Guest Review: New Jiko Wine Tasting

Welcome to Jenn Lazzaro (whom you’ve seen here before by way of her gorgeous photos), who’s treating us to her review of the brand new Jiko Wine Tasting happening on Wednesdays at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! Take it away, Jenn!

When I first heard that Jiko was starting up wine pairing Wednesday afternoons, I immediately grabbed a calendar to see if any of them coincided with trip in May. Sure enough, one did! Jiko is hands down one of my top two favorite restaurants on Disney property (the other is Citricos), so I couldn’t make a reservation quick enough.

Booking and Background

According to the Disney Parks Blog:

With one of the finest collections of South African wines in the U.S., sommeliers at Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge love sharing tastes. Each Wednesday from 3-4 p.m., take a journey through the wine regions of South Africa and sample three delicious vintages paired with cheese and fruit. Cost is $25 plus tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made at 407-WDW-DINE.

Before even asking my other friends if they wanted to join me, I immediately called the Jiko reservation line that was given and left a message with my information that was requested. Within a few hours, I had a confirmation email from one of the Cast Members of Jiko confirming my reservation and letting me know that I can add guests with just a simple email back to her.

After all was said and done, there were 4 of us wanting to attend the wine pairing. We arrived at Jiko a little early and they were still setting up, so we wandered for a bit. After seeing other guests waiting by the bar area, we wandered back and hung out with the crowd.

Atmosphere and Tasting

The sommelier came around to each group to check us in. We were then ushered into the main dining room of Jiko where we all took our seats around a single long table, which sat around 16 or 18 people. The wines were already placed at each seat on top of a place mat that listed the name of each wine sample. As guests started to greet and meet each other, the cheeses were quickly laid in center of the table.

Tasting Wines

I’d wanted to take photos of everything before we were told we could start eating but, unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough. One of the Jiko chefs came to our table to explain the cheeses that we would be having [Read more…]

African Inspired Meals in Walt Disney World — Tusker House

Jambo! Join me in welcoming Disney guru Mary Jo Collins and Disney World Moms Panelist Bernie Edwards back to the blog! In this article they’ll share with us various locations to enjoy an African Inspired Meal at Walt Disney World. We also get a close-up look at the Tusker House restaurant. Twende! Let’s go!

Theming Outside Animal Kingdom's Tusker House

Visiting the Walt Disney World Resort has become synonymous with the enjoyment of great dining at restaurants both inside and outside the theme parks. For many of us, these meals lend us the opportunity to experience exotic foods from exotic places.

African Food in Disney World
Fortunately for guests of Walt Disney World, African cuisine is showcased in a variety of table service restaurants offering a peek at the food that has been influenced by the marinade of cultures, colonies, trade routes and history of this land. To describe or categorize what African food is in a few words would be impossible.

The cuisine is as varied in Africa as the cuisine of any large continent. The continent’s regions each have significant differences in their own distinctive dishes and preparation techniques. However, in Africa the various cuisines traditionally combine [Read more…]

News: Wine Tastings and Wine Dinners at Jiko

South African Wine at Jiko

Where do you go to enjoy one of the finest South African wine collections on the North American continent? Jiko-The Cooking Place at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World! Sommeliers at Jiko have great reason to boast about their vintages!

Thankfully, they enjoy sharing their knowledge (and wine!) with guests.

Jiko Wine Tastings
On Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., stop by Jiko to sample three South African wines paired with cheese and fruit.
The cost is $25 plus tax and gratuity and you should make a reservation by calling 407-938-7149.

Jiko Wine Dinners
Looking for South African wines paired with incredible cuisines? There are six dinners planned where guests will savor their meals while the winemakers and chef are on hand to describe each course!

May 4 – Post House Winery with Nick Geber. The Post House farm is part of a popular winery in South Africa’s Stellenbosch region.

June 8 – This meal features winemaker Alex Dale, founder of [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 10, 2011

Casey's New Specialty Hot Dogs

I’ve been having fun sharing my latest restaurant reviews and there’s lots more on the way from our March trip to Disney World.

Plus, stay tuned this week for a 2011 WDW Foodie Fest announcement.

Let’s start with the latest news:

DFB Guide News & One-Day Discount Sale
And there are more stellar reviews of our e-Book, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining to share this week. Hooray! Theme Parks Guide, Arthur Levine, gave us a shout-out. Read it here. All’s Fare Food Blog also gave the book a thumbs up. Learn why the book is helpful to veteran visitors to WDW here.

You can purchase your own copy here: Use code: DFBA11 for a 20% discount today only!

Now, on to the round-up!
Disney History shows a vintage commercial for Baker’s Instant Chocolate with Jiminy Crickett.

Eating (and Drinking) Around WDW creates Korean Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw from the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival South Korea booth!

Main Street Gazette taste tests a Mickey’s premium ice cream bar.

Imaginerding shares an early Disney marketing effort for the Globetrotter milk and bread program.

StudiosCentral shares a fun look at some photos with the theme of “drink.”

Disney Parks Blog highlights wine tastings and five-course specialty dinners offered at Jiko.

The Disney Go To Girl: A Luxury Travel Blog takes us to France. Well, Epcot’s France and highlights Les Chefs de France with a beautiful picture tour.

Illuminating Epcot braves the “Battle of the Steaks”.

Delicious Disney Just for Kids Cookbook Now Available

Great news for those of you who have kiddos clamoring to try their favorite Disney dishes in their very own kitchen!

On the heels of Chef Mickey Treasures From the Vault and in addition to the other wonderful Disney cookbooks, Pam Brandon and the Disney Chefs have released another new set of recipes that’s been in the pipeline for the past year! Delicious Disney Just for Kids inspires even the littlest chefs to innovate and create like a Disney imagineer!

The book includes recipes from Disneyland, Disney World, and the Disney Cruise Line — including some of your favorites like Jiko‘s Mac and Cheese and Sci-Fi Dine-In‘s BLT Tomato Soup! Expect lots of [Read more…]

Disney World and Disneyland Dining for Valentine’s Day

Romance can be found all over Walt Disney World and Disneyland. And at these dining venues, there won’t be a single character in sight! Some restaurants feature special menus for Valentine’s Day.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Sweetheart Dinners
These special meals for two are offered all year-long at Walt Disney World, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to splurge on this decadent dining experience.

Enjoy a 3-course, prix-fixe meal that includes an appetizer, entrée and a shared dessert. Toast your love with a selected beverage in etched champagne flutes, then take [Read more…]

Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards Include Several WDW Area Restaurants

For those of you who plan your Walt Disney World vacation around your gastronomical dreams, you may want to take note of the restaurants listed in this year’s 13th Annual Foodie Awards by the Orlando Sentinel.

Readers and critics chose these restaurants for their outstanding cuisine, and with five of the restaurants located within the WDW theme parks, you’ll need park admission and an Advance Dining Reservation to cast your vote for best meal. Check them out here! [Read more…]

Review: Jiko…A Cooking Place

Well, my food-loving friends, it’s finally time to talk about one of my very favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. My husband and I spent our first Valentine’s Day at Jiko, and we’ve returned time and time again to enjoy consistently delicious meals.

Now, a few of you might be concerned that you won’t find anything on the menu that suits your taste in a restaurant that touts “African” food, but fear not; there really is something for everyone here.


Jiko is located on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s ground floor and features floor to ceiling windows that look out onto a beautiful and peaceful water feature. But the windows are probably the least interesting thing about this restaurant’s design, which was developed by Jeffrey Beers.

Walking into the restaurant you’ll pass a bar area to your left and see the Cape Town Wine Room directly in front of you. (Yep, that’s it behind the glass walls of wine!) Jiko serves exclusively [Read more…]

Disney Food Trends: Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Even Chef Mickey is in on the trend...

I’ve been noticing a few food trends while traipsing through Disney parks, and I think they’re important to mention — especially since they seem to be popping up on every menu re-vamp out there.

First, we gotta take a gander at good old macaroni and cheese. When I asked Disney World’s Sanaa Chef Bob Getchell about the gourmet mac and cheese trend that seems to be taking over Disney restaurants, he mentioned that chefs like to make food they themselves love; many have fond memories of mac and cheese while they were growing up, and they want to create new and improved contemporary recipes for the dish. Here are a few of our favorite versions on and around Disney property:

Yachtsman Steakhouse
Yacht Club Resort’s Yachtsman Steakhouse gets a nod due to a relatively new mac and cheese dish I found on the menu in October. Their truffle mac and cheese uses huge orecchiette noodles and Reypenaer cheese with a touch of truffle oil and a topping of crunchy onions. It’s served in a cast iron baking dish that lends a rustic look — very fun! The best part — it tastes amazing. Rich, tangy, creamy sauce nestles into those pasta pieces and serves as the perfect accompaniment to the meal. This is sold as a side dish only, so be sure to look for it at the bottom of the menu.

Yachtsman Steakhouse Mac and Cheese Side Dish

Le Cellier
Not to be outdone, Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse has also introduced some mac and cheese on the menu. Served in a cast iron skillet, elbow macaroni is [Read more…]

What Disney Foods Do YOU Crave?

Well, I’ve been home from Walt Disney World for two weeks now, and I’m already craving some dishes and snacks I know I’m going to have on my next trip (um…Karamell Kuche, anyone?).

So, a while back, I asked over on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page: What Disney Dish Are You Craving Today? I got some fantastic answers! Let’s take a trip down a delicious road of favorite dishes and menu items in Walt Disney World… (Note: You’ll see some sad news about the Jiko Filet with Mac and Cheese about halfway down the page. I’m just warning you.)

A Few of the Classics…

With all the changes in Disney World’s menus lately, it’s nice to know these favorites have been around for a good long time:

Fried Chicken at 50’s Prime Time Cafe
This classic, simple dish has been on the menu at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for ages, and we’re glad it’s not going away!

Fried Chicken at 50's Prime Time Cafe

Folks wrote about loving the wings appetizer and the dessert — that fabulous Bananas Foster Bread Pudding — at [Read more…]