The liquid nitro chocolate-almond truffle with whiskey caramel stole the show Thursday night.
About 1,500 journalists from around the country were invited to a sneak peak of the 20th annual Food & Wine Festival at Disney World’s Epcot International park to kick off the Excellence in Journalism conference in Orlando. The festival showcased food and spirits from around the world, but the truffles seemed to gather the most attention.
“You know how on ‘Chopped,’ when the judges say it has the perfect texture, I now know what they mean,” said Kaitlin Dain of Lubbock, Texas. “I don’t like caramel and I usually don’t like this much chocolate, but all this mixed together with the salt and the crunchy stuff — phenomenal.”
Chefs dip a scoop of chocolate mousse into liquid nitrogen to instantly freeze the creamy treat into ice cream. Warm whiskey caramel sauce is poured over the top, equalizing the temperature, and a candied almond mixture tops off the sweet and salty science experiment.
Elizabeth Donald, president of the St. Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, sent several photos of the dessert back home to her husband, who couldn’t make it to the conference but proposed to Donald two years ago on the steps of the Magic Kingdom.
“It’s amazing,” Donald said of the truffle. “It’s a very nice combination.”
Other favorites from the festival included collared greens and a hamburger slider topped with a hotdog slice and cheese dip. As for the drinks, hard pumpkin cider from California and a sparkling wine from Chile were some of the crowd favorites.
EIJ participants got a sneak peak Thursday of the food and wine festival that begins Sept. 25 and lasts 53 days, Epcot Vice President Melissa Valiquette said.
“The idea is that you’re going to get a sampling of everything the festival has to offer,” said Valiquette, who’s favorite dish was also the chocolate truffle. “You can eat all around the world without having to travel all around the world.”
A firework, laser light and pyrotechnics show lit up the night sky after the food and wine tasting. Admission to the festival was offered to EIJ attendees free of charge.
“These are people who travel the world and report on the best things all around the world,” Valiquette said. “And we’re certainly proud of what we have to offer.”