Spring Break is approaching quickly, and hopefully some of you will find yourself spending some time at the happiest place on earth. I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend attending an event held at Walt Disney World, so I did some "research" for you. Pastry research. I'm going to share with you my Epcot mission: To taste as many pastries as possible "around the world" in Epcot's World Showcase. One day. Eleven Countries. Countless treats. Pack your stretchy pants, friends.
Obviously, I had to commemorate my trip with the obligatory souvenir cookbook. A Taste of Epcot seemed the perfect choice.
Tips for surviving a one-day pastry crawl through Epcot's World Showcase:
1. Pace yourself. (i.e. Don't start at Norway or France. You'll fill up too quickly!)
2. Find a friend to share with. (My conference roomate, Lynda from Southern Kissed helped me out!)
3. Take a break for some protein. (This is where a turkey leg becomes essential.)
4. Leave your guilt at home. You'll do enough walking to burn the calories anyway, but you're on vacation after all. There's no place for carb guilt in the most magical place on earth.
Kitchen Joy's Epcot Pastry Crawl
I'll start by saying that this list is in no way exhaustive. There are so many great things to sample at Epcot, but these are the ones that made the cut for me. Given my limited time frame, I was happy with my selections. Next time I will add to my list, I'm sure. For now, these are my picks.
First thing first. Grab a map. You're going to work your way through the World Showcase counter-clockwise.
1. Croissant Doughnuts (Cronuts) at the Refreshment Port. (A small "hut" before you reach Canada.) The Refreshment Port opened at 11am the day we were there. Let me tell you, Cronuts are a GREAT way to start a day in Disney.
2. Maple Candy in Canada. I know this isn't a pastry, but it is a very tasty treat and makes a nice souvenir to bring home for your maple-loving husband. Available at the Northwest Merchantile in Canada.
3. Tea and British Candy at Twinings Tea in the United Kingdom. This charming little tea cottage has countless bags of tea and imported candies to satisfy your cravings. I didn't end up finding any pastries in the United Kingdom that jumped out at me, but I was sort of hoping for a really great crumpet. Maybe they're there, but I missed them? Until then, I'll just keep making my own.
4. Raspberry Lime Macaron and Napoleon at Les Halles in France.
The raspberry and lime make this macaron a great and refreshing treat for a hot day. The lime pastry cream brings a perfect hint of tartness without being too rich.
The Napoleons at Les Halles are great. Not too sweet, not too rich. Just right.
5. Brioche Glacé at L'Artisan des Glacés in France. OH. MY. GOODNESS. This is one of the most wonderfully weird treats ever. One might not think that a warm brioche roll filled with artisan vanilla bean ice cream makes any sense, but it works in the most spectacular way. Plus their ice cream is out of this world. (I like it much better than the gelato in the Italy pavillion.) Possibly my favorite bites of the entire day.
5. Funnel Cakes and a Turkey Leg in America. Funnel cakes are always delicious, but especially when they have a Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake. Confession: I was too full to eat one. I opted for the turkey leg. I was wilting from all of the sweets. Pastry marathons aren't easy!
6. Cannoli in the Italy Pavillion. Very tasty. The shell was dipped in chocolate, which I never had in the real Italy, but it was good. The filling had candied orange peel in it just like the real thing. (Although my favorite Cannoli are still my homemade version. No candied citrus involved.)
After spending so much time at the real Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Venice, it was fun to see a mini version in the Italy Pavillion.
7. Pork Buns in China. A savory pastry was the perfect break from all of the sweet deliciousness that France had to offer. The filling was savory, but slightly sweet. Very tasty. My only criticism was the high ratio of bread to filling. I would have preferred if the bread would have been a bit thinner and less dry. Good flavors though!
8. Schoolbread at Kringla Bakeri in Norway. Possibly the best $2.99 you will spend all day. Wonderful flavors, toasty coconut topping, and sweet cream filling. My recommendation: Sit down and rest your feet for a little while and let the bread come to room temperature a bit before enjoying. Schoolbread is kept refrigerated, so letting it warm up a bit will soften up the chilled bread a bit. It's delicious either way though. I must try making my own version. There are many more fantastic options to enjoy at Kringla. Next time I will save room for many more of their offerings.
9. BONUS Side Trip: Head over to the Magic Kingdom once you've finished up at Epcot. (They're usually open later anyway.) Grab a Nutella and Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow, then find a place to enjoy the parade and fireworks. It was love at first bite.
And they all lived happily ever after...
P.S. You can see lots more photos of my adventures on my Instagram. I'd love it if you followed me!