REVIEW: Five New Food Studios Debut for 2018 Festival of the Arts

With the expansion this year to a daily event, Disney has added new Food Studios to the festival. We made it around World Showcase recently to try all of the new offerings. To jump to a specific Food Studio, click on the name below:

The Painted Panda

The Painted Panda is located in the China pavilion and is brand new to the 2018 Festival of the Arts.

Coconut Panda Rice Cake – $5.00

Beyond the cute presentation, you’ll find a sweet taste to the rice and a hint of coconut. While $5.00 is a bit much to ask for something that amounts to just formed rice, I think that the presentation and pleasant, sweet taste makes this a fun couple of bites.

Crispy Fried Shrimp – $8.50

Served in a Wonton Lotus Flower

The only dish with some real substance, the crispy fried shrimp were a nice offering. A bit of a kick is provided by a sweet chili sauce and having such a large wonton allowed for a bit of dipping at the end with extra sauce. At $8.50, I’d want more shrimp to justify buying it again.

Crystal Mooncake – $9.75

Served with Fruit Filling and garnished with Toasted Coconut

While this dessert is pretty, it proved to be quite bland and unenjoyable.

A frustratingly chewy exterior gave way to a bland bit of fruit that really didn’t provide a discernible taste.

We’d suggest passing on this dish.

Scarlet Blossom – $9.50

A cooler of Mango Wine, Strawberry Syrup and Ginger Ale

A nice, refreshing drink. Not too overly dominated by strawberry and the amount of wine poured made it a decent value.

Fortune Cookie – $10.50

ByeJoe Dragon Fire, Amaretto, Coconut and Pineapple

This is one of our top two drinks of the festival (wait for the offering from France below). The Amaretto is the prevailing taste here, but complemented very nicely by the coconut and a little bit less intensely by the pineapple. We definitely recommend this drink and will be back to enjoy it again as the festival continues.

Strawberry Bubble Tea – $6.95

Strawberry Bubble Tea, Assam Black Tea, and Milk

While I didn’t like this one as much as the others in our group, it ended up growing on me with a few sips. Mainly milk as far as texture is concerned, the strawberry showed up on a few sips. The firm boba at the bottom was a bit of an unwelcome surprise. I’d spend my money on the Fortune Cookie above though upon returning.

L’Art di Mangiare

A brand new Food Kiosk debuted this year in the Italy pavilion.

Involtini di Salmone al Basilico, Piso Venere, Salsa Romesco – $12.00

Basil-scented Salmon Roulade, Purple Rice, and Romesco Sauce

Maybe the most overpriced item of the festival can be found here. The salmon was overcooked and dry. The only redeeming factor was the romesco sauce, which paired nicely with the salmon. I would save your money for two other dishes for the price of this one offering.

Sformato di Melanzane e Pomodori, Mozzarella Fior di Latte – $9.00

Tomato and Eggplant Terrine, Fior di Latte Mozzarella

A bland offering that wasn’t worth anywhere near the $9.00 tendered. After you make your way past the flavorless eggplant, you’re met with an abundance of diced tomatoes. Neither the tomatoes or mozzarella perched atop the dish save it from earning a pass from us.

Crema Fritta, Pesche e Rucola Pesto, Ciliege di Amarasca – $7.00

Cream Fritters, Peach, and Arugula Pesto with Amarena Cherries

This was the winner of the new kiosk, by far. Served warm and loaded with cream, the Crema Fritta was a pleasant dessert that had a vanilla custard taste.

Takumi Table

Located in Japan, this is a new food studio for the 2018 Festival of the Arts at Epcot.

Chirashi Sushi and Haupia Pearl – $7.50

Salmon, Tuna and Yuzu Miso with Coconut tapioca Pudding

A nicely constructed single sushi roll presented a few different flavors as we combined the salmon and tuna in our bite. The roll sitting atop the slices of orange was the nice surprise as the citrus flavor permeated the rice. The coconut tapioca pudding was enjoyable, but I’d want a second roll to justify the $7.50 asking price, even at an Epcot festival.

Taiyaki Dessert – $4.50

Japanese Stuffed Pastry, Sweet Red Bean Filling, Sesame Cream, and Raspberry Sauce

The majority opinion on this dessert was a pass. I thought it had some redeeming features such as the raspberry sauce and the red bean filling was nice in moderation. I started to lose enjoyment with too much sweet red bean filling that had too much of a traditional bean texture and a lack of sweetness to make up for it.

Masu Sake in a Personalized Wooden Cup – $10.00

More of a souvenir than an actual item to review, this was a standard offering of sake. While the sake standard, I would say that the pour was well above average. The box is a pretty decent size, and you’ll get a large ladle full of sake.

So, on to the souvenir part. Each box is personalized by a Cast Member working the register. After your purchase, they will use a sharpie to write your name on the box. I had asked to have “Mike” written on the box and while some of the characters were close, it wasn’t a perfect translation. That said, this is a fun souvenir that we expect will do well throughout the festival.

Calpico Yogurt Strawberry Swirl Sake – $6.50

An enjoyable frozen sake that ended up being closer to a Pina-Colava in taste than a traditional sake. It was wonderfully refreshing and the frozen delivery will be appreciated as Orlando should be ending its few weeks of “winter” soon.

Mosaic Canteen

A brand new food kiosk located in Morocco during the 2018 Festival of the Arts at Epcot.

Spiced Beef – $9.00

Pine Nuts, Dried Cherries, Hummus, and Pita Chips

When the beef is dry, the rest really doesn’t matter. We attempted to use the layer of hummus to save the dish, but your money is better spent on another dish at this food studio.

Mediterranean Flat Bread – $8.00

Zaatar, Olive Oil Artichoke, Olives, Mozzarella, and Feta Cheese

Definitely the winner of the kiosk in my opinion. With a delicious and soft base bread, you’ll find a burst of flavor in every bite. Every element complimented the next in a way that made the flat bread enjoyable to me, despite my distaste for some elements on their own. We can recommend this dish.

Chebbakia – $7.00

Hand-twisted Strips of fried Dough coated with Honey, Rosewater, and Sesame Seeds

The key flavor of this dish, beyond the fried dough, is the honey. A nice dessert if you’re looking for one near Morocco.

Embrace the Arak – $8.00

Massaya Arak, Orange Juice, and Grenadine

This was a drink that I don’t think I’ll ever have again. Massaya Arak is described as something that will “clean the palate and aids digestion”. There is no doubt that this is a strong enough drink to aid digestion. An off putting flavor that I can only describe as medicinal couldn’t possibly be saved by enough Orange Juice or Grenadine, of which there was little to none.

L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise

A new food studio for the 2018 Festival of the Arts that can be found in France.

Rillettes du Mans, Cornichons, Carre du Boulanger – $8.75

House-made Pork Rillettes, Cornichons, and House-Made Bread

In what can only be described as a mistake, we ordered this with interest and anticipation. I’m not sure what part of a can screams “house-made”, but here we are.

The rillettes are what killed the dish for me, ending up somewhere between cat food and tuna as far as taste is concerned. The jelly on top didn’t do much for me, earning this dish a pass.

Saumon en Croute Facon Paul Bocuse – $10.00

Salmon in a Puff Pastry Crust Paul Bocuse-style with Spinach and Buerre Blanc Sauce

Probably one of the items we were most excited about, photography-wise. With salmon being the most overused item of the festival, we found this to be our favorite use of it. Skip the other salmon plates.

We really loved the shaping of the pastry into a fish, and were pleasantly surprised to find a rich flavor in the pastry as well. The salmon inside was fresh and moist. Our favorite dish from the new food studio.

Le Coucher de Soleil – $6.75

Sunset Mango and Raspberry Cake

A refreshing, light dish that had a subtle flavor of mango. Not much raspberry came through for us, but an enjoyable few bites nonetheless.

Frose – $11.00

Frozen Cotes de Provence Rose Wine with Grey Goose Vodka and Peach Puree

France has a monopoly on the Frose. It’s always perfectly made, with the right amount of puree to make it refreshing and the right amount of alcohol to justify the price. A favorite from other Epcot festivals hits the mark at Festival of the Arts as well.

Mike is the owner and writer for Visiting the parks daily allows him to keep up with the latest Disney news, reviews, and photos from around the Disney Parks. You can reach him at [email protected]

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