Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – wine blending seminar

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – wine blending seminar

Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending the ninth annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. The event was held Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 26 and 27, and featured the talents of the resorts best chefs and dozens of beverage vendors. We were invited by the Swan and Dolphin Resort to attend the event for this review and it included the opportunity to enjoy a seminar ahead of the main causeway event.

There are 11 different seminars offered at the Classic. We ended up attending the Wine Blending seminar — a $50 per person add-on that started at 4:30 p.m. and lasted right up until the Crescent Lake causeway opened for the full event at 5:30 p.m.

The enthusiastic and knowledgeable instructor Luciano Sperduto is a certified sommelier and director of Food & Beverage at the Swan and Dolphin. And he had his hands full with us, two people who know next to nothing about wine and typically opt for the strongest margarita we can find. I mean, my husband noticed a stain on his wine-blending pipette and called it “this straw thingy,” so, yeah, we’re pretty much elitists.

We started the seminar with six glasses of red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Sperduto took us through each one, explaining them in detail before having us sample and then cleanse our palates with (my favorite part) a yummy cheese and bread spread.

Full disclosure: The seminar wasn’t totally full, so I may have pulled another basket of bread off an empty table.

It all culminated with the opportunity to use that fancy straw thingy to blend our own meritage. To do that, we’d fill up the pipette for every 10% of wine we wanted in our blend, mixing it all together in another glass. Mine ended up with 10% Cab Sauvignon, 50% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot (So fruity! This was my clear fav) and 20% Malbec.

I wish I could tell you if it was any good, in official wine terms, but it didn’t taste bad! And it was a lot of fun to make. I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to pay $50 to do wine blending again, but I’m glad I did it! Next time, maybe the Cheese Course or Pasta Making seminar? That’s more my speed.

Once 5:30 p.m. hit, some people were still sipping their meritage blends, but all the bread baskets were empty and we weren’t wasting any food time, so we headed out to the causeway.

Read my review of the rest of our Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic night out on the causeway and make plans to attend next year, you won’t be disappointed.

About the author: Lauren Garcia, a 10-year local news veteran-turned-freelance writer, is an Orlando native and lover of all things Disney, where you can usually find her with her toddler.

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Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – one perfect night

Central Florida rolled out its most gorgeous weather of the year thus far for the ninth annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. The event was held Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 26 and 27, both breezy nights in the mid-70s — a perfect Florida fall weekend. We were invited by the Swan and Dolphin Resort to attend the event on Saturday evening for this review.

Event attendees sampled countless wines from 30 wineries around the world, as well as small plates of deliciously prepared food from more than 40 tasting stations, all of which is served at restaurants and vendors across the two hotels. It’s really a condensed version of the International Food & Wine Festival, going on at the same time over at Epcot.

Lasting just one weekend, single-day tickets for the event started at $119.55 + tax, with add-ons and package prices increasing from there. (They also offered an “A La Carte” ticket booklet with 25 tickets for $50, in case attendees wanted a smaller, more individual sampling.) It’s a really excellent (albeit slightly expensive) date night option for locals — and my husband and I even met a few people who made a longer drive, opting to stay at the Swan or Dolphin to make a full weekend out of it. For example, after a full night of drink sampling, we spent a great hour or so in conversation with a retiree from Sarasota who used to play with The Who. You never know the interesting people you’ll meet if you don’t get the (liquid) courage to strike up a conversation!

Most of the food stations offered different samplings between Friday and Saturday, which made for a nice variety of options if you purchased tickets for both days. For me, there were some clear standouts from Saturday’s offerings. First and foremost, BBQ joint Cib’s Smoke Shop had something amazing called “hand-crafted bacon.” It came on a black slate platter with hay-smoked potato gnocchi, black truffle, Thai chili Brussels sprouts and grape “pudding.” There were so many mild but interesting flavors to balance the richness of the bacon, and I just really loved all the different colors on the plate.

Honorable mention for other delicious plates goes to Shula’s for their beef with mashed potatoes and Bordelaise sauce, Kimonos for their crispy shrimp and yellowfin dragon roll and to the Cabana Bar & Beach Club for the gooey spicy ham and cheese fritters with tomato sofrito and romano crackers. The Pig & Poke also offered some decent tuna poke and traditional earth-baked kalua pork, which I’m assuming came from these guys.

Another personal favorite: Carnival Corner. I ate my funfetti fried Oreo too fast to snap a pic, but this Frito pie with house-made chili was perfect fair fare, along with the Lit’l Smokies with brown sugar BBQ sauce and Cheez-Its.

We ventured back inside briefly — only briefly, because it was just too beautiful outside — and made our way to the Bubbles Lounge. As soon as I walked in, I had to walk back out so I could get video walking into the place. It was so cute! The Prohibition-era sounds of Vintage Vibe echoed through the room as colorful balloons floated overhead, with the words “POP!” and “FIZZ!” reminding guests to partake in champagne and sparkling wine as they made their way through treats like deviled eggs, smoked salmon toast, candied Detroit beet with burrata, and buttered popcorn.

Back outside, and as the sun went down, the entertainment was in full swing. As we were walking through the festival and talking with new friends, we enjoyed Frankie Valli covers from the Atlantic City Boys. But we ended our night with a trip to the front of the stage to watch Epic, a local dance/pop group. It was a great way to end our evening! They did a few of the 2000s “party jams,” like “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, but you could tell the whole band really enjoyed their Bruno Mars covers. Bruno’s one of my favs, too, and when I snapped a bit of their performance, I guess it was believable enough that some of my out-of-towner friends sent me messages of jealousy for getting to see him so close!

It was a non-stop night full of entertainment — from the food and drinks, to getting a wine education, chatting up interesting people and dancing to some great tunes. Pricing considered, my husband and I both agreed we’d be attending next year, maybe even splurging for a night at the Swan and Dolphin to save on an Uber or Lyft back home. Safety first! Fun… always.

About the author: Lauren Garcia, a 10-year local news veteran-turned-freelance writer, is an Orlando native and lover of all things Disney, where you can usually find her with her toddler.

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The best Disney Dining is at the Swan and Dolphin Resort’s Food & Wine Classic this month

It only lasts a weekend, but the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic packs in so much creative and tasty fun for its guests that we think it’s the best value on property for foodies. The classic is celebrating its ninth year Oct 26-28 and features interactive seminars, two outdoor evening food and wine tasting events, and the Sunday Bubbles Brunch. There will be more than 90 food and beverage stations, 10 seminars, and five themed areas to enjoy.

Guests will delight in numerous opportunities to sip and savor along the resort’s causeway, private lake and private beach Oct. 26 and 27 from 5:30-9 p.m. while enjoying live entertainment and cuisine from the resort’s award-winning restaurants: Il Mulino New York Trattoria, Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and more, along with wine and spirits samplings from around the globe.

New for 2018

Guests can take a culinary journey to the Pacific during this year’s event at the Hawaiian Luau-themed area, The Pig & The Poke. Located on the resort’s private beach, the area will immerse guests in the sights, sounds and tastes of the Pacific with live music and tasty bites including traditional earth baked Kalua pork with steamed white rice, Tuna Poke with koho sushi rice, avocado relish and crispy fried wontons and shaved ice served with a selection of tropical flavors.

Enhancing the ambiance for 2018 will be the addition of several live musical performances throughout the event, in addition to the main stage. Polynesian melodies will be performed by the family group Manureva at The Pig & The Poke. The sounds of the 1920s and ‘30s, performed by Vintage Vibe, will fill the room in the Bubble Lounge and Harry “Captain Harry” Henry Hann will perform his blend of rock, soul, jazz and reggae – a style he calls Floribbean – in the Beer Garden.

Featured Food

New dishes on the 2018 menu include:

  • Dynamite Rock Shrimp with late season Zellwood corn, wasabi foam, matsutake mushrooms, Japanese eggplant and crispy lotus root from Todd English’s bluezoo
  • Vietnamese Lemongrass Meatballs “On a Stick” with Vermicelli noodles, pickled vegetables and sriracha espuma from Cabana Bar and Beach Club
  • Braised beef agnolotti with caponata-agrodolce, baby leeks and glace de viande mornay sauce from Il Mulino
  • Shake & Bake Style Southern Fried Chicken with black eyed pea puree, white cheddar fondue and bacon-infused roasted garlic gravy from Picabu

Returning favorites include:

  • Oven roasted beef rib eye from Shula’s Steak House
  • Dragon sushi roll from Kimonos
  • Handcrafted bacon with hay smoked potato gnocchi, black truffle, thai chili brussels sprouts and grape “pudding” from Cib’s Smoke House

World Champion Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard sweetens the evening with his selection of decadent desserts.

Seminars, Brunch and Entertainment

Favorite hands-on educational seminars taught by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team return for foodies who want to add a little something extra to their festival experience. Seminars offered this year include: wine blending, Italian wines, champagne, beer, Riesling, craft cocktails, pasta making, sushi and sake and wine and cheese pairing. All seminars require separate tickets and space is limited.

Guests can extend the indulgence into Sunday morning with the Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria, featuring a lavish menu of traditional and unconventional dishes like various cured meats and imported cheeses along with an array of sushi and trattoria-inspired entrees. The Sunday Bubbles Brunch is a separate ticket option and does not require an evening ticket or overnight accommodation to participate.

Different packages are available for the event and menus vary for each night of the causeway. We recommend visiting the event website for more information, to preview the menus and pick up tickets. For a little more than the cost of one day’s admission to EPCOT you get a full evening of amazing food and wine to taste plus great entertainment. Really the best value in town.

Previously: Swan & Dolphin Resort expands entertainment options for Food & Wine Classic

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Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic expands entertainment options

We often talk about how The Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is the best value for foodies at Walt Disney World. The causeway event admission includes unlimited samples from dozens of booths and the best chefs from the resort’s world class restaurants. But there’s a lot more to the Food and Wine Classic than just, well, food and wine.

Each year the event features a talented musical line-up along with on the main clamshell fountain stage, but this year they’re adding three themed sections each with their own musical take.

New musical performers will add to the immersive environments of three of the themed sections, each selected to perfectly match the unique tastes and décor of the area. The acts making their festival debuts this year include:

New musical performers will add to the immersive environments of three of the themed sections, each selected to perfectly match the unique tastes and décor of the area.

The acts making their festival debuts this year include:

  • Manureva, a family group, will perform authentic songs and melodies from Polynesia in the new luau-themed area, The Pig & The Poke
  • Vintage Vibe, a group of renegade musicians who reimagine songs from a variety of genres into the smooth, lavish sounds of the 1920s and ‘30s, will be in the Bubble Lounge
  • Singer-guitarist-songwriter Harry “Captain Henry” Hann will play a blend of rock, soul, jazz and reggae – a style he calls Floribbean – in the Beer Garden.

Returning to the Dolphin clamshell fountain main stage for both nights are festival favorites:

  • Epic, performing today’s best dance, pop and party rock music
  • 501 Blues, playing the top blues, soul and classic rock hits from the past 40 years
  • Atlantic City Boys, featuring the rock ‘n’ roll harmonies of the Beach Boys, Drifters, the BeeGees and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Another fan favorite are the event’s popular educational seminars, which give guests a chance to learn from the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team in an interactive setting.  \

The 2018 seminar line-up includes:

Pairing Seminars:

  • Fine Art of Sushi and Sake
  • The Cheese Course
  • Pasta Making

Beverage Seminars:

  • Wine Blending
  • Base to Bubbles (Champagne)
  • Beer, Please
  • Craft Cocktails
  • Italian Wines
  • Riesling, So Sweet & So Dry
  • The Grand Tasting presented by Master Sommelier Matthew Citriglia (sold out)

Seminars will take place on Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27. Beverage seminar tickets are $50 per person, while pairing seminar tickets are $85, including tax. Specific dates and times of each seminar are available on the event website. Get your tickets today.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0