How does one even begin to describe the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Food and Wine Classic? It’s party, a festival, a soiree, wine tasting, fine dining, and neighborhood party all wrapped up into one. Add to that a beer garden, special food and wine educational seminars, and the opportunity to meet the chefs and top staff from the amazing restaurants inside the hotels and you have a terrific ticket. Then, you still get to enjoy the food tastings from each restaurant and discover new wines from around the globe.
The Food and Wine Classic really is the best value when it comes to food and wine anywhere on property. But it’s only one weekend a year. So remember to check the calendar come the end of summer next year and be sure to secure your tickets for next year’s event.
I started off my evening with a seminar on Wine Blending from the hotel’s top dog when it comes to dining – Tony Porcellini, Director Food and Beverage at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. It was my first ever wine blending seminar. I learned a ton about wine and in the end blended my own Bordeaux. It was a fantastic experience and Porcellini was a fantastic host, sort of the Al Pacino of hotels.
From the seminars you move down onto the causeway between the two hotels. Every guest is provided a tray with a convenient holder for your wine glass. Water is provided at each station so you can rinse the previous taste from your glass. This was the BBQ pork from Cid’s Smokehouse, the clear winner of the night for me.
Then it’s go time. This year there were over 35 wine and beer samples to taste and more than 20 food samples to try (when you include the beer garden and VIP area). I tried to apply the lessons I learned in the wine blending seminar to my tasting and discovered a few red wine blends that I may not have tried before were actually to my liking.
My only complaint about the evening was that they held it over Halloween weekend and the evening I attended was a bit on the chilly side. Still, I’d rather have chilly temps than hot and humid when sampling food and wine.
This year, there was something a little extra at the Food and Wine Classic, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel are celebrating their 25th anniversary and they planned a special moment for guests at the end of the evening. After a special dedication and song, fantastic fireworks lit up the night right between the two hotels. It was the perfect way to end an evening.
(Note: I was provided a complimentary pass for the evening courtesy of The Swan and Dolphin Hotel)