News! Tickets Now on Sale for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin’s Food and Wine Classic

Back by popular demand, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will once again be hosting its popular Food and Wine Classic!

fw-Logo

Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31, as the Classic celebrates its sixth year! Once again in 2015, the Food and Wine Classic will take place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival — offering you two wonderful ways to enjoy the food of Disney!

There’s so much to enjoy at this event. Let’s take a closer look at all it has to offer.

The Causeway

Stroll the beautiful Causeway connecting the Swan and Dolphin as you enjoy tapas-sized plates from the resort’s restaurants.

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to sample wine and beer from all around the world. The menu is diverse, celebrating the wide array of food that the Swan and Dolphin has to offer.

Shula's Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

Shula’s Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

We can’t wait to see what spots like Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House offer in 2015!

And there are always a few fun surprises, like Chef Cib’s Smokehouse. Live music plays as evening falls, so bring your dancing shoes. :-)

Food and Beverage Seminars

The 6th Annual Food and Wine Classic will also play host to several Seminars. Choose from [Read more…]

News! 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule Preliminary Dates

Here we goooooo, Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans!

Food and Wine Festival Updates

We’ve got the first word on a few Eat to the Beat concert line-up listings ALREADY for 2015!

For those of you who may not know, Eat to the Beat is an Epcot concert series that takes place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, running this year from September 25-November 16. The series features musical acts from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s each year, and concerts take place throughout most evenings of the Festival.

Since this partial list is preliminary, be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog for additions and/or changes to the schedule! We will bring you all the latest news first!

Eat to the Beat concerts are performed three times per evening, so you have three chances each night to see your favorites — 5:30PM, 6:45PM, and 8:00PM!

eat-to-the-beat-logo

2015 Eat to the Beat Concert Line Up!

Note that this schedule is subject to change.

October 2-4 – Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas
October 10-11 – 38 Special
October 19-21 – Air Supply

Taking in an Eat to the Beat Concert is a great way to unwind and continue the fun of the Food and Wine Festival into the evening.

All concerts take place in the American Gardens Theater at Epcot’s America Pavilion. Concerts are free — included in the price of your Epcot admission!

Many folks plan [Read more…]

Celebrate National Margarita Day Tomorrow, Walt Disney World Style!

We are happy to start a little early celebrating National Margarita Day tomorrow, February 22! Now, this is a holiday I can get behind!!!

If you’ve been here for any amount of time at all, then you know I lurve a good Margarita. (If you’re new here at DFB — welcome…and FYI, I love margaritas!) And some of my very favorites can be found right at Walt Disney World.

Grab some limes and tequila and let’s take a look at our must-drink margs!

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

The AguacateAvocado Margarita — from La Cava del Tequila has been one of my very favorites from the first time I sampled it!

It’s a wonderful, made-to-order concoction that blends Avocado, Lime Juice, White Tequila, and Melon Liqueur for a flavor that’s like no other!

Avocado Margarita

Avocado Margarita

My favorite thing about this drink is the perfect balance of the creamy consistency with a sweet flavor — not to mention the tequila :-). A little Agave Nectar and the liqueur balance the flavors nicely.

And thanks to an awesome reader, you and I can even make this one at home today with this recipe, and celebrate this holiday in style!

Blood Orange Margarita at Flying Fish Cafe

Blood Orange is one of my favorite flavors. After all, with the complex, less sweet, almost bitter taste it imparts, it’s a little more interesting than plain old orange…orange.

And it’s especially delicious when paired with other flavors in a margarita. We’ve enjoyed versions of this festive cocktail at San Angel Inn Ristorante, but my favorite one can be found at Flying Fish Cafe.

Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Orange Margarita

If you’re anything like me, if you order this, it’ll be gone pretty quickly! SO good!

Italian Margarita at Via Napoli

One thing that you can count on at Disney when it comes to food and drink is a fun, fusion approach to some of your favorites. Case in point: the Italian Margarita in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion!

I first discovered this delicious drink at Via Napoli, the Italy Pavilion’s fantastic spot for pizza.

Italian Margarita

Italian Margarita

But it’s proven to be so popular, it’s also been available at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in recent years! And fortunately, you can still order it at Italy’s Gelato Stand.

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival's Italy Booth!

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival’s Italy Booth!

Flavored with a smooth combination of [Read more…]

News! Dates for the 2015 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Announced

We have more exciting news for you today about upcoming Fall events in Walt Disney World!

Print

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has announced the dates for their 6th Annual Food and Wine Classic.

Circle Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31, 2015 on your calendars!

For the second year in a row, the Swan and Dolphin will hold the popular event on Halloween weekend.

The Food and Wine Classic also coincides with the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which will take place September 25 – November 16, 2015.

The Causeway on a Beautiful Fall Evening During the 2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

The Causeway on a Beautiful Fall Evening During the 2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

The Beer Garden, which was first introduced in 2014, is returning, and will offer a wide range of beers from all over the world as well as local brews! In addition, guests can enjoy more than 40 tasting stations featuring dishes from the resort’s 17 restaurants and lounges as well as more than 30 wineries!

I know it seems so far away right now, but it will be here before you know it! And since this is the 20th year for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, we expect there to be some super big doin’s happening around Disney at that time! (Remember when you used to go to Disney World and schedule a wake-up call and Mickey would call you and say “Big Doin’s Going On!” Yeah. That was awesome.)

Preparing Scallops Perfectly for a Crowd

Preparing Scallops Perfectly for a Crowd

Stay tuned for [Read more…]

News! 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival DATES!

Allright, Food & Wine Festival fans… we have some NEWS for you today!

Food & Wine Festival

Food & Wine Festival

Dates for the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival have been added to the Disney World website! The dates are (drum roll, please)

September 25 – November 16, 2015!

Get the most updated news on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and MORE!

Get the most updated news on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and MORE!

Once again in 2015, the Festival is running for seven weeks! Unlike last year, however, the additional week is extending the Festival further into the month of November (as opposed to starting one week earlier than usual, as in 2014). As always — note that these dates are subject to change.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival page on Disney website

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival page on Disney website

An additional week in the cooler fall temps… what’s not to love?!? And this is just the beginning. Keep your eyes on the Disney Food Blog and the DFB Newsletter as we prepare for what WE consider the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!!

Want to Start Planning Your Food and Wine Festival Trip TODAY?

The DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available for pre-order!

This 250+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever.

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Pre-order your 2015 edition today, and download the 2014 guide for FREE — immediately — to get started on planning! We’ll send the 2015 Edition as soon as it’s published mid-Summer!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a $3 discount!

Are you excited for news about this year’s Food & Wine Festival? Please let us know with a comment!

DFB Exclusive! 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Sweet Corn Cheesecake from the Mexico Marketplace

AAAAAH!! I am so excited to share this DFB exclusive!

We may have closed the books on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, but we’re still reliving the memories of one of the best Festivals we remember from recent years! And, NO JOKE, I get emails, tweets, facebook messages, what-have-you EVERY SINGLE DAY from readers asking me for the recipe for the Sweet Corn Cheesecake, the dessert item featured at this year’s Mexico Marketplace Booth.

Sweet Corn Cheesecake

Sweet Corn Cheesecake

The sweet, rich, creamy dessert was the perfect marriage of the familiar and the unexpected for our readers, and everyone’s all about figuring out how to make it at home.

Sweet Corn Cheesecake -- Cross Section

Sweet Corn Cheesecake — Cross Section

Well, the wait is over! Thanks to the super generous and ever accommodating Chef Gerardo Gonzalez (a.k.a. Chef Jerry), who oversees all of the restaurants in the Mexico Pavilion (and who I may have bugged a little incessantly about giving me this recipe…and the one for the amazing Crema de Elote at La Hacienda de San Angel…still waiting on that one, Chef Jerry…), for sharing it with us and allowing us to print it for you lot!

Sweet Corn Cheesecake

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Mexico Marketplace Booth

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

[Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Vegetarian Moussaka at the Greece Marketplace Booth

We have more delicious eats for you today from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Disney has been lauded in the past for their commitment to serving guests who have special dietary needs. Whether you’re gluten free, vegetarian, or have other food sensitivities, your choices throughout Walt Disney World have been steadily increasing.

We’ve also seen this emphasis at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. For the last few years, an entire Marketplace Booth, Terra, has been devoted to a vegan menu.

But beyond Terra, you’ll also find vegetarian offerings scattered throughout the other Marketplaces. (See the full listing of Festival Vegetarian options here, and a list of Festival Gluten Free options here.)

One of our very favorites was introduced this year — Vegetarian Moussaka.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Vegetarian Moussaka

A layered dish customarily consisting of Eggplant and/or Potatoes, a rich Meat Filling, and Béchamel, it’s a comforting dish that’s especially perfect for the cold weather months.

Vegetarian Moussaka --Inside

Vegetarian Moussaka –Inside

No lie — I have been dreaming about this dish since I first tasted it at the Food and Wine Preview dinner last Summer. When I had a chance to sample it once again at the Greece Marketplace Booth, it was just as amazing! It is truly one of the most delicious and satisfying vegetarian entrees I have ever tasted.

And now, you and I can both make it at home! Perfect for the next time you’d like to offer a meatless meal, this hearty casserole will please even the most die-hard meat eaters.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Greece Marketplace Booth

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

Meatless Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 (11-ounce) packages meatless crumbles
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
2 cups vegetable stock
coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Béchamel Sauce: [Read more…]

Review: Chef Gale Gand’s Culinary Salted Caramel Brownies Demo at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food and Wine Festival fans always anticipate the announcement of the Culinary Demonstrations: low-cost events where guests can enjoy presentations by a Disney or celebrity chef.

Food and Wine Festival demonstration kitchen

Food and Wine Festival demonstration kitchen

This year, I took the opportunity to purchase a $15 ticket to see Chef Gale Gand: pastry chef, author of cookbooks, 8-year host of the Food Network’s “Sweet Dreams,” as well as a founding partner of the restaurant Tru in Chicago (among a bajillion other accomplishments!).

I chose Chef Gand’s session because I love to bake. But I still consider myself a novice with just a few trusty recipes under my belt, and I don’t tend to stray from those. So, I was interested to find out upon arrival that Chef Gand would be sharing her recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies with those of us in the audience.

Before Chef Gand came to the stage, we enjoyed a presentation by a Master Sommelier who spoke about the choice of wine that we would enjoy with Chef Gand’s creation.

Master Sommelier

Master Sommelier

It really was interesting to hear him speak about the incredibly intense learning and examination process that it takes to become a Master Sommelier. But even with his depth of knowledge and expertise, I was happy to hear him share his favorite piece of advice when it comes to wine selection: “Drink what you like, when you like, with whom you like.” Works for me!

Viognier from Cambria Winery

Viognier from Cambria Winery

In this case, what we were drinking was the Tepusquet Vineyard Viognier from the Cambria Winery. Our Master Sommelier led us through the process of picking up the tropical, fruity notes in the aroma, and the floral notes in the flavor. I can’t claim to have picked up on all that on my own ;). As someone who prefers white wines over red, I can just say I enjoyed the glass.

When Chef Gale Gand arrived on stage, she greeted the audience with a smile and immediately continued in the personable, light-hearted tone set by the Sommelier.

Chef Gale Gand

Chef Gale Gand

She also greeted us with a surprise: today, she would be demonstrating two recipes. Even though this was a pastry demonstration, Chef Gand started with [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Food for Thought with Chef Rick Bayless

With a full week plus a weekend, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, going on right now at Walt Disney World!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Today, I’m back to tell you about one of the Food and Wine Festival Special Events I had the opportunity to attend recently.

While I love spending time strolling the Promenade around World Showcase and taking in all of the fantastic food and drink, there’s so much more to the Festival than the International Marketplace Booths.

Each year, I also enjoy attending a sampling of the Low Cost Demonstrations and Seminars as well as Festival Special Events. And one of the biggest highlights is enjoying time with chefs whom we’ve admired in an up close and personal way!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to attend Food For Thought, a Festival Special Event that’s new for 2014. Replacing the Kitchen Memories series from past years, Food For Thought events allow guests to hear the story of a favorite chef before he or she walks the audience through a demonstration of dishes.

Food For Though at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Food For Though at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

I was so excited when I learned that one of my favorites, Chef Rick Bayless, would be rejoining the Festival line up after an absence of several years! Bayless is the Chef and Owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, in addition to a collection of quick casual dining spots.

In addition, he’s about to begin the tenth season of his critically acclaimed PBS cooking show Mexico — One Plate at a Time. You can also find his line of Frontera Food Products throughout the country.

At My Place Setting

My Place Setting

Join me as we listen into his conversation with Disney’s Pam Smith, and watch as he puts his apron on and provides us with a dose of kitchen wisdom via authentic Mexican flavors.

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless

My husband and I have followed the career of Rick Bayless for a while. We were first inspired to explore authentic Mexican cuisine by cooking our way through his books. Having the opportunity to hear more about his journey in such an intimate setting was a great way to spend the morning.

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless and Disney's Pam Smith

Food For Thought with Chef Rick Bayless and Disney’s Pam Smith

If you’ve watched his PBS series Mexico — One Plate at a Time, then you know that Chef Rick excels at telling a good story and conveying the excitement of an experience. That combination, along with his wry sense of humor, made for an interesting chat session. Having grown up working in his family’s restaurant, his passion for Mexican cuisine was born out of his study of and love for that country’s rich culture.

Chatting with Chef Rick Bayless

Chatting with Chef Rick Bayless

Soon, however, it was time to turn our attention to the food! At that point, Chef Rick and Pam made their way to the exhibition kitchen for a demonstration of the food and drink we’d be sampling.

Cooking Demonstration

While a big draw of Food for Thought is getting to hear the backstory of a culinary notable, the event also makes for a delicious morning, as the featured chef shares a few of his recipes.

Menu

Menu

It’s always fun to see what the suggested pairings are for courses during an event. Typically, guests enjoy a few different wines with tasting portions of dishes, but on this occasion, we had the chance to enjoy a beer pairing instead. A glass of Negra Modelo stood at each place setting.

Negra Modelo Beer

Negra Modelo Beer

Normally, servings are tasting portions, but we enjoyed a full glass of beer as we’d be pairing it with each of the three courses. In addition, we learned how we might use the beer to create a delicious Fall-themed [Read more…]

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 [Read more…]