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

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

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheDisneyBlog/~3/1lOZimZT0r4/


8th Annual Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Bull & Bear’s Petite Filet of Beef and Stuffed Lobster Tail – chasseur sauce, potato pave, fresh arugula salad

We were invited to Waldorf Astoria Orlando for a media preview of their 8th Annual Food & Wine Weekends happening every weekend starting September 14, 2018 through November 11, 2018 at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

The sister hotels are hosting Food & Wine Weekends, a complement to Epcot Food & Wine Festival, to celebrate fine wine & culinary arts designed for those who truly savor the artistry of fine culinary preparations.

Food & Wine Weekends features innovative dishes from their renowned restaurants, unique food and wine pairings, intimate chef talks, and interactive demonstrations.

The Taste of Zeta Asia

Mount Fuji Signature Roll – Crab salad, cucumber, tuna, yellowtail salmon, wasabi mayo, tobiko, micro cilantro

Kanji Signature Roll – Spicy salmon, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, sriracha, micro cilantro

Short Rib Bibimbap – Short rib, fried egg, blanched spinach, namul, Japanese rice, gochujang sauce

The Taste of La Luce

Lasagna Napolinata – Mozzarella di Bufala, tomato, basil

Risotto Duo Di Mare – Shrimp, scallops, saffron, English peas, oven roasted tomato, reggiano gremolata

The Taste of Bull & Bear

Petite Filet of Beef and Stuffed Lobster Tail – chasseur sauce, potato pave, fresh arugula salad

Raspberry mint mocktail

Bar du Chocolat at Peacock Alley, Saturdays 6:30pm-10:30pm – A decadent selection of à la carte chocolate treats hand-crafted by Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team.  Highlights include chocolate truffles, exotic chocolate cakes and bowls of beautiful bon-bons.

La Pâtisserie: Master Pastry Class at Sir Harry’s, Fridays 4:30-5:30pm – Learn the secrets of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando world-class pastry team as they host a complimentary gourmet baking demonstration. From delicate pastries to the perfect cookie, you’ll learn tips on how to make, bake and decorate the perfect dessert.

Pop Culture at MYTH Bar, Saturdays 8pm-10pm

Home-made, fresh fruit popsicles, creamy organic ice pops and adult poptails!  Choose from a variety of gourmet toppings, including hand-dipped chocolate, caramelized almonds, sweet coconut and chocolate vermicelli.

For more information, please visit WaldorfAstoriaOrlando.com/food-wine and HiltonBonnetCreek.com/food-wine.

(Source: Waldorf Astoria Orlando)

Waldorf Astoria Orlando
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 597-5500

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 597-3600

8th Annual Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek


Epcot 2018 International Food & Wine Festival Media Preview

We got a sneak peak of the 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This 75 day long festival has 95 new food or beverage experiences. There’s a load of different kinds of family friendly fun that’s being launched this year such as candy sushi,  the Disney Du Jour Dance Party, three different new market places, nine new artists for the Eat to the Beat concert series, brand new seminars and having brunch with one of the celebrity chefs. 

First thing’s first, what’s on the menu this year? Let’s have a look.

Shown above is the Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds by The Wine & Dine Studio.

Another item is the new Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream and Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side by Hops & Barley 

For those with a sweet tooth this will surely satisfy.  On the left side of the plates is Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel and Pecan Crunch by The Cheese Studio and on the right is Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mouse with Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder and Mango by Flavors from Fire.  

Below is another dish from Flavors from Fire. They showcased Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aioli. 

 Brazil featured a Moqueca: Brazilian Seafood Stew featuring Scallops, Shrimp and White Fish with Coconut-Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice shown below.

A flight of beer was also given out for us to try. It was a red, green and blue, none of which had food coloring in it. Red was the most approachable, green was stronger and blue was the strongest.

Besides the food and alcohol, we got to look at this years merchandise for the festival. John Rivers, founder and owner of 4 Rivers Steak House was also there to talk about his new food truck that he will be opened at Disney Springs and his new creation he’ll be serving. “Mexican places have taco salad but it’s kind of boring. Well, not boring, it’s very traditional. With people walking around, it would be very hard for them to eat. So, we came up with a different idea- we put it into a cone,” says Rivers. 

After I was done with the event, I enjoyed the five free fast passes given to us on our admission ticket. I was also given a goodie bag containing a 25 dollar gift card to use anywhere in Epcot (that was well spent) , chocolates, pancake mix, an exclusive Disney bottle opener and more!

Dave Kesting, general manager of Disney festivals says, “you wont be able to do it all in one day. Pace yourself, look a lot at the passport, find the items that you would like to see and use that as your guide to go around the festival.” 

 

  

http://tastychomps.com/2018/08/epcot-2018-international-food-wine-festival-media-preview.html


Happy 5th Anniversary, The Alfond Inn!

Seared Grouper Papparadelle – housemade pappardelle pasta, fresh peas, asparagus, pecan bacon, parmigian cheese broth

We were invited to The Alfond Inn for an exclusive press preview featuring a Hamilton’s Kitchen new menu tasting with Chef Stephen Doyle, a happy hour art tour of newly installed art as part of the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art with new Cornell Fine Arts Museum Curator Gisela Carbonell, and a champagne toast finale in the Conservatory, in honor of The Alfond Inn’s 5th anniversary on Saturday, Aug.18.

In the last five years, The Alfond Inn has made it on:

  • Travel + Leisure Best 100 Hotels in the World
  • Travel + Leisure Top 15 Best City Hotels in the Continental U.S.
  • U.S. News & World Report Top Hotels in Orlando, Condé Nast Traveler
  • Readers’ Choice Awards Top 10 Hotels in the U.S.
  • Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards Gest Hotels in Florida
  • AAA Four Diamond Award
  • Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Walnut Crusted Halibut – orzo pasta, petite spinach, lemon-dill Amish butter

Lemon Sage Chicken Gnocchi – Lake Meadows Chicken, basil-ricotta gnocchi, summer vegetables, lemon-herb butter sauce

Colorado Lamb Lollipop Chops – local mushroom risotto, balsamic maple bliss glaze, caramelized Brussels sprouts

Thank you for the invite, Kathy Hernandez & thank you for hosting us, The Alfond Inn!

The Alfond Inn
300 E New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789
thealfondinn.com
(407) 278-8159

Happy 5th Anniversary, The Alfond Inn!


Franciacorta, Italy’s Other (and Better) Bubbly

Franciacorta glass

Do you know the wines of Franciacorta? It’s not a winery or the name of a winemaker. It’s not even the name of a vineyard.

It’s a sparkling wine from Italy in the region of Lombardy.

Usually when you hear the words “sparkling wine” and “Italy” together you immediately think Prosecco. And if you’re like me, you turn your nose up. I find most Proseccos to be too sweet and ultimately inferior to Champagnes, a comparison that is inevitable, seeing as how Champagne is to sparkling wine as Kleenex is to facial tissue (speaking of turning one’s nose up).

There are some big differences between Proseccos and Champagnes, one being that Proseccos are made only with a grape known as glera. Another is the way the second fermentation — the one that causes the bubbles — is achieved. For Champagne, it’s a process called méthode champenoise, which has the second fermentation occurring in the same bottle you will pop open for your next celebration.

Tony Roma

Franciacorta wines

Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method, also known, especially in Italy, as metodo Martinotti, which has the second fermentation occurring in a large vat, then transferring the sparkling wine to the bottle.

(I’ve always wondered how they pour the sparkling wine into the bottles without it bubbling all over the place. Must take forever just waiting for the bubbles to settle down and then pouring a little more. But I digress.)

The sparkling wines of Franciacorta are made using the méthode champenoise, or as the Italians prefer to call it, metodo classico.

What’s more, you’ll find no glera grapes in a Franciacorta wine, just chardonnay, pinot noir (nero) and pinot blanc (bianco), as you’ll find in many sparklers from Champagne.

Franciacorta table

I was invited recently to experience the wines of Franciacorta, hosted by Rashmi Primlani, whom many of you know from her website The Primlani Kitchen. She is a brand ambassador for Franciacorta.

Primlani conducted a Franciacorta Master Class and invited food writers and local wine experts for dinner at La Tavola, a pop-up Italian restaurant experience hosted by chef Kevin Fonzo at the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden in College Park.

Franciacorta Extra Brut

The evening was more of a get-to-know event to introduce Franciacorta to those of us unfamiliar with it. But we did taste wines from nine different producers, so we got to see some of variances that can occur, even in the relatively small region.

I can tell you that there is another comparison to be made to the wines of Champagne: the taste.

There was no cloy in any of the wines we tasted. I especially liked the La Valle Naturalis extra brut (2012), which had a flowery nose and a creamy mouthfeel with the taste of apples.

We also tasted a couple of wines made in the satèn style. The word means silk in Italian, and it’s a perfect description of the wines, which are dry but eminently smooth.

Franciacorta kitchen

Franciacorta salad

And all of the Franciacorta wines were perfect accompaniments to Fonzo’s menu. We feasted on watermelon and tomato salad; burrata with prosciutto; clams with linguine; whole roasted snapper; porchetta with potatoes; broccoli, Brussels sprouts; and meatballs.

Franciacorta clams

Franciacorta snapperhead

Instead of dessert we were offered a help-yourself cheese board (Gorgonzola and Tallegio were my favorites) paired with the Ferghettina Riserva 33 Pas Dosé (2010), so named because no dosage is added, leaving the wine dryer. It was a wonderful switch-up from the usual sweet wines served during a dessert course.

Franciacorta carve

I enjoyed getting to know the wines of Franciacorta, and also seeing the E.L.F. Kitchen House in action. It’s a great space for a culinary event (and rentals help support the education efforts).

https://www.scottjosephorlando.com/reviews/recent-reviews/76-wine/4421-franciacorta-italy-s-other-and-better-bubbly


Double Whammy at Grape & The Grain Wine Bar

Since first opening their doors, visitors of The Mills 50 District have given its newest resident “Grape & The Grain Wine Bar” a very warm welcome, and now Grape & The Grain is celebrating the closing of the season AND their official grand opening with a special “Summer Wine Down” event on Thursday, August 23.

From 5pm-9pm, all are invited to the intimate, artsy, relaxing craft beer and wine garden to invigorate all the senses and enjoy Grape & The Grain’s large variety of international fine wines, local craft beer, frosé, frozen sangria and more, with the first 100 guests receiving a free glass of Prosecco.

In addition, the evening will feature a special appearance by in-house artist Jay “J Bon” Bonadio “The Unsigned Artist” and live art to be auctioned off for A Gift For Teaching charitable organization to help provide children with school supplies.  Plus, Flamenco Guitarist Jorge Mendoza will perform live inside with DJ Leony spinning in the garden and a popular local food truck on-site.

Join Grape & The Grain Wine Bar for “Summer Wine Down” celebrating the official Grand Opening on Thursday, August 23 from 5pm-9pm.

Grape & The Gran is located at 1110 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.

Hours of operation are Tuesday thru Thursday 5pm-12amFriday and Saturday 4pm-2am, Sunday 1pm-7pm.

For more information, call 407-674-6156 or visit www.grapeandthegrain.com.

Double Whammy at Grape & The Grain Wine Bar


DoveCote Brasserie: Sonoma County Winegrowers Dinner

Atlantic Salmon – Quinoa, kale, preserved lemon, almond, black olive

We were invited to DoveCote Brasserie (voted Best Restaurant 2018 by Orlando Magazine) for an intimate evening with representatives from Sonoma County Winegrowers to talk current events in Sonoma County and predictions on the 2018 harvest season while enjoying a delicious meal.

Our host Amy Landolt, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, provided an annual update on Sonoma County’s progress in its initiative to become the first 100% U.S. sustainable wine region by 2019.  We also talked about how the huge wildfires breakouts in Sonoma County affected their vineyards.

We were relieved to hear that their vineyards did not burn because there is so much moisture in the vines.  The vineyards acted as a natural fire break, not only surviving, but helping to slow and stop the spread of wildfires – as seen below in the picture from the Sonoma County Winegrowers’ 4th Annual Sustainability Report.  We also learned that helicopters picked up water from the vineyards’ irrigation ponds (the blue image below) to put out wildfires.

Amy informed us that celebrity chef Guy Fieri is from Santa Rosa, CA in Sonoma County and he has stepped in to help feed first responders and victims of the tragic wildfires in the area.  He is seriously an amazing GUY!!!

More pictures from the Sonoma County Winegrowers wine-pairing dinner below:

Country Pate – Grilled ciabatta, house mustard, pickled cauliflower

Although I did not partake in any consumption of wine, I heard raving reviews about each and every one of them from the other guests at our table.  La Follette Chardonnay was the fan favorite of the evening.

Dc Caramelized Onion Soup – Oxtail onion broth, ciabatta, comte cheese

Braised Short Ribs – Potato confit, trumpet mushrooms, red wine reduction

Rachel Thralls, Wine Education Consultant

Coffee mousse, bay leaf crumbs, whipped cream

For more information, please visit sonomawinegrape.org.

(Source: Sonoma County)

DoveCote Brasserie
Bank of America Center, 390 N Orange Ave #110, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 930-1700
dovecoteorlando.com

DoveCote Brasserie: Sonoma County Winegrowers Dinner


Franciacorta Masterclass & Dinner

We were invited to La Tavola, which are Italian dinners based on its culture and cuisine. Well- known local chef Kevin Fonzo, formerly of K Restaurant, prepared fresh cooked Italian dishes that were paired with Franciacorta – currently the best “sparkling wine” in Italy.

There were five flights of wine. The first four flights consisted of two wines and the fifth was a single wine. Here is the menu as follows:

Wine Flight 1– DOCG Franciacorta La Valle Naturalis Extra Brut 2012 & DOCG Franciacorta Ricci Curbastaro Extra Brut

Wine Flight 2– DOCG Franciacorta Lo Sparviere Saten & DOCG Franciacorta Villa Franciacorta Saten 2013

Wine Flight 3– DOCG Franciacorta Majolini Brut & DOCG Franciacorta Ronco Calino Brut 2010

Wine Flight 4– DOCG Franciacorta Bonafidini Opera Rose & DOCG Franciacorta Antica Fratta Essence Rose 2011

Franciacorta: Flight 5 – DOCG Franciacorta Ferghettina Pas Dosé ‘Riserva 33’ 2010

Cheese, pastrami,sliced bread, olives, and roasted peppers were set on the table as a warm up. 
Here is a look at the dishes that were prepared and served by Chef Fonzo.

The chef says he chose these dishes because it was more about feeling comfortable at the table and the food went with every kind of wine. It’s like going to an Italian grandmother’s house on a Sunday.  He wanted it to be casual and encourage conversation.

“To me all the food tonight was from the heart. It’s food I grew up on,” says Fonzo. He is from New York but his grandparents are from Italy. His favorite dish that he served was the the tomato sauce and meatballs because that’s his comfort food. 

 Rashmi Primlani, creator of The Primlani Kitchen and presenter of the dinner shares her thoughts, “Italy is an enchanting land of endless discoveries, dreams, & vino.  Like India, Italy is one country where regionality is not only accepted, it is encouraged, revered, and passionately pursued.”

“What makes Italy particularly alluring is unlike the yuppies of the west, who voluntarily surrendered tradition for consumerism; Italians, including the champions of change, the younger generation, confidently and with great pride wear their cultural identity as a comfortable cloak or second skin, while crusading their local region onto contemporary stature. Speaking of Italian Wine, Franciacorta – Italy’s leading sparkling wine region’s quality conscientious producers, driven by passion and unwavering pursuit of perfection, undeterred by the wind or fashion, are forging exhilarating beauties dipped in sensuality and finesse. The single recurring note that dance in our minds – Franciacortais so much more than simply a toasting wine, it indisputably belongs on the dining table as every day affordable luxury, that marries well with all international cuisines, be it a family style meal or 12 course gourmand culinary experience. It’s our duty to share the love for Franciacorta!”

At the end the night, Fonzo brought out some fruits and sweets along with different cheeses as something light on the stomach since we all ate until our bellies were full. There was no strict pairing as we could mix and match freely to our liking.

It was a night well spent with other local food and wine lovers. We laughed, mingled and shared moments together as we broke bread around the large wooden table. It was an intimate and homey experience. The wine had an approachable taste and it’s true, it can be served with anything or you can drink it alone. It is not too harsh and the sparkling aspect gives it an enjoyable bounce and personality that you’ll love.

 

Facts about Franciacorta Wine as provided by the Franciacorta Blend of Passions presentation – 

The 1st Italian Sparkling Wine
produced exclusively through
second fermentation in bottle
to gain DOCG in 1995.

As for its current market: 

  • 117 producers
    • 19 townships included in the Franciacorta area (including
    municipality of Brescia)
    • 2,800 hectares of vineyards producing Franciacorta DOCG
    • 82% Chardonnay, 14% Pinot Nero, 4% Pinot Bianco
    • 350 hectares of vineyards producing Curtefranca DOC
    • 16.5 million bottles sold in 2015, 1.5 million of them abroad
    • The leading export market was Japan, which accounts for
    22% of the total exports, Switzerland and USA.

http://tastychomps.com/2018/08/franciacorta-masterclass-dinner.html


First Look: Wine Bar George at Disney Springs

One of the first interviews I ever did on TastyChomps was with Master Sommelier George Miliotes, where he taught me some of the most basic things about wine, as well as his family’s history in Orlando.

Now, Mr. Miliotes, with more than 40 years experience in the industry, has opened a new concept at Disney Springs – the eponymous Wine Bar George. Disney Springs – formerly known as Downtown Disney – has exploded in recent years with a plethora of new dining experiences led by celebrity chefs and arguably home to some of the best eats in Orlando.

We were recently invited to visit the 200-seat, 6,000-square-foot space to learn more about the new restaurant as well as a first-hand lesson from the Master Sommelier himself on wine tasting.

The opening at Disney Springs is a kind of coming home event for Mr. Miliotes who was part of the opening team of the California Grill restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and managed the venue from 1995 to 2002. While there, he created an award-winning wine list and one of the first “100 wines by the glass” lists in the country.

As one of only 249 worldwide industry professionals certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Miliotes features wines from acclaimed and well-known wineries as well as growing regions and wineries that are up-and-coming. The location offers an unparalleled wine list including more than 130 selections by the ounce, glass and bottle. Wine Bar George is actually the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida.

“The wine list will feature more than 130 wines all served by the ounce, glass or bottle,” Miliotes said. “The list will include more than 40 varietals from regions around the world. We will use the Coravin, the Vinfinity system and wine on tap to ensure each wine is enjoyed to its fullest extent. Servers will adeptly pair a range of small plates, cheese and charcuterie, shareable entrees and dessert with each wine. If you are looking for an awesome $9 glass on tap or a few ounces of Château Margaux, we will have wines for you to enjoy.”

In addition to the extensive wine list, Wine Bar George offers a variety of cocktails, a selection of beer and cider and frosé.

Executive Chef Ron Rupert worked closely together with Mr. Miliotes to create a menu that would pair perfectly with the extensive wine selection, from small plates to artisan cheese and charcuterie boards, but also sharable entrées. The food here is definitely not an afterthought, but indeed is a part of what makes wine tasting such an enjoyable experience.

Upon arrival, we were treated with a selection of their craft cocktails including the American 75 and the New York Sour, with a board of select artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.

American 75 St. George Terrior Gin / Roeder Estate / Lavender

New York Sour Russell’s Reserve 10 Yr Bourbon / Venta Morales Tempranillo

The Big Board Chef’s selection of six artisanal cheeses & five crafted meats / condiments

Master Sommelier George Miliotes then gave us an education on wine tasting by giving us tips on the smells and tastes of wine, from dry to sweet, depth of flavor and taste, and how this all ties to the age and origin of the wine.

Taste Like a Master Sommelier Tasting of three wines led by George
Tasting:

Giocato Goriška Brda, Slovenia ‘17
Casas Del Bosque, Reserve Casablanca, Chile ‘16
Zuccardi Salta, Argentina ‘16

Our dinner included some small appetizers as well as family sized shareable entrees, all paired wonderfully with our wines. My favorites of the evening included the crispy mac and cheese bites (you will never guess what they are coated in!), the togarashi dusted chicken skewers, house-made meatballs, supremely tender skirt steak, and the wine braised chicken in mushrooms and vegetables.

Crispy Mac & Cheese Bites – tomato nage / pecorino

Chicken Skewers – togarashi / Asian slaw

House-Made Meatballs – triple cheese polenta / tomato sauce

Pairings selected by George Miliotes

First Wine: Selbach-Oster, Bömer, Zeltinger Schlossberg, Mosel, Germany ‘16

Second Wine: Foillard, Côte du Py Morgon, France ‘16

Grilled Whole Greek Sea Bass – cannellini bean ragout / seasonal vegetables / lemon

Wine Braised Chicken – mushrooms / Yukon potato hash / seasonal vegetables

Skirt Steak – roasted potatoes / chimichurri / seasonal vegetables

Desserts

Olive Oil Cake – candied olives / lemon mascarpone

Key Lime Pie – A Florida favorite

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First Look: Wine Bar George at Disney Springs


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Upcoming Events

  1. 2018 Fall Family Festival

    October 12 @ 3:00 pm - November 14 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  3. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  4. SpaKitty Dinner

    November 14 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  5. The Festival of Trees

    November 15 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  6. FIU’s 32nd Festival of the Trees

    November 15 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  7. School Day at the 2018 Florida Tiny House MUSIC Festival

    November 16 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  8. 10th Annual OrlandoJobs.com Job Fair and Career Expo

    November 16 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0
  9. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  10. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. 2018 Fall Family Festival

    October 12 @ 3:00 pm - November 14 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  3. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  4. SpaKitty Dinner

    November 14 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  5. The Festival of Trees

    November 15 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  6. FIU’s 32nd Festival of the Trees

    November 15 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  7. School Day at the 2018 Florida Tiny House MUSIC Festival

    November 16 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  8. 10th Annual OrlandoJobs.com Job Fair and Career Expo

    November 16 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0
  9. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  10. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0