilled Impossible Spicy Sausage

Sausage and white sauce in a paper bowl
Sausage and white sauce in a paper bowl - Robyn Song/Tasting Table

We love it when a vegetarian dish steals the thunder on an omnivorous menu, and a grilled, spicy Impossible sausage from Char & Chop did so with ease. At first glance, the savory plate's grill-singed links are indistinguishable from the real thing, and truthfully? They taste pretty close, too. In fact, our meat-eating taste testers preferred this vegetarian main over some of the carnivorous fare we sampled at Epcot's Festival of the Holidays.

But the smoky flavor of the Impossible spicy sausage isn't the only reason why you'll keep going back for more of this dish. There's also a silken bed of herbed polenta, roast vegetables, and ample amounts of puttanesca sauce, replete with kalamata olives. Everyone in our party who tried it agreed: The Grilled Impossible Spicy Sausage is one of the best bites around at Epcot's International Festival of the Holidays.

The smoky plant-based protein is tasty enough on its own, but the spicy puttanesca paired with creamy polenta and ricotta make this plate truly unforgettable. While we had more than our share of mains during our day at Epcot, we were happy to make room for second servings of this dish. Find it at the Char & Chop booth in the World Showcase Plaza, where you can round out the meal with a glass of GoGo Birdie Pinot Noir.

Char & Chop: Roasted Porchetta

Lettuce atop white meat
Lettuce atop white meat - Robyn Song/Tasting Table

While the Grilled Impossible Spicy Sausage has our heart, there's another mouthwatering menu item to try at Epcot hotspot Char & Chop. Whether you're looking for a low-carb meal at Disney or some extra greens with your protein, the Roasted Porchetta from this multifaceted marketplace booth has you covered. Char & Chop is a newly established booth at the 2023 Festival of the Holidays, and its innovative offerings will satisfy everyone in your crew.

If you love baked pork chops, you won't want to miss the succulent roasted porchetta from Char & Chop. Underneath a verdant arrangement of fennel and arugula lies a thick slice of roast pork glazed in a bright, herby marinade. The slow-cooked meat is juicy and bursting with flavor, thanks to a hit of pleasant acidity from the accompanying lemon-parsley salsa verde sauce. Try it with Char & Chop's beer flight, a trio of brews from California, Florida, and Germany -- or, if you're feeling adventurous, alongside the booth's barbecue-infused Bloody Mary.

Las Posadas: Tamale De Barbacoa

Corn husk with brown sauce
Corn husk with brown sauce - Robyn Song/Tasting Table

According to many Epcot enthusiasts, the menu at Las Posadas is one of the highlights of this year's Festival of the Holidays. The Mexican-inspired marketplace serves up some must-try cocktails at Walt Disney World, like its horchata margarita, as well as scrumptious snacks and mains. At Las Posadas, dulce de leche churros are the talk of the town amongst Disney's dessert devotees, but the tamale de barbacoa is a stellar selection with a fan club of its own.

This colorful entree is a feast for the eyes -- and a treat for barbecue enthusiasts. Wrapped in a warm, sunny corn husk, the tamale de barbacoa is layered with chocolatey mole negro, crumbled queso cotija, and ribbons of pink pickled onion. Cutting into it reveals a heart of tender corn masa stuffed with finely shredded barbacoa beef that's seasoned to perfection. Upon giving it a taste, we quickly realized why Las Posadas is garnering rave reviews this season at Epcot.

Before you bid farewell to the fan-favorite booth, be sure to sample one of its seasonal drinks. Beyond the horchata margarita and blackcurrant-infused Holiday Cerveza, guests are also raving about its apple margarita, finished with fluffy whipped cream and flavored salt.

Tuscany Holiday Kitchen: Montanara

Red sauce on fried dough
Red sauce on fried dough - Robyn Song / Tasting Table

Ask anyone who's ever visited an Italian street festival what the most popular food stall is dishing out, and you'll likely hear one response: pizza fritta or fried dough. Few foods can beat the taste of hot, freshly fried dough laced with copious amounts of powdered sugar, but a saucy montanara comes close. Take pizza fritta and replace its sugar with sauce and cheese, and you have the montanara, the deep-fried cousin of Neapolitan pizza. If you're eager to give this exciting dish a try, you're in luck. At this year's International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot, you can pick up a plate from the park's Tuscany Holiday Kitchen.

As longtime fans of pizza fritta, we couldn't wait to tuck into Tuscany Holiday Kitchen's take on montanara. An entire slab of fried dough can be hard to handle, and the bite-size pieces found in Disney's version were a welcome change of pace. Each fluffy portion of pie is better than the last, with a crispy, golden crust smothered in tomato sauce and sprinkled cheese. For an added dose of deliciousness from Tuscany Holiday Kitchen, wash it down with a cool Italian margarita made with tequila and limoncello.

L'Chaim!: Potato Latkes

Potato pancakes with white sauce
Potato pancakes with white sauce - Robyn Song / Tasting Table

During Epcot's International Festival of the Holidays, guests can learn about cultural events celebrated across the globe, including Hanukkah. The Jewish holiday honors the Miracle of Hanukkah, in which one day's worth of oil lit a Temple Menorah for an astonishing eight days. Many traditional foods pay tribute to the Temple's oil, but golden-fried potato latkes are among the most beloved Hanukkah treats.

At L'Chaim! Holiday Kitchen, the filling fritters are available plain — suitable for vegetarian guests — or topped with a savory serving of smoked salmon. Each potato pancake is deep-fried to a gorgeous golden brown and draped in a creamy dill sauce. We tested both versions of this timeless recipe, though the salmon won us over in the end. The combination of crispy potato shreds, tender salmon, and briny, bursting capers must be tasted to be believed. Still, park-goers would be wise to save room for dessert: L'Chaim! Holiday Kitchen's black-and-white Festival of the Holidays Cookie Stroll entry earned top scores at this year's event.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.