Florida meeting planners, if you were inspired by last year’s Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, here’s your chance to show your own good taste. You can now set up your own festival along the Causeway between the resort’s two buildings—complete with food and beverage booths, live entertainment and customizable lighting.
The resort’s award-winning culinary team can provide guidance in developing customized menu items and drink selections to fit the group and to ensure the quality is that of any top food festival from around world. They’re even available to lead in-depth seminars on wine blending, beer, sake and other topics.
A Classic event
The Food & Wine Classic has its fifth outing October 31 and November 1 on the resort Causeway. Besides booths offering tasty treats, it will feature 10 educational seminars on topics such as wine, cocktails (including tequila and the Brazilian cocktail, caipirinha), beer, pasta-making, cheese pairing and the fine art of enjoying sushi and sake.
New this year is the festival beer garden, which organizers are building in response to the new popularity of craft-brewed beers. Located on tree-shaded Crescent Terrace, it will offer samples of brew, including local and seasonal selections. Chefs will also be preparing house-made snacks to pair with the frosty favorites.
The Food & Wine Classic makes good use of the culinary offerings at Swan and Dolphin, which boasts 17 restaurants and lounges and more than 70 certified wine sommeliers. Three master chefs from the property are featured: four-time James Beard Award winner Todd English; executive chef Robert Ciborowski, whose credits include The French Laundry; and executive pastry chef Laurent Branlard, the only two-time winner of the World Pastry Team Championship.
F&B is clearly a priority at the Swan and Dolphin, which showed off some of its best for media at the 2014 AIBTM exhibition in June. It was a whirlwind tour of adventurous flavors and creative presentation: Buffalo chicken bites served with tiny pipettes of ranch dressing; shrimp cocktail “injected” into the mouth; gazpacho lollipops; bluebery sundaes.
It demonstrated the resort’s primary F&B goal, says Jared McLachlan, sales and marketing director: “to bring the absolute top-end banquet experience to our groups.”
The resort is part of the Disney Event Group, which helps meeting planners orchestrate memorable meetings, including borrowing the various skills of the Disney Institute’s experts for seminars and similar events. “It’s a place where art and architecture meet,” McLachlan says, “where you think a little bit differently.”