It was that time of the year this past weekend when little ghouls and goblins ran from door to door, dressed in imaginative costumes collecting buckets of candy treats all while parents stood back in amusement.
But it was also that time of the year, if you were around the Walt Disney World resort area, for the 6th Annual Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic. Think of it as a mature, sophisticated type of gathering where instead of going door to door, you go booth to booth. No need for carrying around a bag to collect candy, you’re covered with a plate and wine glass. Oh, and the plate has a holder for your wine glass just to make things more convenient, because that’s what the Food and Wine Classic is all about; Enjoyment.
This year the event took place over the October 30th and 31st weekend. We were invited to join in with the festivities on its last night, and it truly turned into one glamorous Halloween party.
The event hosted over 12 food stations, a beer garden, a carnival corner showcasing creative carnival fare themed treats and over 40 beverage stations all positioned between the two resorts with gorgeous backdrops from every angle. Add in the roaming hoard of friendly zombies and live music to the mix and it was a Halloween night that couldn’t be beat.
Not to be mistaken with what’s going on next door at Epcot, the Swan & Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is its only glorious celebration of the combined 17 restaurants and lounges that hold combined residency amongst the two resorts. This includes celebrated chefs and signature dining options such as Todd English with his AAA Four-Diamond award winning coastal cuisine restaurant, bluezoo, and the champion of steakhouses, Shula’s.
Genuinely there is something here for everyone, of all ages and appetites. Part of the reason why these two resorts host an imaginative wonderland of food and wine parings is due to its extensive food and beverage program. There’s over 1,400 selections in the wine program, four signature dining options that include the superior and stylish Italian haven Il Mulino New York Trattoria and the intimately hypnotic atmosphere of Kimonos, an authentic Japanese sushi restaurant.
Samplings from the 4-signature restaurants included:
CARVED PRIME NY STRIP, GARLIC MASHED POTATOES, SAUCE BORDELAISE
GINGER CURED HAMACHI, NITRO LIME, ROMAINE LEAVES, GREEN OLIVES
DRAGON ROLL – CRISPY SHRIMP, TUNA, AVOCAGO, JAPANESE MAYONNAISE
MASCARPONE – CHESTNUT RAVIOLI, ITALIAN SAUSAGE, CELERY ROOT, BACON JUS
For those on a lighter fare, and a more casual feel that brings comfort foods to the plate in new and innovated ways, the food and wine classic also shows off its other restaurants with some creative sampling.
FISH ’N’ CHIPS: BEER BATTERED SUSTAINABLE BASS, TARTAR FOAM, SARSON’S MALT VINEGAR CHIPS
WILD SHRIMP, YOUNG BAMBOO, CRISPY YUBA, PLUM SAUCE
BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS, PICKLED CELERY, PETITE CARROTS, BLUE CHEESE FONDUE
TAQUERIA-CORN TORTILLA, BABACOA OF BEEF OR BRAISED PORK, ORGANIC VEGETABLES, CHEDDAR CHEESE, LIME WEDGE, LETTUCE, ONION, SHAVED RADISH, PICO DE GALLO, ASSORTED HOT SAUCES
SOFT SHELL CRAB ROLL, WHITE BREAD, OLD BAY REMOULADE, TOMATO FONDUE
Celebrity Chef Todd English also brought about a separate, flavorful seafood option and was present on Saturday night.
Bay Sea Scallops, Fall Squash, Citrus Fruitsand Hobb’s Applewood Smoked Bacon.
A special presentation for this event also saw Cib’s Smokehose with its smoked wagyu short ribs, parsnip puree, melba toast and pommery mustard sauce.
This year, the Beer Garden brought a wildly vast selection of craft and specialty, even a few experimental beers to the Classic. It also brough some authentic German pairings;
Lightly breaded Weiner Schnitzel with warm German-style potato salad.
Sonta sausage, braised cabbage, pretzel bread served with assorted mustards on the side.
New to the Classic this year was the Carnival Corner, a fun take on carnival-fare style foods that are for the big kid in each of us.
There was a world of offerings, more so than one could indulge with in just a single evening, and requiring a novel to deliciously explain each and every offering. A bonus is that the menu changes over from one night to the next, so if you plan to attend both evenings you’ll get the double whammy foodie blessing.
But no good food and wine event would be complete without touching on the sugary side of life. Chef Laurent Branlard, the executive pastry chef of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort brought out some treat sized dessert, because when you’re named one of the Top Pastry Chefs in America you ought to be able to show off your sweet side.
Be sure to visit http://www.swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/ for more information regarding this year’s event, and how you can start planning to attend in 2016. You can also view our extensive gallery of photos from Saturday night if you need help convincing yourself to book a trip down here next fall.