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First look at 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Fest

Five things to know (already) about the upcoming Epcot food fest

The 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is more than two months away, but Disney has been releasing taste-bud-tempting details. The latest news comes out of a preview for Tables in Wonderland participants.

Menus and other factors are still being finalized and fine-tuned, but here are five Food & Wine things we learned over the weekend.

1. The Dominican Republic is back and moving into the space where the Puerto Rico marketplace was last year – that transitional area between World Showcase and Future World. On the menu will be seared grouper in coconut sauce, mangu (mashed plantains), yucca souffle and pineapple flan. Nearby –- sort of along the “shortcut” to the Canada side of World Showcase -- will be the set-ups for “The Chew” and the Cheese Station.

2. For the first time, the festival will have its own wine for sale. The bottle (Chardonnay and Cabernet) comes with a special cork with 20th anniversary imprint on it, but it also will be available by the glass.

3. Some food related to ABC’s “The Chew” will be created from recipes provided by the show, but reimagined big enough to serve the festival masses. A ricotta and zucchini ravioli recipe was shared by Chef Mario Batali. “Now I have to make 2,000 raviliolis a day. But that’s OK,” said Epcot chef de cuisine Michael Deardoff. “It’s a really unique recipe, and it’s actually going to be a lot of fun.” (The Frozen Chew-tini got raves at our table. It's organic lemon vodka [who knew?], carrot mango juice and citrus sour mix.)

4. The extra-ticket Party for the Senses will be each Saturday in October, culminating with a Halloween-themed event on Oct. 31. The so-called Yelloween Masquerade party will encourage this “stylish and charming” dress code: yellow and black. A new event will be the Rockin’ Burger Block Party (Sept. 25, Oct. 8, Nov. 6). Tickets range between $99 and $199 for this new entry, and the Oct. 8 date will include “The Chew” personalities as hosts.

5. Of course, there’s 20th anniversary merchandise in the mix. It’s kinda retro, and the logo even appears on those trash-can-themed salt and pepper shakers. Among the characters on the event pins will include Remy, Stitch and … wait for it, wait for it … the Swedish Chef.

Bonus fact: There will be 20 new food items and 20 new beverages at this year’s fest, which is marking its 20th year. The 2015 edition runs from Sept. 25 to Nov. 16.

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