News: Tutto Italia Offers Prix Fixe Lunch Option This Summer

Fans of Epcot’s Italy Pavilion can take advantage of a new menu offering this Summer. As temps heat up, Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy’s traditional table service restaurant, is adding a prix fixe lunch option.

The price for the three-course meal will be $27, and will include your choice of soft drink or iced tea as well.

© Tutto Italia

© Tutto Italia

As with other prix fixe meals within Epcot’s World Showcase restaurants, guests may choose from a list of several options for appetizer, entree, and dessert. Here’s a quick look at the choices! [Read more…]

Our Favorite Epcot Restaurants

We are big fans of Epcot around here, just like you are. It may not be the original Disney World Park, but it holds a charm that few other spots in the Disney universe can. After all, walking around there feels like  you’ve stepped into the dreams of Walt Disney himself. It didn’t start life as the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow for nothing!

Epcot!!!

Epcot!!!

The park has evolved a bit through the years, but we’re still enchanted by its dual personalities: Future World, celebrating technology and the promise of what’s to come; and World Showcase, which encourages visitors to embrace cultures from around the globe in order to learn from them. [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip: Look Before You Buy

Sometimes, friends, it’s best to look before you buy…

Case in point: I’ve always enjoyed spying this charming snack cart hosted by Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion whenever it comes out (sometimes it’s tucked away in less busy seasons). It’s affectionately known as the “Donkey Cart,” ‘cuz… well, DONKEY!

Stand in Epcot's Italy

Stand in Epcot’s Italy

For a small stand with limited selections, the artwork is also pretty great. Seriously, you should check it out. [Read more…]

Disney Holiday Preview: Celebrating Christmas Throughout the World at Epcot

I love the riches of tradition that take place throughout Epcot during Holidays Around the World.

Christmas Comes to World Showcase

Christmas Comes to World Showcase

And one of my favorite holiday rituals is learning about how others celebrate this important time of the year.

We all know about Santa in the United States and other countries, Père Noël  in France, and Father Christmas in the UK. Today, I thought we could take a look at some of the other Christmas traditions celebrated in the lands of World Showcase. And of course, we’ll be snacking along the way as well. :-)
[Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

One word: PIZZA!

Two more: VIA NAPOLI!!

Okay, so we’re having more than “just pizza” at Via Napoli today (even though it still easily takes the top spot on our Best Pizza in Disney World list by a mile). We’ll also be trying some soups, pasta… and maybe even a little vino while we’re at it.

No matter what I order, though, I look forward to my Advance Dining Reservation for Via Napoli — tucked in the back of Epcot’s Italy Pavilion — on every Disney World trip without fail (especially when my husband’s with me — this is a MUST for him). Not only does it serve up the Best Pizza in all of Disney World, but it also earns gold stars in my book for a pretty rare accolade from me: it is consistently good food.

Via Napoli Window

Via Napoli Window

[Read more…]

Dining Details: Wall Murals at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

It just goes to show… you can visit Disney World a million and one times (and I’ve got to be coming up close to that number ;) ), and still notice something new every time.

I’m a fan of Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion. Not only does it serve the best pizza in Disney World; it’s become a tradition for us.

So how is it, then, that I only noticed this incredibly cool detail on my most recent visit? OK, at least I THINK it’s a cool detail. I might be totally making it up, but I could super see Disney Imagineers doing this on purpose.

Look at this orange tree as seen through one of the restaurant’s windows.

Orange Tree outside the window

Orange Tree outside the window

And now check out the fresco painting on the wall right next to it.

Wall mural next to the window

Wall mural next to the window

Hmmmm…. Looks similar, right?

I think this may be a continuation, bringing the [Read more…]

Review: Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

It’s time once again to look in on one of my favorite “hidden” spots in Epcot — Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar!

Tutto Gusto, located on the left as you travel through the Italy Pavilion toward Via Napoli at the back, hasn’t been open for very long. But in the short span of three years, Tutto Gusto has become a part of the fabric of World Showcase.

With its commitment to offering small plates that feature authentic Italian cuisine, Tutto Gusto has continued to be a DFB favorite. But you know me — I’m never content to continue recommending a spot unless I know for sure that it still  deserves to be recommended!

So, in the name of research, a friend and I headed there to grab a light dinner during a recent visit to Walt Disney World. We tried some new things and revisited some favorites. Let’s check it out.

Atmosphere

Although the sign for Tutto Gusto is perched high and prominent, it’s still sort of easy to miss it if you aren’t looking for it. You may mistake it for another entrance to neighboring Tutto Italia, if you notice it at all.

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

The entrance sits back a little, but Cast Members are usually flanking the door, and you’ll also notice the menus posted outside. Pay attention and you’ll find it.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Walk in and (after your eyes adjust to the darkened area) you’ll notice that the bar is front and center, serving as the small venue’s main feature.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Wine is king here, but you’ll also find an increasingly interesting array of Italian craft beers. Tutto Gusto also offers a full liquor bar. Check out the Italian-inspired cocktail menu, or order your favorite. Whatever you’re looking for, they can make it.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Because this is a wine bar, however, much of the real estate is given over to vino. Amuse yourself as you wait by checking out the ever-changing variety of Italian wines that are available by the glass or bottle.

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

But Tutto Gusto has more to offer than just beverages. From the get go, I prized this spot for their amazing array of small plates. There’s a display of some of the offerings to whet your appetite.

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

As is usually the case when you’re dining anywhere in the Disney universe, be sure to look up! The details of a spot usually include some really cool lighting, and Gusto is no exception.

Wine Bottle Lighting

Wine Bottle Lighting

You will find that Tutto Gusto can reach capacity rather easily — hence those Cast Members stationed at the doors. There isn’t a ton of seating here, but what you do find is rustic, cozy, and fairly comfortable. It is a little “close”, however, so if you prize privacy or personal space, you may want to look at the couch options.

Gusto Table

Gusto Table

Speaking of…you’ll find more comfy seating flanking the fireplace, another nice focal point in the small space.

Gusto Fireplace Area

Gusto Fireplace Area

Tables and stools here are low and well padded. It’s a great place to relax and catch up with friends, or to just take a breather from the bright sunshine.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

And it truly is a beautiful location. Personally, I think they hit the themeing out of the park. Don’t you love the brick ceiling?

Tutto Gusto Seating

Tutto Gusto Seating

Having shown you around, I’m ready to get down to the serious business of [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: December 11, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Disney World!! The season is rolling right along with festive treats and special events. And, as always, there’s plenty of other food news to go around: menu changes, new eats (did somebody say “Barbecued Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese?!”), completed refurbishments, ongoing Downtown Disney construction, and more. So join us on another trip around the World to see What’s New

EPCOT

Holidays Around the World is in full swing at Epcot! This annual festival shares holiday traditions from around the globe through story, music, and — our favorite! — FOOD!

Happy Holidays from EPCOT!

Happy Holidays from EPCOT!

Epcot Christmas tree ornaments

Epcot Christmas tree ornaments

Holiday Storyteller in Japan

Holiday Storyteller in Japan

France decoration

France decoration

Remember, this is the only time of year to grab such treats as Happy Face Fried Cakes at the Joy of Tea in China, Gingerbread Ice Cream at L’artisan des Glaces in France, and Panettone sweet bread at Italy’s Gelato Stand.

Happy Face Fried Cakes

Happy Face Fried Cakes

Gingerbread Ice Cream

Gingerbread Ice Cream

Panettone Sweet Bread display

Panettone Sweet Bread display

But there’s plenty of non-holiday food news as well… Starting in Morocco, Spice Road Table has not only started taking Advance Dining Reservations — they’re also now accepting the Disney Dining Plan.

To offer guests the ability to maximize their one Table Service plan credit, this tapas-based restaurant is now also serving full-sized entrees, including Coriander Crusted Rack of Lamb, Roasted Chicken, and a Mediterranean Vegetable Platter, among others.

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table menu

Spice Road Table menu

Staying in Morocco, Tangierine Cafe debuted new entrees as well: a Meatball Platter and Saffron Rotisserie Chicken.

Tangierine Cafe menu

Tangierine Cafe menu

Tangierine Cafe entree display

Tangierine Cafe entree display

At the United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room, the [Read more…]

Review: Tiramisu at the Gelato Stand in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Could it be true? We’re stopping by the Gelato Stand in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion and not having gelato?!

If you’re not familiar with this understated kiosk, the main draw here is, obviously, gelato ;) . You can have your choice of flavor served in a cup or cone, or enjoy one of the “Gelato Creations” like the Coppa Delizia or the Espresso Gelato Affogato. There’s also the gelato sandwiches, made with chocolate chip cookies. And a selection of wine and beer is also available, along with a few specialty coffee beverages and Italian sodas.

But there are a couple of sweet concoctions here that tend to fly under the radar against all that gelato goodness, so we thought we’d shine a light on one of those today: the Tiramisu.

Italy's Gelato Stand

Italy’s Gelato Stand

Alongside the Cannoli also found at this spot, Tiramisu is a well-known Italian dessert featuring layers of mascarpone cream and Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers) dipped in espresso and dusted with cocoa.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

This tiramisu is light and creamy, but packed with flavor thanks to the espresso and the layer of cocoa on top.

Side view of Tiramisu

Side view of Tiramisu

I don’t think there’s [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Italian Food and Beer Pairing Lunch at Via Napoli

We are less than one month from the start of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and it will be here before you know it!

food and wine festival logo

Today, we are anticipating some of our favorite Special Events. While we love the Marketplace Booths and Low-Cost Demonstrations and Seminars, it’s fun to splurge once in a while on a few of the Special Events, culinary experiences that take place throughout the festival.

Much is made of wine — after all, this is a food and wine festival. But in recent years, Epcot has expanded its offerings to lovers of cocktails and beer as well.

The opportunity to try craft beers and brews from all around the globe is especially exciting. So let’s take a closer look today at one of the events that is especially geared toward beer lovers — The Italian Food and Beer Pairing Lunch.

Italian Food and Beer Pairing Lunch at Epcot’s Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

I attended this event during its inaugural year. While the food was delicious and the beer servings were generous, we were disappointed by the event format. It was basically a luncheon with none of the presentation or explanation that we’ve come to expect with these types of events.

We were anxious to try again though, and last year I was able to attend the event again.

Italian Beers and Bottles

Italian Beers and Bottles

We arrived at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria a little early for the event. That’s always a good idea so that you can scope out the venue — especially at a place that is still functioning as a regular restaurant while the event is going on. It’s not always easy to find the registration desk for the event versus the regular check-in line for the restaurant!

While I’ve had trouble with this particular distinction at Via Napoli before (they usually have people check in for the Food and Wine events at the regular check-in desk), on this visit they had the registration desk separate.

Arriving for the Event

Arriving for the Event

That said, the sign was a little confusing. Apparently, it’s doing double-duty for both the Beer Pairings and the Wine Pairings. Our event included only beer; there isn’t a combo event, for those of you who are wondering. :-)

We were greeted by one of the managers, who showed us to the area where the event would take place.

Presenter Guy

Via Napoli’s Manager Greeted Guests

We found our tables set with all of the glassware that we’d need for four courses. There was also fresh Bread with Olive Oil for dipping to get us started. Note that seating seemed to be assigned at this event. I’ve found that to be the case at more and more food and wine events these days.

The Table is Set

The Table is Set

Individual menus made for handy references throughout the meal and great souvenirs after it was complete.

Place Setting

Place Setting

Before we got started, I had a few moments to acquaint myself with the other guests seated at my table (another good reason to arrive a bit early!). I also had a chance to look over the menu.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

It seems that the Italy Culinary team have gotten the memo; our event included [Read more…]