One of my very favorite things to do is to stroll around Epcot’s World Showcase taking in all of the sights, doing some shopping, and stopping to watch some live entertainment. And this is often enhanced by sampling some food or drink in each country. While the various Festivals held throughout the year make the eating and drinking even more adventurous, the permanent options are pretty fantastic too. One great way to do snack around is to sample desserts and sweet treats from each pavilion and share with your group (so you can make it all the way around without spiking your blood sugar). And remember, the World Showcase is slightly over a mile, so you are walking off some of those calories. Here are my choices for the top desserts in each country.
1. Churro – Mexico
In Mexico for year ‘round goodness I like to go with the classic churro. During the festivals you will find some other delectable desserts in this area so check those out too. But for the basic the churro is always a good bet. You may choose to accompany it with a frozen margarita.
2. School Bread – Norway
Norway is our next stop on our counter-clockwise journey around the world, and the first place I run into a real dilemma about which sweet treat is the best. I really enjoy everything Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (sweet & savory). But the standout is the School Bread for me. This delicious cream filled pastry with a touch a coconut makes for a great snack in World Showcase. And while the Kringla Bakeri is being expanded (thank goodness) you can still get the School Bread at the Midnattssol Bakeri temporary kiosk.
3. Ice Cream – China
In China I recommend trying one of their ice cream flavors for your dessert sampling. Ice Cream is available at both the Joy of Tea Kiosk on the walkway and inside the pavilion at the quick service Lotus Blossom Café. Flavors include Lychee at Lotus Blossom, Caramel Ginger at Lotus Blossom & Joy of Tea and Strawberry Red Bean at Joy of Tea.
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4. Caramel Corn – Germany
I’m going to make this one easy on you (or perhaps really hard). My choice here is to go into Karamell Kuche and pick anything you see. I have never had a treat from Karamell Kuche that was less than fantastic. The problem here is choosing one—I recommend having 2-3, just so you get a good sampling. The fresh caramel corn is fabulous, the caramel chocolates are outstanding; you’ll find caramel baked goods and caramel covered fruit. Oh my! Just follow your nose, the sweet smell of the caramel is irresistible.
5. Gelato – Italy
My recommendation for Italy is going to depend on how big of an ice cream fan you are—because there are a lot of World Showcase pavilions that have great ice cream. In Italy the Gelati kiosk is my go-to for a sweet treat. The individual gelato flavors and combos are really delicious, and very rich (you could even share). If you don’t want a frozen treat here, go with the cannoli: crisp Pastry with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate, Candied Orange. Eat it quickly, a cannoli doesn’t hold up well in Florida humidity!
6. Funnel Cake – America
Here we are going back to fried dough. My pick at the American Adventure is the funnel cake. I’m actually a little disappointed that some of the great regional desserts across the US aren’t featured on a more permanent basis here. The Liberty Inn quick service currently serves a mash-up of regional favorites—apple pie cheesecake, but it isn’t my favorite. So, I go to the funnel cake stand, because what is more American the fair/fried foods? I prefer mine plain with just a sugar dusting (I’m a traditionalist), but check out some of the seasonal and specialty flavors.
7. Kakigori – Japan
After eating multiple servings of pastries and fried dough, I’m ready for something a bit lighter by the time I get to Japan. Here I head to Kabuki Café and the refreshing Kakigori. This is a version of shaved ice that you can get in various flavors, and can add a traditional sweet milk topping. I always go with the rainbow flavors because it is pretty and tastes great—even though the melted juices mix to a kind-of yucky brown color in the bottom of the cup by the end. This is a very refreshing sweet treat and it is positioned in a great place just about halfway around the World Showcase to cool you off!
8. Baklava – Morocco
In Morocco, my choice is the traditional Baklava. Like Mexico, I like to keep it simple here, but if Epcot is hosting one if its nearly year-round festivals check out the kiosk featured in Morocco to see if there is a new dessert offering that appeals to you (but sometimes it is just a variation on Baklava). The Baklava can be found at the coffee & pastry counter inside the quick service Tangerine Café.
9. Fraises – France
Here, much like Germany and Norway, it is very tough to pick a sweet treat. You have an amazing ice cream shop, crepes, and then there is Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. So many sweets, so little time. The one I find myself going back to and getting time & time again is the “Fraises” Vanilla cream topped with Strawberry in a tart shell. If find it to be lighter than some of the other choices, very fresh tasting, and oh so delicious. But you really can’t make a bad choice here. Try to find a table outside to enjoy, you’ll feel like you are in the heart of Paris.
10. Victoria Sponge Cake – United Kingdom
My great disappointment with the UK pavilion is that they do not offer their Sticky Toffee Pudding outside of the Rose & Crown Dining room. But, there are a couple of great sweet treats to find without a dining reservation. My top pick is the Victoria Sponge Cake found at Yorkshire County Fish Shop. This moist cake is filled with jam and buttercream. Who can pass up buttercream? If that is not quite your thing, you can cross the “street” to the shops where you can find a variety of English chocolates like the Cadbury brand.
11. Maple Candy – Canada
If we’ve made the full (nearly) circle around World Showcase we are pretty stuffed by now. In Canada, I like to walk through the Pavilion, really get back into the back to explore—there are so many sides to the pavilion that you just don’t see from the outside. I also like to browse through its fun shops—and here is where I find my Canadian dessert of choice: maple candy! Again, during a festival you may find something more creative at the Canadian booth, but the staple that I can always count on is the maple candy.
What are your favorite desserts as you travel around Epcot’s World Showcase?