Food & Wine Experience at Gaylord Palms Resort

Gaylord Palms Food and Wine

I was recently treated by Gaylord Palms Resort to a “Dine Around” at the hotel and was quite impressed with the dining options and the staff.

Zen

Zen

I took dozens of food photos, which I’ll share with you soon, but in the meantime I wanted to let you know about the resort’s Food and Wine Experience:

This limited-availability package provides special all-inclusive experiences and itineraries that incorporate a visit to Epcot with other extraordinary culinary experiences that are not otherwise available to an Orlando visitor.

Old Hickory Steakhouse Cheese Selections

Old Hickory Steakhouse Cheese Selections

Enjoy intimate receptions, extraordinary winemaker’s dinners, special tastings, and chances to meet and interact with our resort chefs, beverage partners and culinary staff. In addition, a visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be supplemented back at the hotel with special materials, and unique culinary experiences available only to our guests.

Availability: October 16-18, 2009
Duration: 2 nights
Price: From $499 per person
To Book: This package is available by phone only. Please call (407) 586-2000 to make your reservations.

Villa de Flora

Villa de Flora

Gaylord Palms boasts several fantastic restaurants, including Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp, Villa de Flora, Sora (Sushi and wine bar), and the Old Hickory Steakhouse, where the chef is quite proud indeed of his favorite cheese cows!

I hope you get a chance to visit, but if you still need some convincing, stay tuned for my upcoming blog about my Dine Around at the resort.

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Taste of Puglia Seminars

he 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival features a wonderful, free-with-cost-of-admission seminar series called Taste of Puglia. Chefs from this region of Italy (Puglia — the heel of the Italian “boot”) visit the World Showcase outdoor kitchen several times daily to demonstrate cooking techniques and ingredients that make this region of Italy so famous. To see detailed recipes, click here.

Seminar Times for Taste of Puglia

Seminar Times for Taste of Puglia

Kitchen Set Up for Taste of Puglia

Kitchen Set Up for Taste of Puglia

On the day I visited, the chef was demonstrating her pasta-making technique. What I found very “authentic,” though some might find it distracting, was that the chef described the techniques in Italian, which was translated to the audience by an interpreter.

Chef Explains Flour Textures

Chef Explains Flour Textures

The Mirror Mounted Above the Cooking Surface Shows Detail

The Mirror Mounted Above the Cooking Surface Shows Detail

Close-Up View of the Dough

Close-Up View of the Dough

On the day I was there, and every time I’ve walked past the outdoor kitchen since, the seminars have been packed. It’s first-come-first-served, so consider arriving a bit early to ensure a seat.

Here’s a fantastic view of the finished product!

Finished Product

Finished Product

For more information and photos of the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index Page.

Look Who’s Celebrating the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

One of my favorite things to do during Epcot festivals is head over to the Germany Train Village and see what the people there are celebrating.

Germany Train Village

Right now, of course, they’ve got their Food and Wine Festival banners up, just like we do! You can see tiny Epcot Food and Wine Festival banners on the street lamp and the church…

Celebrating the Food and Wine Festival on the Street Lamps

Celebrating the Food and Wine Festival on the Street Lamps

And even on the farm!

A Banner Marks the Crops for the Festival

A Banner Marks the Crops for the Festival

Stay tuned for more 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival posts, including reviews of demonstrations, seminars, and events at this year’s Festival. In the meantime, check out our 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Index Page for links to all the latest information, photos, and posts.

2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: New Tastes From Rio and Bangkok

After attending the Michael McMillan (Opus 39 in St. Augustine, FL) Food and Wine Demonstration, I headed back into the stormy World Showcase to capture some tastes and photos of a few of the new items in this year’s festival.

Rio!
First stop was the Rio de Janiero booth, where I sampled the Grilled Pork Skewer with Farofa and grabbed a snapshot of the Shrimp Stew with Coconut and Lime and the Pave de Maracuja (Passion Fruit Mousse). I always feel sad that I can’t possibly try everything (the size of the stomach AND my wallet prevent it), so I’m usually begging the CMs at each booth to let me see and photograph the dishes. ;) The folks at Rio were fantastic, and let me gaze to my heart’s content.

I did actually get to sample the pork skewer, and found it somewhat lacking. After trying the lamb in Melbourne and some of the other meat-based dishes around the festival (like the gumbo in New Orleans), this was pretty bland — even with the dusting of farofa.

Rio de Janiero Menu

Rio de Janiero Menu

Shrimp Stew with Coconut and Lime

Shrimp Stew with Coconut and Lime

Pave de Maracuja

Pave de Maracuja

Pork Skewer with Farofa

Pork Skewer with Farofa

Pork Skewer inside

Pork Skewer inside

Bangkok
Next stop on the “new stuff we gotta see” tour was Bangkok, Thailand. Lots of folks have been wondering about the Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp, and the gang in Bangkok were kindly willing to put together a plate for me to photograph. I love Disney CMs.

Bangkok Booth

Bangkok Booth

Selecting the Shrimp

Selecting the Shrimp

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp

What the heck is Urumqi?
There was lots of confusion on this, so I asked for the low-down. Chicken Urumqi is a spicy chicken dish (explained as “chicken with cumin and traditional northwestern chinese spices”) that’s traditionally served like a kabob (on a stick). At the festival, however, it’s served plated. The spice “hot sauce” is a red pepper base, according to the Shanghai booth CMs.

Miscellaneous Shots
Along the way, I also grabbed a snapshot of some of the Mouse Catch Booth cheese, and “the making of” some Cape Town Seared Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Puree and Mango Barbecue Sauce (this is one I hope I have room in my stomach to try in the next couple of days!).

Mouse Catch cheese

Mouse Catch cheese

Seared Beef Tenderloin with Pureed Sweet Potatoes and Mango Barbecue Sauce

Seared Beef Tenderloin with Pureed Sweet Potatoes and Mango Barbecue Sauce

More photos and information coming up soon! I’m here for another few days…

To see more info and photos from the Food and Wine Festival, visit our 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Index Page.

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Festival Center

Whew! Back from another wonderful day at the Food and Wine Festival. I’ve got some great photos of the Festival Center for you! (For those who were asking, the Festival poster is $25.)

2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Center

Festival Center in the Wonders of Life Pavilion

Festival Center in the Wonders of Life Pavilion

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Center Map

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Center Map

You can check in with the Information Booth to make sure you know where you’re going and when seminars take place.

Information Booth

Information Booth

Wonders Theater (called “Authentic Tastes”) is where several of the seminars, such as Authors Without Borders, take place.

Wonders Theater

Wonders Theater

Visit the Wonders Bar for some samples (not free…)

Wonders Bar

Wonders Bar

Wonders Bar Menu

Wonders Bar Menu

You can experience Seasons of the Vine, a film describing the lifecycle of a vintage in California. This runs continuously every 10 minutes.

Seasons of the Vine Film

Seasons of the Vine Film

Film Description

Film Description

Head over to Tasteful Chapters for an array (a BIG array) of cookery books. This is where you can grab some of the books by authors being featured in the Authors Without Borders seminar series (and don’t forget to have them signed!) There’s also a little cafe with pastries and coffee.

Tasteful Chapters

Tasteful Chapters

The Chef’s Showcase is the section of the Center where Food and Wine demonstrations are done. Don’t forget that Food and Wine Pairings — the ones that were REALLY pricey — are done in actual restaurants.

Chef's Showcase

Chef's Showcase

The Vineyard is the presentation area where wine tastings take place. I don’t have a great photo of it here, but the entrance is the area directly in the middle of this photo — under the series of archways.

The Vineyard

The Vineyard

Finally, we come to The Cellar, which is where you can purchase wines mentioned throughout the Festival. There are also designated times for bottle signings (usually immediately after a wine presentation has been concluded).

The Cellar

The Cellar

For more information on the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit our Food and Wine Festival Index Page.

Food Post Weekly Round-Up: September 27th, 2009

Eat here
So much has happened this week! To start (and in case you missed them), check out my Kouzzina dinner review and photos post.

Then head over to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page to see:

Once you’re up to date on Food and Wine, check out these other fantastic posts from this week (and a couple that were carried over from last week):

Everything WDW reviews Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness

Scott Joseph Orlando breaks the news that Disney World is no longer serving all-beef hot dogs

BelleLovesTheBeast on SRSounds reviews Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Disneyland

etckt has created an Epcot Food and Wine Festival iphone application to help you make choices as you wind around the World Showcase

Orlando Sentinel’s The Dish posts a video of Cat Cora cooking in her new Boardwalk kitchen

Palm Beach Post Pulse takes a look at how Disney World has risen to Dining Destination status

OC Register posts a video of Disney employees learning in the Disney Culinary Academy

Samland has a photo pictoral and essay about the Napa Rose Patio at Disneyland’s Grand Californian

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Tequila Tasting Seminar

Tequila

“Welcome to La Cava del Tequila!” I was among the first group of taste-testers for the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival’s inaugural Tequila Tasting Seminar today, and I wanted to bring you along with me. So, shall we to Mexico?

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

The line was a little out of hand prior to the event, but sooner or later we were all checked off the list and seated in our assigned seats in the Cava.

Cava Seating and Mural

Cava Seating and Mural

Epcot’s Tequila Ambassador, Hilda Castillo, expertly led us through an informative and interesting seminar.

Hilda Castillo Leading the Seminar

Hilda Castillo Leading the Seminar

Hilda first described the background on Tequila, including its origin (Tequila, Mexico, where Hilda’s from), its source (Agave), its process, and its categories. There is a brilliant mural on the side wall of the Cava that depicts the life cycle of Tequila processing, including the growth of the Agave plant, the cooking down of the plants to create Agave juice, the fermentation into Agave wine, and the distillation of the Agave wine into Tequila.

A Section of the Cava del Tequila Mural

A Section of the Cava del Tequila Mural

From there, Hilda told us that we would be going through the tasting focusing on the following: Look (Sight), Aroma (Smell), and Flavor (Taste). She explained that different types of Tequila get their distinction based on the amount they’re aged. New Tequila, called “Blanco,” is very clear and very strong — think “gas fumes in your mouth,” because that’s what I tasted when we swished the Blanco Tequila! “Reposado,” or “rested” Tequila is a shade darker and significantly smoother than Blanco. Finally, the “Anejo,” or “aged” Tequila is a dark gold color and has a more “oil-like” consistency. This has the smoothest flavor of all.

Tequila Tasting Setting

Tequila Tasting Setting

Blanco

Reposado

Anejo

From there, Hilda led us through an aroma exercise. Because each type of Tequila had a specific aroma associated with it (lime with Blanco, cinnamon with Reposado, and coffee with Anejo), she had us smell a sample of the aroma before smelling each Tequila sample. Hilda showed us the three different ways to “perceive the aroma” of Tequila in order to gather the three different scents — sweet, alcohol-strong, and spicy/sweet — that are emitted.

Items to prime our noses for the Tequila aromas

Items to prime our noses for the Tequila aromas

Demonstrating one of the aroma techniques

Demonstrating one of the aroma techniques

Finally, we got to taste. Hilda began with the strongest of the three and moved on to the richest of the three. The Blanco Tequila exploded in my mouth. We were supposed to swish for five seconds, and that was practically impossible. This alcohol was so strong my tongue went numb.

The Reposado and Anejo went down much smoother, but based on my experience with the Blanco, I took MUCH smaller sips!

Once finished with the Flavor segment of the event, we were served three small appetizer tapas — shrimp cocktail, a crab tostada, and a chicken tostada — to complement our Tequila.

Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken Tostada, and Crab Tostada with corresponding Tequilas

Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken Tostada, and Crab Tostada with corresponding Tequilas

Overall, the event was lovely. Hilda is extremely knowledgeable and did a fantastic job as presenter, teacher, and adviser. I know that many of these are already sold out for the remainder of the festival, but if you get the chance, make a reservation (407-WDW-FEST). It’s a great experience!

I’ve copied out the Epcot Tequila Bar menu here. Happy perusing!

For more photos, links, and information from the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit our Food and Wine Festival Page!

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Today’s Food Photos!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival welcome

This post is part of our series of posts on the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Be sure to check out more of the posts in the series.

Hi all! I’ll be putting up separate posts all about today’s Tequila Tasting Seminar, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Center, the Taste of Puglia seminars, and the Festival Artwork artist — Tim Rogerson — with whom I had the chance to chat. For now, I wanted to share with you all of the delicious things I got the chance to try and see today. If your suggestion didn’t make it into this round of photos, don’t worry — I’ll get to it!

A radio station was broadcasting live from Epcot!

Radio Station Broadcasting Live

Radio Station Broadcasting Live

Around the World I go! Stopped in the San Juan booth for some Arroz con Pollo and Ham Croquettes.

San Juan Booth

San Juan Booth

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

Ham Croquettes from San Juan Booth

Ham Croquettes from San Juan Booth

Then it was next door to Santiago, Chile, for a taste of the Corn and Cheese Arepa and the Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie). I also had a chance to snap a photo of the Rock Shrimp Ceviche. I love that they put popcorn in this thing — the CM said it was a Chile tradition.

The Corn and Cheese Arepa was nothing to write home about (basically, a cornmeal pancake — rather grainy on the inside — with a sprinkling of cheese), but the Alfajor was amazing. Served chilled, this little cookie was one of the superstars for me today.

Santiago Chile Menu

Santiago Chile Menu

Ceviche

Ceviche

Dulce de Leche Cookie

Dulce de Leche Cookie

Had to show you a pic of the delicious filling

Had to show you a pic of the delicious filling

Santiago, Chile, Corn and Cheese Arepe

Santiago, Chile, Corn and Cheese Arepe

Inside the Corn and Cheese Arepe

Inside the Corn and Cheese Arepe

Next came the first of two baklavas taste-tested today (thanks for the suggestion of the Baklava Throwdown!). I’m going to write the Baklava Throwdown as a separate post, but for now, here are photos of the Marrkesh Baklava and the Athens Baklava. Which do YOU think is better?

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Athens

Athens Baklava

Athens Baklava

Marrakesh Booth

Marrakesh Booth

Marrakesh Baklava

Marrakesh Baklava

I also snapped some shots of the New York State wines booth, as I’m such a giant fan of ice wine…

Wines of New York

Wines of New York

New York State wines menu

New York State wines menu

The ice wine is all the way to the right...

The ice wine is all the way to the right...

And I got the chance to chat with Tim Rogerson, the Festival Poster Artist. I’ll write a separate blog about his work, but I snapped a fun photo of Tim with his original masterpiece. (Note: I’ll grab the price on the poster tomorrow.)

Tim Rogerson with his original painting

Tim Rogerson with his original painting

Then it was over to New Orleans for a bit of some AMAZING Chicken and Andouille Gumbo and Praline Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce. I can’t tell you how many happy noises I made while chowing down on these two dishes. The Praline Bread Pudding tasted like a sugar-soaked monkey bread with the perfect crunch of sugar caramelization on the top. The Gumbo was spicy and flavorful — a meal in itself.

New Orleans Booth and Menu

New Orleans Booth and Menu

New Orleans Praline Bread Pudding

New Orleans Praline Bread Pudding

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I realized that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was about to perform at the Eat to the Beat Concert, so I popped in to listen to the first song. I’d seen them in concert back in the 90’s, so it was fun to reminisce!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Announcement

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Announcement

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Continuing my tour, I headed to Melbourne, Australia, for a bite of Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, and Murray River Sea Salt.

Melbourne, Australia Booth

Melbourne, Australia Booth

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt

Finally, I headed over to the China booth to try a Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler. This drink was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend it to anyone. In fact, I liked it so much, I went back and got a photo of the Plum Wine bottle! Also got a shot of the rice pancake.

Shanghai, China Booth

Shanghai, China Booth

Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler, China

Green Tea Plum Wine Cooler, China

Plum Wine

Plum Wine

The Plum Wine pour and some rice pancakes in the China booth

The Plum Wine pour and some rice pancakes in the China booth

Whew!! I hope you’re still with me! I’ll be back tomorrow with more — and stay tuned for my Tequila Tasting Seminar post coming soon!

First Look!: 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Entrance

Just returned from my first stroll around the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Tarps were being rolled up on the booths, food was being prepared, and merchandise was out en force. It’s shaping up to be a wonderful Festival.

In the meantime, I’ll keep adding links to my main Food and Wine Festival page; you can always look there for the latest.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the preparations that are happening and a couple food pics that I was lucky enough to snag. Here we go!

Foodie City Banners Line the Walkways

Foodie City Banners Line the Walkways

Food and Wine figures direct you to the Festival Center — the Wonders of Life pavilion:

Pointing to the Festival Center at the Wonders of Life Pavilion

Pointing to the Festival Center at the Wonders of Life Pavilion

Don’t forget to grab your Food and Wine Festival wrist gift card!

Wrist Gift Card

Wrist Gift Card

Champagne and desserts booth looked fantastic!

Champagne and Desserts was ready to go

Champagne and Desserts was ready to go

Yum!

Yum!

Headed over to Cork, Ireland, for a taste of some yummy cheese and apple chutney!

Cork, Ireland Booth

Cork, Ireland Booth

Kerrygold® Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread

Kerrygold® Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread

The Marrakesh, Morocco, booth was displaying some wonderful options!

Marrakesh, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco dishes

Marrakesh, Morocco dishes

Books Being Sold at Morocco Booth

Books Being Sold at Morocco Booth

Cape Town smelled AMAZING as I wandered by — they were putting together the seared beef tenderloin with sweet potato puree and mango BBQ sauce!

Cape Town was rustling up some great-smelling grub

Cape Town was rustling up some great-smelling grub

Sweet Potato Puree for the Seared Beef Tenderloin

Sweet Potato Puree for the Seared Beef Tenderloin

Seared Beef Tenderloin

Seared Beef Tenderloin

I even got a chance to sample an avocado margarita while I was checking out La Cava del Tequila!

Thanks, Rafael!

Thanks, Rafael!

Paris was unloading boxes when I first walked by, but in early afternoon they were “cookin’!”

Paris was up and running

Paris was up and running

...and serving escargot!

...and serving escargot!

Some of the booths, including New Delhi, displayed plants and herbs from which they took flavorings.

New Delhi booth

New Delhi booth

Peppers!

Peppers!

CMs from Canada and Italy were very excited to share their countries’ foods (and bevvies)!

The Moosehead Tap in the Montreal Booth

The Moosehead Tap in the Montreal Booth

CMs in the Bologna, Italy booth were having a great time

CMs in the Bologna, Italy booth were having a great time

Can’t wait to try this one out tomorrow!

The flavorhood

The flavorhood

Flavors at the Flavorhood

Flavors at the Flavorhood

And the Eat to the Beat pavilion is all ready to go.

Eat to the Beat is ready to rock

Eat to the Beat is ready to rock

Hope you liked today’s photos! More to come!!

Also, I’m looking for your suggestions. I can’t eat everything at the festival, and I’d love to hear what you’d like me to sample and photograph while I’m here. Take a look at the booth menus and let me know via facebook, twitter, or email. Hopefully you have some ideas, because I need direction! Everything looks too good!

2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Merchandise

Some great merchandise available this year! Here’s a sneak peek!

One of the many Festival Shops

One of the many Festival Shops

These are my favorite item. They’re messenger bags recycled from last year’s banners. Once they’re gone, they’re GONE! Get one soon!

Messenger Bags recycled from last year's banners

Messenger Bags recycled from last year's banners

Recycled Messenger Bag

Recycled Messenger Bag

Recycled Messenger Bag

Recycled Messenger Bag

This year’s Cookbook! I really like the styling of this.

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Cookbook

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Cookbook

A couple of recipes in the book

A couple of recipes in the book

Pins and T-shirts! This year’s designs offer men’s and women’s styles — and plenty of them! There’s a great selection this year; everyone will find something they like.

This year's pins

This year's pins

epcot food and wine festival tshirt

These depict this year's theme artwork

These depict this year's theme artwork

Women's shirt

Women's shirt

And other items…

Another t-shirt option and the tote bags

Another t-shirt option and the tote bags

Coasters, notecards, and wine charms

Coasters, notecards, and wine charms