This Halloween I headed over to the Swan and Dolphin Resort (along with my boyfriend) to check out an event I had not previously heard much about – the Food and Wine Classic. I am a die hard EPCOT Food and Wine Festival fan, but I didn’t know anything about this event until just a few weeks ago. I’ll delve into all the delicious details below, but long story short: I was pleasantly surprised from beginning to end, and am happy to say that it was worth every penny of the price.
Here’s the low down. Two days per year, the Swan and Dolphin Resort (perfectly seated between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios) hosts the Food and Wine Classic. This event includes numerous seminars as well as an all night outdoor party – the highlight of the classic! The hour long seminars range from pasta making to molecular mixology – something for everyone! The party on the causeway offers ticket options ranging from a la carte to all you can eat/drink (I STRONGLY recommend this option!) and there are food and wine options to please all palates. During the main event, guests take over the Causeway (that connects the Swan and Dolphin) to eat and drink to their heart’s content.
We started our evening at the Modern Mixology Seminar with Lindsay Skillman. This mini science course was the perfect kick start to our evening – we froze strawberries in front of our eyes with liquid nitrogen, practiced spherification (creating mini gel like spheres filled with liquor!), and whipped up delicious spiked foams. If you have any interest in higher level bartending (or chemistry) this class will be right up your alley! This course was $60 and I can honestly say it is the best bang for your buck. The drinks were flowing and the lessons our group learned will be shown off at dinner parties for years to come.
After leaving with our magically frozen sangria, we headed down to the outdoor causeway. We were blown away when we saw 49 booths full of food, wine, and beer along with a full blown beer garden! Much like EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival, you walk up to a booth and get a small sampling of whatever interests you (ex. Charred Octopus with Romesco Sauce from Bluezoo or a crisp Moscato from an Italian vineyard). This event was a game changer, because I could freely try anything I wanted without worrying about a huge price tag, long line, or huge crowd. We opted for the all inclusive ticket ($108.26) and never once waited in a line or went without a table. There were waiters ready and waiting to dispose of your finished plates (within seconds of finishing) and you were never more than 10 feet from another culinary experience. The crowds were minimal – especially compared to the EPCOT madness. The music was great, and some excellent celebrity chefs were casually mingling throughout the crowd. I really appreciated the variety of offerings – they could easily accommodate wine preferences, gluten free, vegetarian, beer drinkers, etc.
Highlights for us included the Blackened Salmon, Spinach Puree, Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc from Garden Grove, the Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Sauce Bordelaise from Shula’s Steakhouse, and the Laurent Branlard Desserts (featuring a Bananas Foster Panini!). We also sampled some delicious wine and, thanks to their featured wine rating app, we could seek these wines (and others like them) out at our local grocery store after the event! All in all, we had a wonderful, relaxing, delicious evening – and we can’t wait to do it again!
This event really brought the spotlight on how magnificent the Swan and Dolphin properties are. As a local, I have been to all the resorts/parks, and often overlooked these two (sadly, because they aren’t “officially Disney”). The food and drink showcased at this event has brought the Swan and Dolphin to the top of my list, and I can’t wait to go back. Even their poolside fare would wow you!
Now that I am head over heels in love with this event I am wondering: how many of you have been keeping this little gem in your back pocket hoping it goes undiscovered? I can assure you we will be saving up through 2015 and looking forward to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!
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