2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Mexico Tequila Lunch La Hacienda de San Angel
AllEars.Net Team Member
Several other folks and I arrived at the restaurant about 11:45 and were told check-in would begin at noon. Once checked in, each guest was greeted with a delicious and refreshing cucumber margarita. There did not appear to be assigned seating, but each guest was escorted to their seat. Once everyone was seated, our Tequila Ambassador, Hilda, introduced herself, gave a brief history of the origin of tequila and explained how we should taste tequila to get the most enjoyment.
The lunch is four courses paired with a tequila to compliment both the dish and drink. Before the first course was served, Hilda asked that anyone with a food allergy to raise their hand so the chefs could try to accommodate them.
The first tasting was Tequila Milagro Select Barrel Blanco. Before tasting it, Hilda asked us to take one of the lime peels on the table and smell it. She then walked us through the steps of properly tasting the tequila. To my surprise, before taking the first sip, we took a sip of vodka, to cleanse the palate and prepare the taste buds. It actually helped to soften the tequila. We did the same for each tasting. Lime, cinnamon and coffee beans were used to help with the smell sensory for each tasting.
The first course began with a Heart of Palm Salad served with Mache lettuce, baby arugula, roasted pineapple, pine nuts and Mezcal vinaigrette. The salad was light, a bit spicy from the arugula and slightly salty and smoky from the vinaigrette. I'm not a big fan of blanco tequilas, but this one was one of the better ones I have tasted and the salad brought out a hint of the citrus in the tequila.
The second course was my least favorite. Grilled octopus, marinated in ancho paste, served with black mole, butternut squash puree and grilled cactus leaves. This was the second time I have tried grilled octopus and I just do not like it. The butternut squash was very good. This dish was paired with Tequila Casa Noble Cava Select Reposado. I really like the taste of a Reposado tequila and this one was outstanding.
Our main course was beef tenderloin topped with poblano cream sauce, plantain puree and fingerling chips. It was paired with Tequila Ambhar Anejo. The steak was tender and went well with the plantain puree. The fingerling chips were small but the saltiness and crunch went well with the beef. I thought the Anejo also went well with the beef.
While the tables were being cleared and dessert was being brought out, Hilda talked about Mezcal and we had a taste of Mezcal El Senorio Joven. About half the folks liked it and the other half not so much. I did not like the Mezcal. To me it tastes smoky and what I would imagine lighter fluid would taste like.
The dessert course was Mamey Flan, which is a creamy flan atop blackberry coulis garnished with almond dust and paired with Avion Espresso Tequila Liquor. The flan was tasty, but a bit too creamy for me. The tequila was a delicious surprise. It had a nice coffee flavor and actually no hint of a tequila flavor. It went well with dessert.
I have always enjoyed wine and beer pairings and I can now add tequila pairings. I think it is a great way to experience something different. This lunch pairing cost $85 and is offered Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 1:30 p.m.