Last year we were invited by Ocean Spray to get into their Cranberry Bog, a feature of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival since 2011. We had a great time at the event, and were excited to be able to return!
This year’s menu offered several more food options featuring Ocean Spray Cranberries, with many items reinvented and others completely new. To keep with Epcot’s theme, the menu was inspired by six countries: Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, and United States. We were given a passport and could have it stamped at each of the tables as we sampled the food.
2013 Reception Menu
Craisin Glazed Pork Belly with White Cheddar Grits
This is one of my favorite dishes served during the reception. The grits were wonderfully cheesy, and the pork belly melted away. I loved the sweet pairing of the Craisins with the pork! (Secret: It may have beaten Brazil’s in a taste-off! ;))
Cranberry & Sea Salt Cured Wild Salmon with Maple Sugar Crystals
While I may not be a fan of cooked salmon, I do enjoy it if it has been smoked or cured. These bites were delicate and slightly sweet. I love the pop of color from the flower!
Artisan Cheese Stuffed Mini Craisin Brioche
Craisin, Bacon and Brie Potato Gratin
I don’t think there’s a single thing about this dish I didn’t like. I enjoyed how the sweetness of the Craisins mingled with the bolder flavors of the bacon and brie. I’ll certainly consider the addition of Craisins in gratin at home!
Craisin Infused Five Spice Char Kobe Beef with Sriracha
The beef was tender with just a little bit of heat – nothing overpowering. It was an interesting combination that I wouldn’t mind experimenting with at home.
Craisin Vegetable Fried Rice
This was an unexpected addition to traditional fried rice, but we found it rather addicting!
Pulled Chicken Craisin Tamales
These reminded me almost of leftovers from Thanksgiving, with the masa replacing mashed potatoes as the carb. Quite good, but the tamale was sizeable for a sample. I had to stop eating so I could try the other foods.
Mole Shrimp Quesadilla with Cranberry Salsa
The shrimp quesadillas were perfectly cooked, and I liked the Cranberry Salsa. With many salsas utilizing fruit for a sweet element (peach, pineapple), I liked the heartiness of the cranberry.
English Mustard Dusted Scotch Egg with Cranberry Marmalade
Beef and Craisin Shepherd’s Pie
Beef, potatoes and corn – we both ate this up! It just had that comfort food quality to it.
In order to enjoy the foods of the United States, we had to put on the waders and get into the bog! It was a lot of fun wading around yet again. It always draws a crowd of park guests wondering what’s going on. We were the last group of the night to get in, so we were sad when we had to leave.
Seared Free Range Chicken with Craisin Moonshine Pearls
I’m not big on sweet potatoes, but these were delicious, and I liked the slight tartness of the Craisin Ketchup!
Signature Drink – O Fizz
Lime Juice, Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Champagne, Fresh Cranberries & Mint
We had a fantastic time at this event hosted by Ocean Spray and it was even more inspired than last year. While you can’t get into the bog, be sure to stop by the nearby stand where you can get a free bag of Craisins and learn more about cranberry farming. If you can’t make it to the festival this year, you can learn more about fruit here. I can’t wait to recreate some of this delicious menu at home!
Disclosure: I was invited by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Ocean Spray to attend this media event. The views expressed in this post are my own.