There are lots of delicious treats to sample on at the various EPCOT festivals. But, just a hop away from the park, you can experience a totally different, intimate and luxurious food and wine experience.
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel’s Food and Wine Classic is a fan-favorite event where foodies can truly live their best lives. This year, the Swan and Dolphin have brought back this fun event in a modified way to help guests maintain social distancing. We got the chance to experience it recently and now we’re bringing you ALL our thoughts!
Last year, we attended a special dining event at the Swan and Dolphin, and this year we made our way back there again. The Swan and Dolphin are hosting a whole bunch of different events this year, including a watch party for the Super Bowl. But, on January 16th, we made our way over to the Resort for the Food & Wine Classic: A Taste of Swan & Dolphin.
Arrival and Set-Up
Check-in for this event began at 5PM. The actual event itself ran from 5:30PM through 8:00PM. If you want to make sure you get your money’s worth, be sure to check in as soon as you can!
When we arrived, attendees had their temperatures checked.
Once we made it past the temperature check, we were given a pink wristband and table marker with our last name on it.
You then take this marker and place it on the table you want to remain at for the evening. That table then becomes your spot for the night.
Before the doors officially opened, guests were greeted with fun Jello shots.
There was a tequila variety which was strong and little citrusy.
And there was a vodka one with a fruity base that reminded us a bit of a Vodka cranberry.
The event took place in some of the ballrooms upstairs at the Dolphin Hotel. The space was actually made of multiple convention rooms/ballrooms combined. All of these separate rooms were open and we felt there was lots of space for guests to safely distance from one another.
Everything within the room was spread out really nicely. We didn’t feel like it was tight or cramped at all. Between tables, we’d say guests were easily more than 6 feet apart.
Once the doors to the event space opened, guests were able to pick the table of their choice and place their table marker. The band also started playing some tunes for all the guests to enjoy.
As soon as we walked in, all of the food booths and drink stations were open and ready to go. That was really great as it meant that you could get started chowing down on the delicious food ASAP.
All of the Cast Members at the event were located behind plexiglass barriers.
Overall, we felt the social distancing measures put in place were great. There were markers on the floor guiding guests in terms of where they should stand…
…and there were plenty of sanitizing stations throughout the room.
Since the portions here are meant to be “sample sizes,” you can finish those plates and drinks rather quickly. Throughout the night though, we noticed that servers were constantly walking around and offering to clear our table, which was helpful, as it meant we could make space for our next round of treats.
All of the Cast Members were very friendly and knowledgeable when we approached the various food booths. Those working at the drink stations were offering information about the beverages, and those at the food stations were describing the dishes to us.
At the food booths, they also made it a point to tell us that we could come back as many times as we’d like. That’s right. This is an all-inclusive style event, so if you can keep going back for more of any and all of the dishes you enjoy.
Also, since there were so many booths open, we didn’t really encounter any long lines. For the most part, we were able to walk right up to the booths and get our plates immediately.
The entertainment was fun and upbeat. During the night, they took two small breaks, but otherwise they played nonstop for guests. Toward the evening, some guests were out on the dance floor dancing and really having a good time.
But, guests still did a good job of staying spread apart, even when on the dance floor.
The Menu here let us know what would be available at each of the booths.
The food sounds great, but how does it taste?
We started our night with the tenderloin from the Shula’s Steak House booth. This dish featured Roasted Linz Heritage Black Angus Beef Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Carrots, and Red Wine Sauce.
This tenderloin was AMAZING! The meat was incredibly tender and just melted in your mouth. The creamy buttery mashed potatoes were delicious as well. Honestly, we could have LIVED at this booth.
But, we couldn’t not try the others. So, we hopped over to Frida’s Kitchen. This spot had Tacos al Pastor made with Spit-Roasted Marinated Pork Shoulder, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, on a Flour Tortilla, served with Crispy Tortilla Chips, and Pico de Gallo.
This booth was also a favorite of ours. The Tacos al Pastor were surprisingly big, considering that these items are meant to be more of a “sample size.” The tacos were served with chips, pico de Gallo, and hot sauce, which we loved. Our reporter actually used the ENTIRE packet of hot sauce since they like their food quite spicy.
Over at Carnival Corner, we got to taste the Chicken “Chips.” What are chicken chips exactly? Well, they’re Crispy Fried Chicken served with a Housemade Buttermilk-Herb Dressing.
These may sound simple, but you might be surprised at how delicious they are! The chicken “chips” were really crunchy and the homemade sauce was delicious. It reminder us of a nice quality Ranch dressing.
We also did a little bit of mixing and dunked these “chips” in the Smoking D’s barbecue sauces. WOWZA. That was quite the delicious combo!
Speaking of Smoking D’s BBQ, we made our way over to this booth to try the “Whole Hog” Smoked Pork Sandwich, which comes with Sweet and Spicy Pickles, House Barbecue Sauces, Coleslaw, and a Toasted Soft Roll. It also comes with a yummy onion ring!
This sandwich was really good. But, the really crispy onion ring is what totally won our hearts. The sandwich and onion ring together were a match made in heaven!
We also got to try Smoking D’s sweet & smoky sauce and smoked molasses sauce. Both had a small kick (no knock-out-your-sinuses stuff here).
We thought they were great homemade sauces that added an extra punch of flavor.
After the BBQ, it was time to go for something a bit lighter. So, we made our way to the Kimonos booth. There, we got a Dragon Roll with Crispy Shrimp, Yellowfin Tuna, Haas Avocado, and Kewpie Mayonnaise. This Dragon Roll was not only delicious and fresh, but it beautiful as well.
Over at Il Mulino, we got the Cannelloni Meat and Sausage Filled Pasta, which is Baked with Bechamel and Tomato Basil Sauce. The pasta was delicious and had a generous amount of the meat filling, which was really great.
The sauce it was baked in was nice and light, and not too overpowering. This was a another favorite dish of ours!
At Todd English’s bluezoo booth, we sampled the Roasted Organic Pumpkin Ravioli Gnudi, with the Seared Sea Scallop, Whipped Ricotta Cheese, and Pumpkin Gremolata.
This dish was nice. Our reporter who attended the event isn’t a big pumpkin fan, so it wasn’t a favorite for them. But, they did say that the scallops were very good and that it was a nice dish overall. It was, however, pretty small in terms of size.
At Cabana, there was a fun Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich with Thinly Sliced Angus Ribeye, Natural Jus, Giardiniera, and an Italian Roll.
We could definitely see ourselves sitting out by the pool and enjoying this treat. It was a BIG portion and a really nice flavor!
At the Chinatown booth we got to sample some Pho made with Sliced Beef, Organic Vegetables, Marinated Tofu, Cilantro, Lime, and Siracha. This dish was very tasty. The beef was nice and tender. Despite there being some siracha, the dish wasn’t spicy, so there was nothing to fear here.
Truly, everything we sampled at the event was amazing. And, the desserts were no exception. The desserts at this event were created by Chef Laurent Branlard and (much like the sushi) they were both delicious and gorgeous.
There was a Lemongrass and Coconut Infused Pineapple, Coconut Angel Food Cake, which definitely was the winner in terms of dessert in our book. The only down side? We wish it was BIGGER so we could enjoy more!
There was also a Pavlova Station with French Meringue, Lemon Peel Ice Cream, Berry Compote, and Raspberry Cream. This treat was (again) delicious, particularly with that French meringue and raspberry cream.
The Dark Chocolate Fondant Cake was VERRRY rich. You could share this dish and probably still have some left over. It was amazing, but extremely rich.
And, finally, there was an Upside Down Orellis Milk Chocolate Cream Puff with Caramelized Hazelnuts. Yum.
If you’re looking to grab a drink at this event, they had plenty of that too. From sour beers…
…and botanical cocktails with Kettle One Vodka…
…to tons of different wines, there was lots to choose from.
All of the drinks we sampled were delicious. If you’ve got any questions, be sure to ask the Cast Members. We found them to be extremely helpful at answering questions or offering suggestions based on your preferences.
If you want some water, the drink stations also had bottled waters available for the guests.
Overall, we had a fantastic time at the event and had SO much fun! Everything was really well spaced out, so it felt like guests could really maintain a safe distance from one another.
The food was also incredibly delicious, the drinks were phenomenal, and the entertainment was fantastic. Event only tickets for the Food & Wine Classic: A Taste of Swan and Dolphin are priced at $110 per person. Or, you can opt for a room package that includes a one-night stay and 2 tickets to the event, starting at $359 per night.
Considering you can continue to go back to get as much of the food as you’d like, and there were essentially no lines and TONS of spacing, we’d say that amount is worth it.
The Swan and Dolphin are set to host more events throughout the year, including a Super Bowl party and another Food & Wine Classic: A Taste of Swan and Dolphin event, both in February. That February Food & Wine Classic will, however, have an entirely different menu. You can check out more details here.
If you want a FULL Food & Wine Classic experience (not just the “Taste of” version), you can make plans to attend the Swan and Dolphin’s Food & Wine Classic event in October of this year.
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Will you be attending a special food event at the Swan and Dolphin? Let us know in the comments!