2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
September 30 - November 13, 2011

Discovery of Chocolate

Sunday, October 9, 2011
6:30 p.m.
Festival Center

Review by Coleen Bolton
AllEars® Guest Columnist

Discovery of ChocolateHi, my name is Coleen and I am a chocoholic!

When Disney announced the new Discovery of Chocolate program for this year's Food and Wine Festival I was so excited! All three dates sold out quickly, but I was lucky enough to get a spot in the very first one. The price was $70, which I thought was a little steep, especially since the description of the event was a bit vague, but I figured, "It's chocolate! How could it be bad?"

This seminar is being held in the Festival Center. Waiting on our table when we arrived was a plate with four small cups filled with different chocolate drops, a glass of red wine, and a shot of cherry chocolate liqueur. The room smelled like chocolate, and it was so tempting to just pop some of the chocolate into my mouth. 

The Master Chocolatier for our October 9 session was Jean Pierre Wybauw. It was a 90-minute seminar, and more than half of that time was spent explaining how chocolate is harvested and ends up as a finished product. Jean Pierre also talked about cooking with chocolate. I really felt too much time was spent on all this talking when we were here for tasting. My guess is that most guests were fellow chocoholics and already knew enough about where chocolate comes from.

We finally got to the chocolate on our table. Each cup had chocolate with a different percentage of cacao. There was a 40 percent chocolate, which was milk chocolate. The 64 percent, which was my favorite, was classified as "extra bittersweet." The other two cups were considered dark chocolate, one with 72 percent and the other 75 percent. It was suggested that we sip the wine, a Sterling Meritage, while tasting those latter two. I didn't find anything special about that pairing, or the chocolate in general.

Discovery of Chocolate
Discovery of Chocolate

Then it was finally time for Jean Pierre to cook something. The idea was that we would get a savory dish and a sweet dish, both made with chocolate. The savory dish was chicken with a healthy oriental chocolate sauce. Jean Pierre explained that he was using a product called Mycryo, which is cocoa butter in a powder form. It sounds like a neat product, but as of now it is only available to chefs. The chicken was good, but nothing that unique.

The sweet dish was Orange Mousse, and I have to admit I was very disappointed. I was really hoping for an amazing chocolate dessert. To me, mousse is generic and very underwhelming, especially with the $70 price tag on this event. To make things worse the mousse we were served was not made correctly. We had just watched Jean Pierre make this recipe live and listened to him explain how to do it right, so it was clear that ours wasn't made the right way. When Jean Pierre saw what we were served he seemed upset and was quick to say that obviously he didn't make what we were being served. He then showed us his version alongside the one we had and they didn't even look close to being the same thing. I just assumed that the guest chef was the one who would have made or at least supervised what were being served.

Discovery of Chocolate
Discovery of Chocolate

We were supposed to pair the "crave" chocolate cherry liqueur with the mousse, but since the mousse wasn't that good I didn't think too much of the liqueur. I am not a big fan of chocolate-covered cherries either, though.

Personally I was expecting more tasting of chocolate, such as comparing chocolates from other countries or something really unique. I was also hoping for some more unusual pairings with chocolate as well. 

Hopefully Disney will improve on this for the next two dates.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Do you disagree? Or did you feel the same? We'd love to hear your thoughts on The Discovery of Chocolate if you attended -- please leave your comments on our Food and Wine Festival Rate and Review page HERE.

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Epcot's 16th Annual International Food and Wine Festival runs daily through November 13, 2011. Admission to the festival is included with your park admission, but there are several dining events that are an additional charge. To make reservations for events such as Party for the Senses, contact 407-WDW-FEST. Some reservations can also be made online. Visit Disney's official site at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine

For additional coverage of this year's Food and Wine Festival, be sure to visit our friends over at the Disney Food Blog.