Review and Preview: 2017 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Causeway and Seminars

The Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic has become a must-do food event in Orlando over the past few years.

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In its eighth year in 2017, the Epcot-area resorts’ festivities include innovative dishes from renowned chefs, lots of spectacular wine offerings, and a variety of informative seminars.

Ticket holders for the event will enjoy the activities on Friday, October 27, and/or Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 5:30PM to 9PM. As in the past, there are several ticket options, which you can find on the event website. The Causeway Ticket provides unlimited access to food and drinks along the Causeway between the two resorts. The Causeway Ticket and Beer Garden ticket allows access to the unlimited Causeway offerings as well as the Beer Garden. There are also a la carte tickets, tickets for seminars, and a Sunday Bubbles Brunch.

Click here for Full Causeway Menus

Click here for Full Seminar Details

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The Causeway

Intro and Check In

You’ll want to reserve your tickets ahead of time, especially if you’re interested in specific seminars, as those are quite popular and have limited availability. This year there are eleven educational seminars planned, covering topics from sake to pasta making.

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The Party is in Full Swing

Upon arriving at the Food and Wine Classic, you’ll need to check in to receive your menu book, plate, and glass. You’ll use these to access unlimited food and wine offerings.

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The Set Up — Plate, Glass, Menu — GO!

The glass is branded for the event and plastic, which is ideal for hours of strolling between stations.

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Souvenir Wine Glass for Tasting All. The. Wines.

And if you do need a break from the eats and drinks (or simply find a wine you absolutely need to have!), there is also branded merchandise and bottles of wine for purchase in the merch shop.

Wine for Sale By the Bottle

Wine for Sale By the Bottle

T-Shirts and More

T-Shirts and More

New for 2017

  • The Grand Tasting Experience is a brand new seminar highlighting northern Italy’s unique Nebbiolo grape and hosted by Master Sommelier Matthew Citriglia. Citriglia is one of only 149 mast sommeliers in the Americas, and he’ll bring rare vintages to share with the crowd.
  • Bubbles Lounge is a new area focusing on sparkling beverages (champagne and sparkling wine) inspired by Lawrence Welk. Guests attending the Classic will receive a special entrance ticket upon check-in and are invited to enjoy the secluded and fantastically designed space.
  • Brand new for 2017 is a seminar called Riesling, So Sweet & So Dry. This seminar will be hosted by certified sommelier and showcase the versatility of the Riesling grape.

Seminars

The Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic will offer eleven food and beverage seminars in 2017. These range from wine and beer to sushi and cheese. There’s something for everyone! And we can highly recommend the seminars. They’re in-depth, fun, and helmed by experienced experts. It’s worth it.

In addition to the Grand Tasting Experience and Riesling, So Sweet & So Dry, seminars include:

  • Italian Wines: Celebrate the relationship between Italians, their wine, and their food by journeying through three regions of the country.
  • More than Malbec: Experience the world of Argentinian wine!
  • Craft Cocktails: Understand the building blocks of classic cocktails like the Whiskey Sour, Gin Fizz, Old Fashioned, and Cosmopolitan. (We reviewed the former seminar Modern Mixology in 2015.)
  • Beer Please: Learn all there is to know about micro brews and craft beers from around the world! Includes perfect food pairings!
  • Pasta Making with Chef Cib: Chef Robert Ciborowski is the hero behind the Classic, and in this seminar, he teaches in the ins and outs of making specialty pastas!
  • The Cheese Course: Explore the world of cheese — and its partnership with port wine.
  • Fine Art of Sushi and Sake: Take a short trip to Japan via the ancient art of sushi and the complex process of sake making!
  • Wine Blending: Learn about the intricate process of making wine in this hands-on seminar that looks at the origins of wine and many varieties of grapes.
  • Base to Bubbles: Life is the bubbles! Experience the the basics of champagne, including learning more about five regions of Champagne! See our 2016 review of this seminar here!
Beer at the Classic

Beer at the Classic

The Causeway

So what will attendees find along the Causeway? This year, there will be booths representing all of the resorts’ restaurants, including Shula’s Steak House, The Fountain, Picabu, Il Mulino, Kimonos, and bluezoo. Additionally, there will be booths for Chef Cib’s Smoke Shop, Chef Todd English, and Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard. Complete menus for the 2017 Classic include tempting dishes like Kobe Beef Mini Burgers, Ricotta Gnocchi, Seared Florida Red Snapper, and Crunchy Chocolate Passion Fruit Truffle.

As for the unlimited eats? They’ll be (necessarily!) served as small plates. That is entirely by design to allow you to try at least a bite of everything — with room left over to revisit your favorites. Meanwhile wine and beer samples will come from producers around the world. And in years past, there’s also been at least one distillery represented. St. Augustine has offered samples of craft cocktails for the past couple of years, so expect to see something similar in 2017.

Dishes last year showcased a variety of eats and drinks. Below is a sample of the items offered in 2016. Sushi and Sake were crowd favorites, as one might suspect. In 2017, we’re looking forward to the Jalapeno Roll (!) and the Dragon Roll.

Sushi and Sake

Sushi and Sake

Funky Buddha Brewery brought a bevvy of beverages for guests to try.

Funky Buddha Brewery Stand

Funky Buddha Brewery Stand

Watching chefs plate their dishes is a fun aspect of the Food and Wine Classic, as these beautiful plates are composed pretty much to order.

Chefs at Work

Chefs at Work

Booths are clearly labeled, making it easy for guests to navigate the Causeway (and find their favorites again later in the evening!).

Fresh will feature Thai Chicken Salad and Southwest Steak Salad in 2017.

Fresh Booth

Fresh Booth

In 2017, Garden Grove is dishing up Fish ‘n’ Chips made with sustainable bass and Seared Florida Red Snapper with Israeli couscous.

Garden Grove Booth

Garden Grove Booth

Cib’s Smokehouse Pork Belly was a dynamite part of the 2016 menu. The 2017 version will be presented with confit fennel and compressed green apple!

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Cib’s Smokehouse Pork Belly

And sushi from the resort’s Kimono’s was elegantly presented. We expect more of the same from the Jalapeno and Dragon Rolls in 2017!

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Kimono’s Sushi

Picabu’s booth served up tacos with a variety of fresh, flavorful toppings. In 2017, attendees will enjoy Taquerias — with pork carnitas and organic vegetables — and Authentic Chicken Tinga Tostadas — with charred tomato and chipotle salsa.

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Toppings for Tacos at Picabu

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Picabu Tacos All Dressed Up

Southern favorites like Pulled Pork and Mac and Cheese were available at the Fountain booth. The 2017 menu at the Fountain booth is the place to go for Kobe Beef Mini Burgers (with truffle aioli!) and Southern Pulled Pork with Nashville BBQ!

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Southern Pulled Pork Slider from The Fountain

Garden Grove’s booth offered up a light seared Striped Bass — with beautiful garnishes. This year the bass will be transformed into Fish ‘n’ Chips!

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Seared Striped Bass, Fall Artichokes, Nicoise Olives, Spanish Caper Emulsion from Garden Grove

Cabana Bar and Beach Club created this stunning and delicious Bell & Evans chicken dish. Diners will savor Sweet Corn “Risotto” Arancini with a caper emulsion and Double-Fried Chicken this year, y’all!

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Bell & Evans Chicken Yakitori, Mushroom Tsunomo, Miso Crackling from Cabana Bar and Beach Club

And lest you think the Food and Wine Classic is all savory, Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard crafted stunning desserts for the event, as always. The 2017 dessert menu looks like a winner with innovative combinations like Crunchy Chocolate Passion Fruit Truffle and Mandarin Confit.

Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard and an Assistant Creating Desserts

Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard and an Assistant Creating Desserts

Dessert options in 2016 included Bananas Foster, Lemon Meringue, and an Eclair — among others. We loved that Bananas Foster!!

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Bananas Foster — Pastry Action Station

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An Assortment of Artisan Pastries from Chef Laurent Branlard

There is live music during the event on a stage outside of the Dolphin. And the lighting during the event? Pretty freaking cool, right??

Concert Under the Stars

Concert Under the Stars

The Causeway at Night

The Causeway at Night

The Swan and Dolpin Food and Wine Classic is eight years old — and it’s really getting better with age. It’s a hidden gem, and we keep getting positive comments about it from our readers every single year.

Nosh or Not?

The Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is made for you if: 

  • You love to try new dishes and drinks and appreciate the unlimited small plates the Classic offers.
  • You are a fan of the elegance of the Swan and Dolphin Resorts and want to extend the experience.
  • You loved the Epcot Food and Wine Festival so much that you want to keep GOING! (The Swan and Dolphin Classic is within walking distance of Epcot!)

You could consider skipping the Classic if: 

  • You don’t plan on spending time in the Epcot resort area and can’t fit a visit into your touring schedule.
  • You aren’t an adventurous eater and don’t think this would be a good value for you.
  • You prefer to spend less time eating and more time on Soarin’.

We can’t wait to try the offerings in 2017 and to see what this festival has in store for guests.

Ready to GO?

Ticket holders for the event will enjoy the activities on Friday, October 27, and/or Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 5:30PM to 9PM. As in the past, there are several ticket options, which you can find on the event website. The Causeway Ticket provides unlimited access to food and drinks along the Causeway between the two resorts. The Causeway Ticket and Beer Garden ticket allows access to the unlimited Causeway offerings as well as the Beer Garden. There are also a la carte ticketstickets for seminars, and a Sunday Bubbles Brunch.

Click here for Full Causeway Menus

Click here for Full Seminar Details

Have you attended the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic? Tell us about your experience! 

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