Running in concurrence with the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort and Waldorf Astoria Orlando, located within the gates of the Walt Disney World Resort, is offering Food & Wine Weekends, now through November 9.
This special event takes place Fridays through Sundays and offers a taste of the fabulous restaurants and bars inside the Hilton and Waldorf Astoria. Highlights include samplings and exclusive pairing menus from Bull & Bear, La Luce, Zeta Bar & Sushi Lounge and Peacock Alley. I recently had the opportunity to experience the event first hand and found it to be a great way to dine at some of the restaurants that I had not tried before.
I began with visiting the lobby kiosk for a Taste of Japan. I sampled three variations of sake, Gekkeikan Zipang Sparkling Sake, Takara Plum Wine and Momokawa Silver. They were all unique in taste and all very good. Paired with the sake was a sampling of a California roll from Zeta Bar & Sushi Lounge. It was fresh, tasty, and perfectly chilled. I’m very particular about the temperature of my sushi and this was perfect.
Next, I headed into La Luce by Donna Scala to try out the special chef created menu specifically for that night. The menu changes each Friday and Saturday so there’s always something new to try. I started with the Butternut Squash soup which was garnished with a seared Basil leaf. Next up was bruschetta with mozzarella, roasted tomato, and arugula. It was delicious and filling. I still had a little room left so I chose the risotto made with speck, a meat similar to prosciutto, wrapped scallops with wild mushrooms and reggiano. The final course was a divine cannoli made with ricotta and mascarpone cheese, filled with chunks of chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Each course had a recommended wine paired with it, though I chose to slowly sip a glass of Robert Oatley Shiraz throughout my dining experience.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2012 – Snack And Sip On This, Skip That
Every year at Food and Wine festival at Epcot there are a few booths that are either the same as previous years or things that are always available in the parks. While these items are yummy, they can be skipped if you are a on a time crunch while sipping and strolling around the park. I figured I would let you in on a few of these items!
Cheddar Cheese Soup: I know people go BANANAS for this soup and it is a top seller but this is both something you can get at Food and Wine, to go service AND table service at Le Cellier any time of the year. The line is ALWAYS super long and usually a bit of a wait.
My Advice: Skip This
Ice Wine: I am a HUGE FAN of Ice Wine. I had it for the first time many years ago at Food and Wine Festival. I make this a priority stop every year! The grapes for Ice Wine are only picked once a year, within a few hours from a special harvest of frozen to the vine grapes! It is a sweet dessert wine that is always such a treat no matter when you drink it!!!
My Advice: Sip on This
Assorted Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Cups: I feel silly putting this on the list but I have to let you know! Seriously, head to Publix and pick your own flavors and enjoy them for breakfast! I am a huge Greek Yogurt fan but, who needs to wait in line and bay 3.00 for yogurt… lol. I would sing a different song if they had fresh made Greek Yogurt however.
My Advice: Skip This
Ravioli di Formaggio All’emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli) : This is always a top seller and there is always a long line to sample this. After Food and Wine 2 years ago, Epcot set up an Italy booth just on the outside of the country where you could purchase this dish year round since it was such a popular and huge hit. This portion for Food and Wine is a bit smaller then the regular season portion so it isn’t really worth the bang for your buck!
My Advice: Skip This
Kefta Pocket: This is an item that they do sell in Tangerine Cafe but this is a smaller portion at a much smaller price without the sides. The Seasoned beef is always flavorful and it is put in a Pita Pocket! One of my favorite choices for lunch so this is the perfect size if you want to try something new!
My Advice: Snack on This
Kielbasa & Potato Pirogi with Caramelized Onions: My husband and I are HUGE Pirogi fans.. we eat them at least twice a month. I am convinced that the Pirogi that they serve are the same ones we buy at Walmart. They tend to be over boiled and very floppy, served with a small slice of boiled kielbasa, a mickey head squirt of sour cream and a few floppy onions on top. Save your self the time, make them at home!
My Advice: Skip This
Singapore Sling: This is a concoction of Gin, Fresh Pineapple Juice, Cherry Juice and Soda Water. If you are ready for a strong and sweet beverage then grab this! Our recommendation is to ask for a cup of ice and pour your beverage over the ice to cut down on the strength.
My Advice: Sip On This
These are just some of my notes. Please feel free to sip and snack and skip what you want. I am lucky enough to get to go to Food and Wine multiple times each year so I can be a bit picky when ti comes to what I want to spend my money on each year. Please Keep on the look out for some of our Favorites and some of our Not so Favorites in the coming weeks! Make sure you follow us around on Twitter to see what new Favorites we may have!!!
Beth went to the preview of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival yesterday, and here are some of the pictures that she tweeted!
And now here are some Quick Bites to keep in mind as you are going around the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Now these Quick Bites are extremely honest, and we have also included links to our friends over at The Disney Food Blog since they have AMAZING coverage of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for a different perspective and beautiful pictures!
* Beef Empanada – I tried this last year, but didn’t like it. It was the only thing that I actually threw out.
* Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée – I loved this. It was one of my favorite things at the festival.
* Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze – This is always good, but I’m not sure it is worth the cost. I would love to try to make it at home.
*Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies – Yum! I don’t recall the potato crunchies in previous years, but I can’t wait to try them.
* Steamed Mussels in Hoegaarden Beer Broth and Baguette – This is a festival favorite. I’ve always enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
* Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – So good! People wait in the long lines for this dish alone!
* Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles – Last year this was only 2 truffles per package. It wasn’t an expensive item and the prices were probably on par with high-end chocolate like Godiva, but I don’t think I’d spend my money on it.
* Hoegaarden – My personal favorite beer in Belgium (though not my favorite of all Belgian beers).
* Leffe Brune – This is a new one beer this year.
* Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Iced Coffee – Always delicious, but a very small serving.
* Altenmünster Oktoberfest – This is also available in the Germany marketplace and in the WS pavillion.
* Altenmünster Dunkel – This beer was so popular last year that it sold out with more than 2 weeks left in the festival.
* Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup – This is always a top seller, but I personally don’t care for it.
* Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and “Minus 8″ Onion Jam – I loved this last year. Officially, it doesn’t have a pairing, but I would recommend Niege (apple ice wine) with it.
** Neige Bubble – This actually won’t be at the festival because of a tornado at the orchard.**
* Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread – I love cheese, but I didn’t really like this one last year.
* Trio of Artisan Cheeses: Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar, La Bonne Vie Goat Brie and Rogue River Creamery Echo Mountain Blue Cheese – These are new cheeses in this selection this year.
*Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage – this was only okay. I don’t think I’d spend the money on it.
* Linda Bean’s® Perfect Maine Lobster Roll® – being a native New Englander, I was skeptical about this dish, but it turns about be delicious. Save your snack credits for this!
* Pumpkin Mousse with Craisins and Orange Sauce – the spices on this were delicious. Just like pumpkin pudding.
* Angry Orchard Cider – OMG. This is delicious. I must have more of it!
* Ravioli di Formaggio All’emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli, Creamy Beef Bolognese, Parmesan, Mozzarella) – popular, but I don’t really like it.
* Cannoli al Cioccolato (Chocolate-Covered Cannoli filled with Ricotta, Chocolate, Candied Fruit) – drooling just thinking about this!
Anyone who knows my husband and I is well aware that you will find us out and about multiple times a week when it is time for Food and Wine Festival at Epcot! We can not get enough of the food stands and the drinks and the atmosphere! I ask my brother DAILY “Is it almost time for Food & Wine” And every day he responds “I wish”. This year it runs from September 28-November 12,2012. The weather is always cooler, the crowds are lighter and who can pass up 3 and 4 dollar yummy bits all over World Showcase!
They bring in all sorts of acts from today and yesterday ( Mostly yesterday but that’s ok ). I personally have seen Boyz II Men for the past three years and plan on making this year 4 years in a row! And I know a certain West Virginia Girl that I blog with that will be front and center for Sugar Ray 😉 Ahem Shalon!!!! The artists always put on a fun show rain or shine! People dance and sing along and It is free with park admission!! How can you say no??? This year’s line up includes:
9/28-9/30: Night Ranger
10/1-10/3: Sugar Ray
10/4- 10/7: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
10/8-10/10: Boyz II Men
10/11-10/12: Smash Mouth
10/13-10/14: Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice”
10/15-10/17: Air Supply
10/18-10/19: Gin Blossoms
10/24-10/25: The Pointer Sisters
10/26-10/28: Sister Hazel
10/29-10/31: Billy Ocean
11/1-11/2: 38 Special
11/3-11/4: Howard Jones LIVE
11/5-11/6: Blues Traveler
11/7-11/8: Dennis DeYoung, original member of the group STYX
11/9-11/12: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Please stay tuned to our little slice of blog for more information in the coming weeks about Food and Wine Festival! I can not wait to tell you all about the seminars and the cooking classes that are offered and maybe even preview some of the new foods they will have!!!!