The combination of bread and cheese is a magical thing, no matter the culture. It transcends and translates across the globe, and is something about which both young and old can agree. Sometimes nothing satisfies and comforts like bread and cheese.
Enter the magic that is a freshly-made arepa. Heavens to Betsy, arepas, made with masarepa, are gooood. And yes, in Disney’s Encanto an arepa con queso is actual magic, but we’ll let that one go. For now.
If arepas are your thing, you’ll be happy to know that they are currently being served at EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival‘s La Isla Fresca Outdoor Kitchen. There are three varieties of arepas currently being offered, and, thankfully, I’ve got a couple that I can recommend to you.
First things first, it’s my advice that you skip the Arepa topped with Melted Queso Fresco. It’s the most approachable of the arepas being served, but it’s also the most likely to be lukewarm. The queso fresco that tops the arepa was melted at one point, but when you’re having to make these little babies en masse, it’s just hard to keep that cheese hot and melty. If you’d like to make EPCOT’s Corn and Cheese Arepas, make ’em at home. They’re easy to make, and you’re able to shove that gloriously hot arepa into your mouth just as soon as you’d like to. I made them in 2020 for Saturday Snacks, and you can click here to read about my experience. Cue me making arepas at home this week because yummm…
In my opinion, when you bypass the standard arepa, you need to head straight for the Arepa topped with Shrimp, Crushed Avocado Aji, and Tomato Sauce ($6.75) and the Arepa topped with Chorizo ($6.25).
The Arepa topped with Shrimp, Crushed Avocado Aji, and Tomato Sauce (which I will henceforth be referring to as the Shrimp Arepa ’cause goodness that title is long) is a bright and fresh take on an arepa. The basic arepa serves as the foundation, and the tomato sauce, a generous serving of the Avocado Aji, and three HUGE shrimp top the whole thing off.
While you might think that the Avocado Aji would have a kick, I found that the tomato sauce was the one packing just a tiny bit of heat. And it was a welcomed thing. Those shrimp? Simply ginormous and beautifully prepared. The Shrimp Arepa was worth every penny.
But my favorite was the Arepa topped with Chorizo. In my book, chorizo can do no wrong. This arepa begins as the other one does with the basic Arepa topped with Melted Queso Fresco with its foundation. To that, the most lovely chorizo gravy is added, and the whole thing is topped with additional queso fresco and a sprinkling of chopped green onions.
Holy smokes, this thing is good. It’s spicy and warm, and again, worth every penny. In fact, it’s on my must-eat list during my next trip to the park because I don’t want the festival to end on July 4th without me enjoying this arepa one more time.
You’ll find La Isla Fresca tucked in between the France and Morocco pavilions. Which means that those arepas are perfectly located halfway around your World Showcase walking path. If you ask me, you’ve earned at least one just by making the trek.
If you’ve visited the festival this year, please let me know in the comments section what else I need to be eating. Thanks!