I love roaming around the World Showcase at Epcot. When you're tired of standing in lines at all the other parks, the World Showcase is a welcomed relief. There are virtually no long lines here. Instead, think of it as an expanded and more permanent World Expo, with mini versions of different countries showing off their cuisine in the form of restaurants and cafes, their wares by way of shops, and their culture via mini-museums and displays.
Bryan and I devoted one whole lunch + afternoon to explore the different countries. One of my favorite locations was France.
First, the International Flower and Garden Festival was going on. As part of this park-wide event, elaborate topiary characters were scattered all around the park. Of course the characters from Beauty and the Beast would end up in France. Cosgworth and Lumiere were always among my favorite characters in the movie, so I had to get a photo with them. If you squint and look really closely, you can sort of see the Beast and Belle in the top photo of the post in the faaaar distance.
The best part, however, was the little ice cream shop called Artisan Ice Cream, or L'artisan des Glaces. Don't be fooled by the street-side ice cream stand out in front of the French Pavilion. I saw plenty of people lining up at that ordinary street side ice cream cart. I wanted to yell out to them, "that's not the right one! the special ice cream shop is inside!"
Walk into the French pavilion, and you'll see this little blue painted place.
Inside you can choose between a variety of different ice cream and sorbet flavors. They even have macaron ice cream sandwiches (yes! ice cream between two maracon cookies!) and alcoholic ice cream sundaes, where you can get a shot of rum, grand marnier, or vodka flavored whipped cream on top of your ice cream.
We decided not to go for any of that.
Instead, we couldn't help but be drawn to the Croque Glace.
You start with a brioche bun, sliced in half.
You choose your ice cream flavor, which the French person behind the counter scoops into the brioche bun for you.
You get your choice of sauce: chocolate or caramel (I think). I'm not usually a huge fan of putting any sort of sauce on my ice cream, so I said, "no sauce."
She looked up at me, unsmiling, her eyes completely serious.
"It's much better with sauce."
"You want the sauce."
I wasn't one to start arguing, so I humbly agreed and requested dark chocolate.
The brioche goes onto a special hot iron that looks like it's designed for this special dessert. It briefly presses down on the brioche until everything's nicely sealed up.
It was fantastic. The brioche had just a tad of savory buttery goodness that complemented the sweet and creamy ice cream perfectly. The ice cream inside was still cold but definitely soft, like the brioche. I think I have to agree that it was quite good with the "sauce".
If I lived anywhere close by, I would totally consider returning to try the macaron ice cream sandwich, and even just a simple plain scoop of ice cream.
On a hot day in Epcot (which, I presume, is most days of the year!), this is a perfect treat.