Food: Disney's Longest-Running Festival Is Back And Has 28 Brand New Menu Items

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Disney World's longest-running event, EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, is back for its 29th year! The petal-filled extravaganza, which kicked off March 2 and runs through July 4, is the springtime version of the park's beloved Food & Wine Festival and let us tell you: There's no better way to welcome the return of warm weather.

Disney's EPCOT transforms into a topiary wonderland compete with massive leafy sculptures molded into the colorful shapes of popular characters. With more than 23 topiaries designed by Disney horticulturists, there are more photo opps here than you'll know what to do with. But that's not why we were visiting—the festival-exclusive tastings include over 150 items, with 28 brand-new tastings for 2022. This year's celebration ties with 2021's as the longest running ever at 125 days straight.

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While the Food & Wine festival may grab more headlines, the Flower & Garden festival is a sleeper hit when it comes to the food. But word to the wise: Although festival admission is included in the price of a standard theme park ticket, individual tastings aren 't—which means you can pick and choose what's worth spending money on. Lucky for you, we've rounded up the best of the bunch. Here are the six can 't-miss food and drink items at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.

Best Cocktail: Poppy Flower Margarita, $13.75

margarita © Chelsea Lupkin margarita

Whether you start or end your EPCOT trip in Mexico, you've got to order a marg. We strongly recommend the poppy flower margarita. It has a gorgeous ruby red color thanks to hibiscus flower tea and black currant liqueur. Our favorite part is the chili salt rim, which lands a spicy and salty kick that pairs perfectly with the sweetness from the drink's hibiscus tea and cucumber juice.

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Best Appetizer: Croissant au Fromage de Chèvre, $6.75

croissant © Chelsea Lupkin croissant

The appetizer category is stacked at Flower & Garden, but you would be remiss if you didn't get this croissant in France. The golden, crisp exterior goes perfectly with the sharp goat cheese secreted within. EPCOT chefs were able to shove a lot of goat cheese in the small pastry, so you'll get bold flavor in each bite. On top, an herby, garlicky butter makes this pastry extra luxurious—you will not want to share ot.

Best Meal: Taco Vampiro, $8

taco vampiro © Chelsea Lupkin taco vampiro

This new gluten-free addition wins for "best meal" in our books. The barbacoa beef is juicy and tender, while the crispy grilled Monterey jack cheese that lines the outside of the taco shell will make you order seconds. We didn't need the salsa ranchera because the meat was already so flavorful, but we certainly welcomed it.

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Best Dessert: Beignet Caramélisé, $5.75

beignet caramelise © Chelsea Lupkin beignet caramelise

What could be more French than a beignet with a creme brûléed exterior stuffed with fleur de sel-flecked caramel and vanilla cream? This is almost too pretty to eat—almost being the operative word. This beignet is the size of your fist and packs a crunchy-soft texture combo thanks to the crackly brûlée and pillowy dough. Fair warning: This is a messy dessert, but you will have zero regrets.

Best Budget Item: Coconut Tres Leches, $4.50

tres leches © Chelsea Lupkin tres leches

You have to try the coconut tres leches at La Isla Fresca (between Morocco and France). This plant-based dessert is soaked in oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk instead of the traditional evaporated and condensed milks, making it a great option for dairy-free folks. Because it's made with alt-milks, it's extremely light and airy, which is ideal when you've got over 100 tastings to try.

Best for Sharing: Mediterranean Flatbread, $5.75

flatbread © Chelsea Lupkin flatbread

Wander over to Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina in Morocco for this large and in charge flatbread. Topped with za 'atar, artichokes, olives, mozzarella, and feta cheese, it practically explodes with bold, zesty flavor. Each ingredient complements the next, a.k.a. there are no boring bites. Most festival dishes are designed for one person, but this flatbread could easily feed two hungry festival goers as a meal or four people as a quick appetizer.

Watch season three of Iconic Eats on YouTube now.

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