by Angie Carreiro
As loyal followers of the Fish Are Friends, Not Food blog, or Box People might already know, Lou, Christy, Beci, and Tony visited Terra Marketplace at the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival over the WDW Radio e-ticket weekend. None of them are vegan, so, as a vegan I was interested in what they thought of the food, if they would eat it again, and if they learned anything!
I’m excited to share with you an interview with the gang on their experience at Terra Marketplace! So, here we go:
Lou– In a word – enlightening! I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the offerings there! The flavors were rich and the texture and consistency of the items was not what I had expected
Christy– It was a happy surprise. I am a notoriously picky eater (I ordered children’s chicken nuggets when eating lunch with Lou and Tony at Morocco earlier that weekend.) I also have never been much of a vegetable eater. I had stopped by Terra earlier in the trip to take pictures and was very surprised to see “meat” options listed—Assumption #1 about being vegan (it’s always veggies) ended there.
Beci– I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the food was as well as the variety of flavors offered on the Terra menu.
Tony– I enjoyed my experience at Terra Marketplace. I always enjoy trying new things, especially where food is involved.
What was your favorite food option at Terra Marketplace?
Lou- The meatless sirloin tips were so good I almost didn’t realize they weren’t beef! But, the curry sauce and the texture of the trickn’ chick’n is something i will definitely return to enjoy again
Christy– You know, I really enjoyed them all equally. I think my surprise at liking them was the dominant emotion.
Beci– I really enjoyed the Chilli Colorado with Beefless Tips and the Chocolate cake with passion fruit. (its chocolate!)
Tony– I would have to say that I probably enjoyed the “beefless beef” (for lack of a better term) the best. The sauce and accompaniments were all very tasty.
Was there anything about the Gardein fake meats that turned you off?
Lou- Not turned off, but the soy smoothie wasn’t my favorite. Not because of the taste, but it was an exceptionally hot day and the consistency was a bit thick and not as cold as I would have liked. It’s more about the weather than the item itself. I’ll try it again later during the Festival.
Christy– The only thing I can say is there did appear to be a lot of the sauces on them, though that was not about the “meat” itself. Both dishes has a consistency and texture that was close to the “real thing.” As Lou had commented, I probably would not have realized a difference if I didn’t KNOW I was at a vegan pavilion. (Assumption #2: If it is “fake meat”– it must be mealy or grainy—ended as well). I think we were all on the alert to find something “different” because we knew it was the vegan pavilion.
Beci– The Chick’n Curry was ok. The consistency was a little off… Not bad, just not great. However the beefless tips were surprisingly yummy in terms of consistency and flavor.
Tony– Both of the Gardein ‘meats’ were quite tasty.
Besides the obvious Babycakes treats, was this the first time you ever tried food intentionally made to be vegan? If you’ve tried vegan options before how did it compare to the food at Terra Marketplace?
Lou- No, I have tried other items before, but were not as tasty, moist and well-prepared as these
Christy– I have not (though I did bring home a bag of the barbeque chips you mentioned in one blog so I could try them!! )
Beci– Never tried Vegan options before because you always think of bland… or tofu .. or vegies. But this experience opened my eyes to the possibilities.
Tony- I rarely eat vegan specific cooking, either at home or at a restaurant, but i do enjoy it as an option, for reasons of healthful eating more than anything else.
After taste-testing a vegan meal, would you order a vegan option off of a menu if there were also meat options available?
Lou- Yes. Dare I say this made a believer out of me!?
Christy– I would. One thing I found interesting was that the pavilion did not advertise itself as vegan. I’m sure those who are vegan would know, but for those who are NOT vegan, the pavilion might open minds to an alternative.
Beci– Good question. I guess it would depend on the choices and price but I might consider it.
Tony– I would certainly consider ordering a vegan entree of of any menu, but I would base the choice more upon what was being offered, and my interest in the preparation/ingredients, more than the fact that it was a vegan option.
Do you wish Terra Marketplace would have offered a different type of vegan dish? If so, what?
Christy– I am a huge pasta fan, so I would have enjoyed something like that. If seemed the emphasis of the pavilion was to showcase meatless meat, but I would have been open to a vegan meal that was more what I assumed to be “vegan meals” (i.e. meatless).
Beci– After trying the options they presented, I would like to see what other dishes can meet the level they provided with the meatless tips.
Tony– I am a HUGE fan of all things veggie, (contrary to popular belief, I suppose) and I would have enjoyed more options at Terra. I am not sure exactly WHAT I would request, but I am always open to epicurean exploration and trying new things!
What advice would you have for a non-vegan about vegan food?
Lou- Don’t be afraid – I believe in trying everything once and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Christy– Similar to what I tell my children (though sadly don’t always practice myself): You never know if you don’t like it until you try! And put your personal assumptions about vegan food aside. As you have pointed out eloquently, Angie, most of us have been “accidentally vegan” many times already, so it’s not like you haven’t eaten vegan before.
Beci– Epcot Food & Wine is a great opportunity to give it a try! Just a few bites without committing to a full sized entree
Tony– I would honestly tell non-vegans to give it a try, I really did enjoy the options at Terra and was pleasantly surprised with everything they offered. If only to step into the shoes of another, I think it is worth opening yourself up to new and different experiences.
Lou, as a food lover, did you love this food?
—Yes! I’ll be back… oh yes… I will be back!!
Christy, you have a knack for details, what were the lines like at Terra Marketplace compared to the other food booths at Food and Wine? If there was a long line, do you think the vegan food from Terra Marketplace is worth the wait?
—Each time I walked past Terra, there was a decent sized line which moved very efficiently. When we went with Lou, Tony, and Beci, it was only noon so the world Showcase had just gotten going, but we still waited about 5 minutes. At busier times over the weekend, the line was longer, though truthfully not as long as some other pavilions (there were some truly ridiculously long lines!!)
Beci, do you have a lot of people booking through MEI/Mouse fan Travel looking for vegan options in WDW? Would you recommend traveling to Food and Wine, specifically to try Terra Marketplace if it is still offered next year?
— Vegan is a choice that has become more popular over the years, and we do see more clients asking about vegan options on the restaurant menus. Disney does a wonderful job accommodating dietary needs and choices which makes it the perfect vacation destination for anyone, Of course, for anyone who enjoys celebrating food and drink, Epcot Food & Wine is a must do.
— I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor that it was the first time Lou fed or attempted to feed me. More than anything, I think it was Lou’s way of making sure I only got my fair share of the food samples…no more, no less. (He is NOT a good food sharer).
Angie has been a WDW addict since her first visit at age 8, and since then her life has never been the same! She lives in upstate NY with her boyfriend, Kevin (fellow Disney lover), and their 3 dogs, Flip, Josie, and Hildy, where she works at Farm Sanctuary as an animal caregiver. Please join Angie every week in “Fish Are Friends, Not Food: Eating Vegan in WDW!” Angie believes that WDW is the most magical place for people with special diets, so, should you have any special diet questions (especially about vegan and gluten-free dining) she’d be happy to help!