Review and Preview: The Causeway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

It’s almost time! The Fifth Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is just around the corner!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Thumbnail Logo

This event, which takes place concurrently with the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, is a fantastic evening for food and wine lovers.

This year’s Food and Wine Classic will take place on Friday, October 31 (yep! Halloween!) and Saturday, November 1. The two-day event consists of food and beverage tasting booths set up on the resort’s beautiful causeway each evening. And new for 2014, a Beer Garden experience has been added for even more great food and drink.

Guests can also take part in a number of special food and beverage seminars for an additional fee. Seminars take place at 4:30PM both days, and the Causeway booths are open from 5:30 until 9:00PM on Friday and Saturday.

We’ve enjoyed the event every year since it began, and 2013 was no exception! We thought a look back at last year’s event was the perfect way to get excited about what’s in store for 2014. Let’s head out to the Causeway for a delicious evening.

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Atmosphere

Whether you’re staying at the Swan and Dolphin or you’re arriving from another location, head to the Promenade that connects the two resorts — that’s where the evening’s festivities will take place. We stopped by the Will Call Booth to pick up tickets.

As far as admission goes, you have options. Purchase an all-access ticket, and it’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink pass to the booths. If you prefer, you can choose a la carte tickets instead, which are sold in books of 25.

Will Call Booth

Will Call Booth

The Check In Table provided us with handy plates and plastic wine glasses.

Check-In Table

Check-In Table

These would come in handy as we juggled plates and drinks on the Causeway.

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Booths line the walkway leading from the Swan to the Dolphin as well as the path directly behind the Swan. There’s a lot to take in!

The Promenade

The Promenade

Hi-Top tables are scattered throughout the middle of the Causeway. You’ll also find large tables with chairs off to the side directly behind the Swan.

High Top Table

High Top Table

At the end of the Causeway closest to the Dolphin, a stage is set up for musical performance. While you sip and stroll, you can listen to live tunes!

Stage

Stage

In addition to the food and beverage booths, last year’s Classic featured a large retail outlet. Here, guests could purchase bottles of the wine we sampled.

Wine Store Entrance

Wine Store Entrance

There was also an assortment of logo wear and a few food items.

Merchandise Display

Merchandise Display

Food and Wine Classic T Shirt

Food and Wine Classic T Shirt

Logo Aprons

Logo Aprons

It is a food and wine event, so expect to see lots of wine-themed merch here, like corkscrews and wine glasses.

Corkscrews

Corkscrews

Glasses

Glasses

Even More Glasses

Even More Glasses

In 2013, the Food and Wine Classic also had an emphasis on Breast Cancer Awareness, so there were a few retail items with the pink ribbon logo as well.

More Glasses

Glasses with Breast Cancer Awareness Emblems

Breast Cancer Awareness Merch

Breast Cancer Awareness Merch

And of course — wine! Like a particular bottle? Conveniently, you can find it for purchase so that you can enjoy it at home!

Bottles for Purchase

Bottles for Purchase

One of the most popular booths, Cib’s Smoke Shop, also had a few barbecue sauces and rubs available for purchase.

Cib's Smokehouse Sauces

Cib’s Smokehouse Sauces

Cib's Smokehouse Rubs and Sauces

Cib’s Smokehouse Rubs and Sauces

Soon, it was time to take up our plates and glasses and get started! Time to check out the spread.

Eats

Navigating the sea of white-tented booths is best done with a map! My recommendation? Get your bearings by taking a look at what’s available before you strike out. And pace yourself!

Beverages and Drink Pink

To begin, there is a LOT of wine at this event. I mean a LOT. In 2013, there were 35 different booths, mostly comprised of wine. We tasted wines from all over California, Oregon, and Washington. The international wine community was well represented too, with booths highlighting wines from Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain.

Wine Tents

Wine Tents

I had to snap a few pictures of my favorites!

Chateau Ste. Michelle Mimi Chardonnay

Chateau Ste. Michelle Mimi Chardonnay

Francis Ford Coppola Claret

Francis Ford Coppola Claret

In addition, there was a booth featuring Ty Ku Sake.

Tyku Sake Booth

Ty Ku Sake Booth

Sake

Sake

Beer lovers will want to head straight to the Beer, Please! booth, where a number of different craft beers are featured.

Beer, Please Booth

Beer, Please Booth

Craft Beers

Craft Beers

In 2014, the Food and Wine Classic has added a Beer Garden to its offerings. For an additional fee, enjoy access to Crescent Terrace, where more beer will be featured alongside freshly prepared food items, like German-style sausages and soft pretzels!

In 2013, this area was “pinked out” in recognition of breast cancer awareness, and to celebrate those who have battled the disease.

Pinked Out Terrace

Pinked Out Terrace

On offer were several rose wines to sample.

A Glass of Rose for Drink Pink

A Glass of Rose for Drink Pink

After a quick tour of the beverage booths, it was time to start sampling some food!

Kimono’s

Kimono’s offers some of the best sushi available at Disney! It’s a fun spot for karaoke as well.

Kimono's Booth

Kimono’s Booth

The Spicy Yellow Fin Tuna Roll on offer was fresh and delicious.

Sushi

Sushi

Sushi -- Up Close

Sushi — Up Close

Cib’s Smoke Shop

Cib’s Smoke Shop is the handiwork of the Swan and Dolphin’s Executive Chef, Robert Ciborowski. Lines get long here for smokehouse specialties, handcrafted by Chef Ciborowski’s staff just for this event.

Cib's Smokehouse Booth

Cib’s Smoke Shop Booth

We tried the Handcrafted Bacon, Black Eyed Pea Puree, Maple Fluid Gel, and it was outstanding!

Pork Belly

Handcrafted Bacon, Black Eyed Pea Puree, Maple Fluid Gel

Fresh Mediterranean Market

Fresh offers quick casual dining with market fresh flavors inspired by the cuisine of the Mediterranean.

Fresh Booth

Fresh Booth

Their Blackened Fish Sandwich was served with Butter Lettuce, Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and was topped with a tasty Old Bay Remoulade.

Fish Sandwich

Blackened Fish Sandwich

Fish Sandwich -- Under the Bun

Fish Sandwich — Under the Bun

Garden Grove

Open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, Garden Grove is your spot to enjoy Disney character dining at the Swan and Dolphin.

Garden Grove Booth

Garden Grove Booth

For the Classic, they served up what was possibly my most favorite dish of the evening — a fun riff on Fish and Chips!

The dish came together with Beer-Battered Sustainable Bass; and in place of thick cut, fry-style chips, they served it with Vinegar Potato Chips.

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

So good! I am STILL thinking of this one, and I’m so excited to see that it’s back in 2014!

Fish and Chips -- Inside

Fish and Chips — Inside

bluezoo

bluezoo is the brainchild of Celebrity Chef Todd English, and focuses on coastal cuisine and fresh seafood.

Bluezoo Booth

Bluezoo Booth

One of our favorite dishes on their menu is Shrimp and Grits. They reproduce the dish here on a smaller scale, and pair it with Pickled Okra and Organic Tomatoes.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Paired with a glass of Chardonnay and some Jazz — it was great!

Shrimp and Grits with Wine

Shrimp and Grits with Wine

Picabu

Picabu is truly a hidden gem among Disney area eateries. No matter what time you’re working up an appetite, you’ll find this spot serving — it’s open 24/7!

Picabu Booth

Picabu Booth

The booth at the Classic featured a Taqueria for everyone — Corn Tortillas stuffed with your choice of Barbacoa of Beef, Braised Pork, or Organic Veggies.

Tacos -- Pork, Vegetable, and Beef

Tacos — Pork, Vegetable, and Beef

After you choose your tacos, spend a little time at the garnish table, topping them with extra veggies, cheese, and an endless array of hot sauces!

Garnish Table for Tacos

Garnish Table for Tacos

Garnishes for Tacos

Garnishes for Tacos

I wanted to go back for seconds…and thirds. :-)

My Taco -- Yum!

My Taco — Yum!

Fountain

The Fountain is one of our most favorite stops for homestyle food and killer ice cream treats. Their Caramel Apple Sundae is not to be missed!

Fountain Booth

Fountain Booth

During our evening at the Classic, they were offering a classic Lamb Gyro that featured Braised Lamb on a Toasted Pita with Tzatziki Sauce. The ingredients were fresh and it was the perfect three bites — enough to taste without filling up on it.

Falafel

Lamb Gyro

Il Mulino

Il Mulino offers guests delicious Italian dishes in an upscale atmosphere. It’s always fun to see what they bring to the Classic.

Il Mulino Booth

Il Mulino Booth

This time around, it was a delicious Ravioli with a buttery Yukon Gold Potato Filling garnished with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Truffle, and Charred Onions. It was a nice departure from traditional ravioli offerings.

Ravioli

Ravioli

Todd English

As Chef and Owner of bluezoo, Celebrity Chef Todd English has had a presence at the Classic for the last several years, and he continued the tradition in 2013. In addition to the fun food at the bluezoo booth, we could also taste a few additional dishes crafted at the Todd English booth.

Todd English Banner

Banner at the Todd English Booth

Guests could choose from a Tuna Tartare dish (sadly, no picture of this one), or go with something even more exotic — an Oyster Shooter topped with Huckleberry Champagne Vinegar. The briny flavors of the oyster paired really nicely with the fruit and acid of the vinegar.

Oyster Shooter

Oyster Shooter

Chef English also offered a Rock Shrimp Taco, garnished with Huckleberry Foam. I thought the handmade Corn Tortillas made the dish really special.

Shrimp Taco

Rock Shrimp Taco

Cabana Bar and Beach Club

Cabana Bar and Beach Club was one of the few booths offering a vegetarian option.

Cabana Booth

Cabana Booth

The Vegetarian Bao was a steamed bun with crisp tender Vegetables and a savory sauce.

Vegetarian Bao

Vegetarian Bao

While it wasn’t my favorite dish of the evening, I appreciated the attempt to offer something lighter; and it was really fun, watching the staff pull the buns out of bamboo steamers set up in woks right there.

Vegetarian Bao -- Inside

Vegetarian Bao — Inside

Shula’s Steakhouse

Shula’s Steakhouse is one of the best spots in all of Disney when you’re craving a steak. We’ve enjoyed meals here many times, and we always have a great experience. So it will come as no suprise that this booth always draws a big crowd.

Shula's Booth

Shula’s Booth

You can nearly always bank on a “meat and potatoes” pairing here. Last year, it was Carved Prime Rib, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Horseradish Creme Fraiche. Really, how could you go wrong??

Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

Pastries by Chef Laurent Branlard

If you’re after something sweet, head to the Pastry Booth, which showcases the talents of the Swan and Dolphin’s Executive Pastry Chef, Laurent Branlard, and his team.

In 2013, Chef Branlard added an unexpected surprise to the assortment of pastries — Ice Cream Panini Sandwiches!

Fans of L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion will recognize these presses. They’re just like the ones that are used to make some of our favorite Pressed Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Brioche Sandwich Presses

Brioche Sandwich Presses

The hot-meets-cold treat came in two flavors — Vanilla or Chocolate with Hazelnut Crunch and Raspberry Coulis. They were marvelous!

Brioche Sandwich -- Inside

Brioche Sandwich — Inside

In addition to the sandwiches, guests could choose from an assortment of incredible sweets. Of course, I had to sample all three!

My Pastry Plate

My Pastry Plate

The BLA Shot Glass consisted Blueberry Compote, Lemon Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta, and Almond Pound Cake. I love the combo of blueberries and lemon, so this was a hit for me.

Pastry -- Up Close

BLA Shot Glass

Next, we sampled the Dome, a combo of Milk Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Cream Center, a Hazelnut Dacquoise Sponge, and Milk Chocolate Glaze.

Chocolate Pastry

Milk Chocolate Dome

Finally, guests could also choose a Raspberry S’more. The beautiful two-bite dessert included Raspberry Marshmallow, Raspberry Compote, and White Chocolate Cream on a Cinnamon Sable Dough. So interesting!

Fruit Pastry

Raspberry S’more

Overall

Strolling the Causeway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is a fantastic way to spend a fall evening in Florida! With food from every Swan and Dolphin restaurant, the sheer variety of flavors that you can sample is astounding. And with so many wines, plus beer and sake, to choose from, there’s definitely something for everyone!

Come for the Causeway only, add a Beer Garden experience, or book a food or beverage seminar for even more food fun!

Book Your Tickets Now!

Book your stay, causeway tickets, and seminar tickets now before your favorites sell out! Contact the Swan and Dolphin at 888-828-8850! :-)

One Night Room and Event

Includes 1-night room accommodations for 2 adults and 2 causeway event passes at check in to enjoy unlimited food and wine tastings and entertainment offered on the causeway. Seminar tickets and Beer Garden tickets may be added for an additional fee.

Two Night Room and Event

Includes 2-night room accommodations for 2 adults and 2 causeway event passes for each night at check in to enjoy unlimited food and wine tastings and entertainment offered on the causeway. Seminar tickets and Beer Garden tickets may be added for an additional fee.

Are you looking forward to the 2014 Fifth Annual Food and Wine Classic at the Swan and Dolphin Resort? Leave a comment and let us know!

Comments

  1. Hannah says

    Glad we just got home from the Boardwalk so we don’t have to fight those crowds……though a couple of those dishes looked pretty good.

  2. Sandra Vorpahl says

    i think it is one of the best events during the Wine and Food Festival. Thinking about going both nights!!!!!!

  3. Joanne says

    We will be attending on Saturday. The temps for the weekend are a bit on the chilly side [high 60’s low 40’s] so hoping that’s not too cool for outdoor eating. Can’t wait to taste all the yummy offerings. Not quite sure how I’m going to have a bite of each without needing to walk all the way back to the resort…so much to sample, not a big enough tummy ;)

  4. says

    Hannah — Hope you had a GREAT visit!

    Sandra — It’s tempting, isn’t it!

    Joanne — I know; we are SO excited about the cool temps, and the killer food! All the walking definitely helps with the calorie burning. ;-)

  5. Joanne says

    We had a great time last night. The temps were very cool and the wind didn’t die down until later in the evening. The food and drink choices were wonderful…I will never miss this event in the future.

  6. says

    OJ — Historically, we just haven’t included prices for events that took place the previous year. While I don’t have the prices for last year’s event, prices for 2014 were as follows: Coupon booklet (includes 25 tickets): $50; Causeway Event: $89.45 (excluding tax and gratuity); Causeway + Beer Garden: $108.26 (excluding tax and gratuity).

  7. says

    Joanne — We were there too! It was such a gorgeous night, I thought, and we really enjoyed all of the dishes, going back for seconds on more than one item. :-)

  8. says

    Those tacos look too good, that lamb gyro, amazing. I’m actually in awe at the dining options offered by Disney. Definitely appears to be 100% incredible which is, I guess, what one should expect, after all, it is DISNEY we’re talking about.

  9. Lili says

    I am planning to go to the 2015 event.. and of course I would love to do it all. Anyone of you has done the Seminars and then the Causeway event? Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *