View Full Version : Impressions and Pictures, mostly Food & Wine (Oct 23-30, 2011) - UPDATED Feb 6, 2012

11-11-2011, 04:11 PM
Jens & me


I try to pick a lead picture that represents - for me - something of an "icon" of my vacation. There were SO many good pictures - and they will be posted in due time. This slightly overexposed, somewhat fuzzy shot (I had the ISO pumped up for fireworks the night before and forgot to reset before handing over, for you camera people) captures the spirit of the F&W - ever gracious, always accessible, very friendly, talented, Disney staff who go out of their way to make guests feel welcome. In this case, Jens Dahlmann (formerly of Flying Fish and CaliGrill, now an executive chef at Epcot) was walking through Epcot with a colleague. Stopped, chatted, remembered by name (my LAST name, I was really surprised) and that was a nice moment. Thanks.

Table of Links (updated through time with links, as posts are added)

Epcot F&W Festival

- Demos
-- Culinary Demo (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=44050665#post44050665) (Mon Oct 24 5 pm)
-- Culinary Demo (http://ehagerty.zenfolio.com/img/s11/v30/p533947843-4.jpg) (Tue Oct 25 1 pm)
-- Mixology (Mon Oct 24 6 pm)

Kiosks (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44060796&postcount=60)

- Lunches

-- Food & Wine Pairing - Marrakesh (Tue Oct 25 3:30 pm)

-- Food & Wine Pairing - Tutto Italia (Wed Oct 26 2 pm)
---- Tutto Italia Lunch (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43341414&postcount=35)

-- Tequila Lunch (Sat Oct 29 1 pm)
---- Tequila Lunch (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43314536&postcount=32)

-- French Regional Lunch - Alsace (Fri Oct 28 12 pm)
---- Introduction (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43263954&postcount=7)
---- Food, plus (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43264227&postcount=8)

- Dinners

-- Victoria & Alberts (Sun Oct 23)
---- Reception (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43381649&postcount=38)
---- Sitting down for Dinner (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43508466&postcount=39)
---- Amuse-Bouche (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43515821&postcount=40)
---- Bison (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43515851&postcount=41)
---- Egg (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43515883&postcount=42)
---- Cioppino (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43515897&postcount=43)
---- Scallop, and Wine Talk (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43515951&postcount=44)
---- Elk (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43516006&postcount=45)
---- Veal (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43516032&postcount=46)
---- Pear (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43516062&postcount=47)
---- Apple (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43516087&postcount=48)
---- Truffle Tree (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43516116&postcount=49)
---- Afterthoughts (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43519900&postcount=50)

-- California Grill (Thu Oct 27)
---- Reception (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43275143&postcount=13)
---- Dinner Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43275304&postcount=14)
---- Dinner Part 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43286273&postcount=16)
---- Fireworks (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43286377&postcount=17)
---- Dessert (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43286412&postcount=18)

Epcot - Out and About - Food Kiosks, Sites & Entertainment
- British Revolution, Off Kilter and Unibroue (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43338084&postcount=34)
- Ireland, France and Belgium (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43555464&postcount=54)

Animal Kingdom - Wild Africa Trek
-- Animal Pictures (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43286551&postcount=19)
-- Getting Started (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43306276&postcount=24)
-- Getting Outfitted (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43306433&postcount=25)
-- Crocs, Giraffes, Elephants (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43306527&postcount=26)
-- Lunch (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43306580&postcount=27)
-- Wrap-up (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43306629&postcount=28)

11-11-2011, 09:42 PM
I'm in!

11-15-2011, 07:59 PM
Thanks for checking in!

11-15-2011, 09:26 PM
I'm joining in to hang out! Can't wait to hear more!! :thumbsup2

11-15-2011, 09:43 PM
Sign me up coach! Anytime someone reviews V&A, I'm there. Throw in a tequilla lunch and it's a no brainer!! :rotfl2:

11-16-2011, 10:42 AM

11-16-2011, 05:26 PM



Opening the first wine pairing


Wine Guy / Speaker - Bernard Sparr


First Tasting = Cremant d'Alsace Rose, Peirre Sparr, Brut


... with the Amuse-Bouche (no description listed in menu - tasted like high end cream of asparagus)


... to be continued.....


11-16-2011, 05:59 PM
Pied de porc a l'Alsacienne
Alsacienne style pig trotter
Alsace One, Pierre Sparr, 2008


Chef Eric Weistroffer providing commentary on the course and pairing


... close up of the plate


Choucroute au trios poissons
Sauerkraut with salmon, monkfish & smoked haddock
Pinot Gris, Pierre Sparr, 2009


Sidebar - I had to laugh as plates were being removed from the table. I had completely consumed the smoked haddock and sauerkraut - while the gentleman across the table had consumed all the fish and left the sauerkraut. He, of course ate what he likes / valued, as did I. The salmon and monkfish were outstanding, but I was running out of room at this point and having to make tough choices....

Comte, semi-hard cow's cheese
Riesling, Pierer Sparr, 2008


.... close up of cheese plate



Applauding the kitchen staff



Wine line-up


Flan aux myrtilles
Blueberries flan
Gewurztraminer reserve, Pierre Sparr, 2008

The complete picture (as arranged by / for the professional photographer, who encouraged people to take pictures of it)


Rapid-fire commentary (as opposed to my preferred, relaxed, well-considered commentary):
- I do enjoy attending some of these events solo - you are usually assigned a table with other people whom you get to know quickly (at least as fast as they pour the wine!)
- At this event, was a local, woman who had also attended the Italian lunch at my table. You start to look forward to seeing your new acquaintances-with-common-interests!
- Also at table, a local gentleman who looked very familiar - we figured out in about 15 seconds (ok, maybe 30) that we sat next to each other at a Tables-in-Wonderland dinner a at the Wave (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2200542)year and a half ago. This was his fourth FRUNCH this festival and he was very complimentary about the series. He had not signed up for the 5th, as he did not care for champagne, but in his quiet way, he was very convincing that the FRUNCH series was probably the best F&W offering, and probably the best value-for-the-dollar.


p.s. "FRUNCH" is freely given (that is, "officially not-trade-marked; your welcome, Disney"), creative abbreviation of the French Regional lUNCH, which was coined by the ever-clever Brenda MenG of food thread renown... geesh - now I have to go and add it my disboard "dictionary"! (next year, Webster's..)

p.p.s. from the archives - Eric Weistroffer at the Bocuse d'Or USA Finals at Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in NY, Feb 2010 - at the time, I had never seen him before, but I was so excited to see something Disney/Epcot, that I took his picture. I was surprised (but not shocked) to recognize him at the FRUNCH - just one of those things!!!



11-16-2011, 07:09 PM
Signing on!:goodvibes

11-16-2011, 07:46 PM
Gary (Restaurant Guest Services Manager) & DS, before heading into cocktail area



Tink rules
11-16-2011, 08:48 PM
I'm in!!! :banana::banana:

11-16-2011, 09:11 PM
Hi Ellen! Lovely photos...I'm subscribing!

11-17-2011, 07:32 PM

One of the "things" I have learned to like about staying at SSR, is that you can consider DTD your transportation hub, especially if you request Congress Park. Throughout the week, I mostly walked to DTD to get buses to resorts (for resort events). In this case, we bussed to MK, then walked to CR for CG dinner. Allowing for bus schedule, we arrived a little early, providing a chance to relax enjoy the sunset in the lounge.

I had no real intention of imbibing before dinner, as I cannot usually finish the pairings that come with the meal. DS23 has no such problem - he likes to try stuff, and learn from the bartenders.

In this instance, DS was very pleased with Ray, the bartender. Ray recommended this drink, a Rum on the rocks (receipt says @amount gay xo) $8.25, which DS deemed "better than Dewars White, or Johnny Black; on par with 12-15 your old scotch - smoke and oak, with none of the peat). DS is big on "value for the dollar" and he was pleased with both the beverage and Ray. Kudos.


Beringer Blanc, Knights Valley 2009


Sidebar - (Nov 19th, additional commentary) - I was preparing my favorite braised chicken dish this morning (... as mentioned on my other threads - I consider Molly Steven's "All About Braising" cookbook essential - and she just published a new cookbook about roasting this week - which I immediately ordered on amazon - before I knew she would be in town and signing books tomorrow, as it turns out she is a native of my home town, Buffalo, NY) - I went to the basement - uh, I mean, my "wine cellar" and grabbed a bottle of white from the "Premier" (as in "Premier Liquors" in Kenmore NY) whites. Popped the cork (for cooking) and tasted a "Beringer, Knights Valley" Alluvium Blanc 2006. Noticed from the label that the NAME had much in common with the wines represented at this dinner. Noticed from the TASTE that this was pretty darn good - and probably would compete for my attentions with Merry Edwards. Was surprised. Why, you might ask, would I be surprised by a bottle of wine that I chose to buy? Well, at Premier, they have this section called "What's new in the 90's" - meaning this section contains all bottles that scored above 90 on any commonly accepted, published rating scale. I scan the offerings for bottles under $20 and sample (hardly the methodology for a serious wine aficionado). This one was outstanding.

Tataki Seared Toro Tuna with Sesame Cracker and Micro Wasabi


Spicy Local Pork Empanadas, Espelette Aioli


Arancini di Riso with Manchego


Wagyu Beef Tartare with Whole Grain Mustard and Truffle Brioche


Views from the reception room





Poster License - I almost did not post this last picture. It contains many flaws, photographically speaking. But the more I look at it (try not to think of Mr Bean at the gallery on this one), the more personal attachment I have to it. The wine is perfectly exposed. Bay Lake Tower (BLT) is in the background (one of my DVC "real estate interests). The wine bottle is fashionably shadowed. I think I really like this shot.

11-17-2011, 07:49 PM
Our table


Introducing the team

Brian Koziel (left, Wine Guy, with credentials!), Chef Brian Piasecki, Bridget Sherren (General Manager)


Gary Lee (Guest Services Manager)


Brian has an extensive biography in the back of the menu including the fact that he is Master Sommelier, and was formerly the Area Manager at VnA (before Israel)


Maine Lobster Duo:
Classic Maine Lobster Bisque with Aged Sherry, accompanied by Tempure Lobster Salad, Crisp Greens, Seared Organic Mushrooms and Saffron Emulsion
Etude Estate Chardonnay, Carneros, 2009



Crispy Glazed Berkshire Pork Belly with Spitzenburg Apple and Parsnip Lacquer, Toasted Coriander Grits
Chateau St. Jean "Robert Young" Chardonnay, Alexander Valley 2008


Brian, making the rounds, between courses



11-18-2011, 09:39 AM
Lovely, lovely photos of the food Ellen! Much too gorgeous to be called food porn!

I do not know Chef Jens Dahlmann personally, only by sight since we have seen him at many functions and around Epcot during the festival. I was impressed by a small thing he did but it spoke volumes, to me at least, about his character. Early on in the festival he was out making the rounds to check on the kiosks. In our path there was some trash on the ground. Chef Jens stooped down and picked it up. I know he is a Disney employee but how many others at his position level would do such a trivial thing!

Loved the Pierre Sparr Cremant d'Alsace Rose Brut and the asparagus mousse served at the Alsace Frunch.

You had me with your DS pre-dinner drink photo at California Grill. I'll check back for updates!

11-19-2011, 07:50 AM
Local Seely's Ark Farm Rabbit Coq Au vin
with Braised Autumn Aromatic Vegetables
Etude Estate "Deer Camp" Pinot Noir, Carneros 2008


Heirloom Apple Granita with Dried Northwest Cherries and Balsamic


Cast Iron Seared Venison Back Strap Filet with Horseradish-Potato Croquette, Red Juri Puree, Olive Oil Confit Heirloom Beets, Juniper-Veal Emulsion
Chateau St. Jean "Cinq Cepages" Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 2002


Brian on his rounds


A study in Grass Fed Cow Selections
Sbragia Family Vineyards "mote Rosso" Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 2007






11-19-2011, 08:13 AM
Time out for watching HalloWishes from the Balcony


Since I only took one shot this time, I am including vintage / archival pictures from prior trips, for those who like to download such things and add them to their screen saver collection. There are many more / better ones in other threads of mine...







11-19-2011, 08:19 AM
Valrhona Chocolate Souffle with Chocolate Caramel Crunch and Madagascar Vanilla Creme Anglaise
Bering Cabernet Sauvignon Port, Knights Valley 2004




Chef Brian, introducing and thanking his staff



11-19-2011, 08:43 AM
.....a chance to see some of the animals in ways not generally available.... or, if you are like me, a chance to take pictures of animals in ways that are definitely not available to general public....





.....all the details, coming up next!

11-19-2011, 09:15 AM
Amazing reviews Ellen!

11-19-2011, 10:33 AM
Applauding the kitchen staff


Ellen, The Chef on the far left is Francesco Santin, the Chef de Cuisine at Bistro and for the French Regional Lunches. Francesco was a sous-chef at Bocuse's in Lyon. As you know, Chef Eric is now the Operations Manager for all the France Pavilion in Epcot.

11-19-2011, 11:06 AM
Ellen, The Chef on the far left is Francesco Santin, the Chef de Cuisine at Bistro and for the French Regional Lunches. Francesco was a sous-chef at Bocuse's in Lyon. As you know, Chef Eric is now the Operations Manager for all the France Pavilion in Epcot.Actually, I am not as close to the whole chef-thing as I might like to be - and your commentary advanced my knowledge and understanding. Thanks

I am definitely adding Bistro to my upcoming "Table for One" series in December - stay tuned!!

11-19-2011, 11:48 PM
Always, visually stunning reviews from you! I am so glad you included that picture of the wine glasses with Bay Lake Tower in the background, the light on the wine is very pretty! The food looks great too.

11-21-2011, 06:26 PM
..... with a couple of quick rides in the mists of the Himalayas





.. out there


...was a dead end


.....and a yeti


passing through the jungle



11-21-2011, 06:46 PM
.... of course, there was paperwork, followed by donning this vest-harness


... followed by a practice run across a rope bridge


Sidebar - I was comfortable jogging across this bridge - balance, space, conditioning - all good. HOWEVER, when it came time to cross a similar bridge later, I was too distracted by looking at the animals and taking pictures to watch my footing. My own fault, for sure - but I, and my bruised shins, now agree with the early reports on this tour that safety should trump verisimilitude in these designs.

The tour occurs in areas within the park - that is, viewing areas that everyone has access to - and what I'll call "slightly-behind-the scenes." I have been on the backstage tour at AK, and it is very interesting, but it is exactly that - you are walking through working areas where the animals are cared for. This tour is "designed" to pretty much be all "onstage," much of it available only to those who take the tour. It was novel (for me), in that they designed and built areas specifically for this tour that enhance the AK experience without ever, technically, going backstage. You are in well-designed, thematically-extended, experience exclusive to the tours.

First stop, the hippo pool (park view)


...followed by a short walk through the jungle to a viewing area that is open, above the hippo pool, secured by your harness from being able to fall in. Guides provide commentary and Q&A about the animals. You have time to take pictures and ask questions.

Harness apparatus, and guide


Alpha hippo behavior


Hippo in pool, from above


... another guest walking across bridge


There are "artifacts" lying about (strategically placed, for discussion) - on the left, a crocodile jaw, on the right, a hippo jaw..


Sidebar - there were 2 tour guides for a party size up to 12 (we had 6). For the first half, one guide leads and talks, the other follows and takes pictures. They switch midway. Tour include photo CD - shots from your tour, best of shots from all tours and legal agreement. We probably got our CD, but no one can find it. I had requested a replacement and will share the professionals pictures when I have them.


11-21-2011, 06:55 PM
... from above


... from the side



... as seen from behind this fence


At this point, we discarded our harnesses and boarded a custom safari van


... which followed the same, main trail as the general park's safari ride, but pulled over into side parking areas to have extended time to watch, photograph and learn about the animals, while watching the regular safari rides zipping by.


Getting a photo of a giraffe's tongue while eating is not something I've been able to do from a moving safari ride


followed by the elephants (photo on earlier post)

11-21-2011, 07:03 PM
Lunch was a total, pleasant surprise for us. We were kind of expecting a granola bar (like the true, backstage tour).

First, the food - was supplied by Tusker House, and included
- 2 large tandoori shrimp
- red pepper humus, pita
- salmon roll
- curry chicken
- proscuitto, bresceola
- fruit
- unlimited, cold fruit juice (outstanding)
Lunch was served in these camp containers; the water bottles were a souvenier of the tour.




Sidebar - it was a picture perfect day. 70 degrees, clear, low humidity, nice breeze. I suspect that late October and November are probably the most predictably pleasant weather to take a tour that is 100% outdoors, and enjoy it to the max.


We sat in a large, open platform (with very nice bathrooms), relaxing and enjoying lunch while watching the tours, animals and breeze go by


11-21-2011, 07:09 PM
After lunch, we boarded the van


Saw some more of the savanna


Had the guide take our mother-son picture (in case we never got the CD...)


...more animals


...the lion, napping (top of his mane, right of center)


... rhinos


... and, because I am traveling DS, we must taste African beer at the Dawa bar (where the tour originates and terminates)



...and that concludes the picture portion of the Wild Africa Trek. Questions?


11-21-2011, 07:36 PM
What a cool trip report! The Wild Africa Trek looks awesome. Love all the pics.

11-21-2011, 08:14 PM
Welcome Rose Margarita



11-21-2011, 11:02 PM
Were the macarons at Cali Grill house made? How were they?

I love the photo of the Giraffe eating where you can see his tongue! Great photos Ellen, thanks so much for sharing!

11-22-2011, 05:33 PM
Ceviche Verde
Scallops marinated in salsa verde, served with avocado and crispy shredded carrot.
Paired with Milagro Select Barrel Silver Tequila


Sope de Chilorio and Empanada
Chile ancho marinated shredded pork and black beans over a sope, Empanada stuffed with traditional Mexican cheesem, topped with cream and salsa verde
Paired with Centenario Reposdao Tequila


Grilled Tilapia and Pork in Mole Negro
Adobo marinated tilapia over grilled vegetables. Pork with home-made mole negro sauce over esquites (roasted corn)
Paired with Chinaco Anejo Tequila


Chef Alphonso


... and the service team


Dessert - Tamal de Dulce
Sweet tamal filled with guava, topped with strawberry coulis
Paired with Agavero Tequila Liquor



11-23-2011, 07:23 PM
Thanks for posting the tequila lunch pics. We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the ceviche verde and the empanada.:cloud9:

11-26-2011, 09:00 AM
One of DS23's fears, in his pre-evaluation of the kiosk offerings, was that the "craft beers" would be, not just boring, but worse than what we consume at home, with dinner. He was pleasantly surprised by Germany and Canada.

Here, evaluating the German brews...


The only other brews that excited us were the Unibroue offerings in Canada. You had to kind of walk around to the left of the Moosehead / Labatt taps and "discover" them. To add to the thrill even more, DS23 determined in something less than a millisecond that the brew that costs him $9 for 10 oz locally (and we couldn't be closer to Canada-the-country), cost $8 for 16 oz in Epcot (and no tipping). I taught him "value for the dollar" well, and am reaping the benefits!

We agreed that, if Unibroue became "permanent" (please, please, please), we would definitely find ourselves in the UK-Canada around 3 pm, and alternate between the new British Revolution and Off Kilter, while refilling our Unibroue's, until Illuminations. These pavilions have never been a must-do-destination for us before, but our whole world could be shifting......

On the British Revolution - we also agreed that, much as we enjoyed the British Invasion, this band has some advantages:
- generally better vocals
- generally better instrumentally
- much better (expanded) set list, which includes a much longer period of time and much broader styles of music (Beatles, Zeppelin, Clapton, Elton John, Herman's Hermits, etc). We hope their set list just keeps expanding, because there were repeaters in the 5 sets we watched.
Suggestion for Disney: Now that you have a band this good, doing more complex music than just the Beatles, it is time to enhance the sound system so that the quality of the band can be heard without so much blatant distortion, especially the voices. The sound is pretty perfect at the American Garden Theatre. I hope an upgrade is in the 2012 budget for UK.

I suspect adding Ireland as an permanent, informal pavilion-kiosk somewhere between / around UK and Canada would pretty much change the whole dynamic (traffic flow, destination) of Epcot forever. How do I know - two logical observations:
- the Irish diaspora (there's a lot of Irish-Americans and Irish-Canadians around, and we have "arrived," with our education and discretionary cash in hand, and a slight predilection for beer )
- the fact that, for the first time ever, I found myself in a Disney bathroom-stall with NO toilet paper - in the UK pavilion. For Disney to not be able to keep up with something so fundamental to their mission - well, that's a LOT of beer being sold, consumed, and recycled. Who needs marketing data, when you have "facts" like that?


11-26-2011, 06:44 PM
Zuccine Ala Parmigiana
Zucchini Parmesan, Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil
Serprine, Montegrande
Wine Notes: volcanic rock, straw acidity, small amount of bubbles


Risotto All'Aragosta e Rosmarino "Vecchia Romagna"
Carnaroli rice, Lobster, Rosemary, Italian Brandy
Pinot Bianco, Montegrande
Wine Notes: genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, similar to Chardonnay; grown at foot of hill; goes with complex dishes


Filetto Di Vitello A limone
Veal medallions, Potatoes, Capres, Lemon butter source
Cabernet, Montegraned
Wine Notes: Cabernet Franc and sauvignon; blackberry; terrior


Crisp pastry filled with sweet ricotta, Chocolate, Candied orange
Rosa Regale



11-27-2011, 03:09 PM
I always enjoy your reports and magnificent photos. Thanks for sharing! :goodvibes

12-01-2011, 05:08 PM
I don't know much of anything about this group, except that they were popular when I was far too busy to listen to (dare I say) the RADIO.

That said, I really enjoyed the music, the talent, the performance. They said they were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first album.

12-01-2011, 05:35 PM
I have a self-imposed, informal rule - that I must post my unposted VnA pictures before my next VnA meal. I'm going to have to get very busy, as that is less than a week away....

I don't have many pictures of the "gathering," as my flight arrived at 3:30, and dinner was at 6. I know we took the ME to SSR, checked in - and then I think to walked (briskly) to DTD and took the bus to the GF and just about flew through the lobby to the restaurant. Shortly after taking my coat and providing a glass of champagne, we moved into the dining room, where Israel provided introductions....


Far left = Fiorenzo Dogliani, THE representative of the Dogliani Family - Batasiolo Vineyards
Second from left - Richard Martin, who works for the Dogliani Family, and Fiorenzo's translator
Next - Israel Perez, Maitre d'Hotel, for those who have not yet been to VnA
Far Right - Chef Erich Herbitschek, Pastry Chef for VnA
Missing - Chef Scott Hunnel, Chef de Cuisine, who could not attend

The wines were remarkable on many levels, not the least of which was, the glass magically refilled all night. Fortunately, we had 6 hours to enjoy them!!

Israel's lovely ladies, capably and graciously managing the front of the house that night.


Chef Erich - in all the years (all 3 of them) that I've been enjoying his handiwork, I have never met Chef Erich. I took his picture so that I would be able to recognize him around the gingerbread house in December....


Entrance, with truffle display


.... more to come ... must go for my walk now, before it gets much later (and I become inert)


12-20-2011, 06:02 PM
So much for self-imposed "rules" (more like guidelines, really.....)!! Well, the interruption was for a good cause, including Disney in December, first cruise on the Dream (dinner at Palo's and Remy's, with pictures of course, but that is another thread...).
Lovely bouquets of red roses, and my handy souvenir-reference menu (which is opened beside me here).


Ricardo, charming bon-vivant, went out of his way all evening to make sure everyone was having fun!


Ricardo offering a toast for Fiorenzo in the Queen Victoria room. Not the best picture I've ever taken, but included because it conveys a sense of place and how the evening unfolds....


..... which was enjoyed by all


Israel, on one of his "rounds," explaining something about the meal that I have not retained. Alas!


Chef Erich's first delights of the night - the breadsticks were some Italian tradition



12-21-2011, 05:03 PM
- Chicken Liver Terrine
- Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp and Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
- Porcini Mushroom-Cappuccino Soup with Truffle Dust and Porcini Crouton
- Truffle Aoili Lobster Salad Timbale with Siberian Caviar
Metodo Classico Brut, La Morra, Millesime 2006

Chicken Liver




Lobster Salad


Shrimp, Liver, Soup



12-21-2011, 05:07 PM
Cold-Smoked and Seared Bison Carpaccio with Truffle Vinaigrette
Gavi del Comune di DOCG 2009



12-21-2011, 05:13 PM
Truffle Polenta with Soft-Poached Poulet Egg, Taleggio Drizzle, and Arugula Salad
Langhe DOC Chardonnay, Morino Vineyard 2008


... and, "in context"



12-21-2011, 05:15 PM
Langoustine Cioppino with Black Grouper, Mussels, Artichokes, and Fennel-Tomato Nage
Bofani, Single Vineyard Barolo, Monforte d'Alba 2004



12-21-2011, 05:22 PM
Between courses, Fiorenzo would explain the wine pairings...


... Ricardo would crack up the room


... and Pam, from the wine team (she was also present at some cooking demos and sat at our table), on standby for comments


Diver Scallop with Wagyu Short Ribs, Parsnip-Potato Puree, and Oxtail-Truffle Jus
Boscareto, Single Vineyard Barolo, Serralunga d'Alba Hillsides 2004



12-21-2011, 05:30 PM
Elk Tenderloin with House-made Gnocchi and Parmesan-Butter Broth
Cerequio, Single Vineyard Barolo, La Morra 2004

See those truffles? (Thanks Ricardo!)


No more truffles!!! But in this shot, you get to see the quality of the meat!



12-21-2011, 05:34 PM
Veal Tenderloin, Cheeks, and Sweetbreads with Natural Jus
Corda Della Briccolina, Single Vineyard Barolo, Serralunga d'Alba 2006



12-21-2011, 05:39 PM
I don't think I have ever been served a "course" in a restaurant where the flowers were changed to co-ordinate with the colors in the dessert dishes to follow. I loved the colors.


Gorgonzola-baked Pear and Italian Truffle Cheese with Mostarda Di Cremoni
Batasiolo Sovrana, Barbers d'Alba 2008


At this point, I am barely remembering to take any pictures at all!!

Israel, makjng the rounds...



12-21-2011, 05:43 PM
Green Apple Baba with Sour Cream Ice Cream
Bosc Dla Rei Moscato D'Asti 2010

The Big Picture





12-21-2011, 05:47 PM
Hand-crafted Piedmont Truffle Tree

A dessert so beautiful, it blended with the flowers and looks like art. The truffles were amazing. I have no idea if the tree was edible (probably) because, at this point, it was midnight!!! I don't know how many Chef Erich produced, but this was just for my end of the table!



12-22-2011, 08:35 AM
Of course, I am always thinking about
- would I do this again - why - under what circumstances?
- would I recommend this to a friend - and why?

When I registered for this dinner, my thought process was
- We may never pass this way again
- Try it once and evaluate from there

I thought, for sure, that once would be enough, but now, I am not so sure. In a lot of ways, this dinner was "at least double" a "normal" VnA main dining room dinner with a wine pairing (and TiW discount).
- It lasted more than twice as long (6 hours+)
- It cost about twice as much (tax and gratuity were included in stated price)
- There were about twice as many dishes (Amuse +9, instead of Amuse +5)
- All dishes contained white truffles, some contained ingredients normally on the "additional cost" menu, such as Wagyu beef and caviar
- There were about twice as many wines (Champagne +8 or +9 - not sure, instead of Champagne +5)
- While I have always been very satisfied with my wine pairings at VnA, and I have no idea of the material value of the Dogliani wines, they were all great (4 "single vineyards" alone)
- Bottomless Glass (with enough time to enjoy / consume and not leave the restaurant in an uncomfortable state - see first bullet)
- Education - I enjoy the opportunity to learn - and really enjoyed the "eat some, learn some" pace of the meal.

In conclusion
- Yes, I would do this again
- Yes, I would recommend it

Israel - what is the planned date for 2012? I'll start saving now!!! More importantly, I will reserve my DVC accommodation now (which is the most scare component of planning a F&W visit next to securing the reservation for dinner itself)

12-23-2011, 03:33 AM
Looks like a really amazing experience! I love that beautiful truffle tree!

Thanks for sharing Ellen!

12-27-2011, 10:25 AM
Ellen, just found your reviews, they are wonderful! Very impressed with your ability to take such good pictures at the END of your V&A and CA Grill meals. DH is the our photographer, I will be sure and show him your thread.

We attended the Alsace luncheon on the 30th, and then the Champagne luncheon later in the week. Absolutely loved the Champagne luncheon, as did Dh who is not normally a sparkling wine fan.

Would love to hear your overall impression of the California Grill dinner. Looks like a huge amount of food. Were they generous with the wine? The wines really interest me, will have to look for some of those. Have not tried any Etude wines.

The AK tour is on the must list now, thanks for the review.

12-28-2011, 08:37 AM
First - thank you all, for joining. I am usually zipping through postings in one sort of hurry or another, and don't spend nearly enough time responding to questions and comments.

As for the Macaroons (CaliGrill Friandees) - I don't know if they were house-made - I would assume so. The tough part of being the pastry chef at any of these dinners is that people are SO FULL by the time the treats arrive, that they tend not to be savored, if consumed at all. Pretty sure we took these back to the room and enjoyed them for (with?) breakfast the next morning, but I cannot remember my thoughts on each of the elements.

Regarding the CaliGrill wine-pour - I honestly don't recall, but can ask my son. I tend not to finish a given glass before the next one is poured, so it wouldn't be as obvious to me as it would be to him. It is also possible that the Dogliani wines were just so good that, for a change, I DID finish glasses, hence noticing the refill. (pretty sure that last statement is true!)

All I can say about the picture taking, is that I am lucky I remembered to take any at all after the first few courses!! I literally had only one or two per dish - of course I usually only take 2 or 3 because I don't want to turn a meal into a photography distraction for myself or the others (and they always have a professional photographer at most events - I saw him so much we got on a first name basis!).

Where in the Frunch were you sitting? I try not to take / post pictures of people who don't want to be on the internet (probably all of us, but that is officially "history" at this point), but I do have some "faces in the crowd" that are coincident with taking pictures of the event itself. Let me know!

Many more pictures to come - just have to reserve the time to do it!

12-28-2011, 10:28 AM
I had started the morning at DS, followed by a quick walk to Epcot around 10. The morning was perfect, weather-wise, for a walk - 70's sunny, low humidity.

Swolphin from the path behind BWV


Beach Club, from the bridge



When it comes to the kiosks, I had no specific plan, like (a) try one of everything or (b) have a list of "must do" items and check them off or even (c) make sure you hit the top ten from the disboard review (which would make sense). I have virtually no history of personal experience to guide me either, so this was a learning year.

Breakfast in Ireland
Kerrygold Cheese Selection (Aged Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese) with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread


Thoughts / Comments:
- this suited me well for breakfast
- I liked the components (although I've had all the cheeses before, from Wegmans)
- particularly liked the chutney - reminded me of the spices in Mince Pie that my mom makes for Christmas
- worked best with a little nibble from bread-cheese-chutney at same time
- price = $3.50
- decent value for the dollar
- what, if changed, would have been even better? a second slice of bread - then there would have been enough for the amount of cheese and chutney - but that is merely a suggestion and not a complaint

Second breakfast in Belgium

Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream and a Baguette


Thoughts / Comments:

- good value for the dollar ($3.75)
- mussels in a restaurant can be borderline, this was way better than I was expecting from a kiosk
- that said, I cannot speak for quality / consistency over the course of the day - this was early in the WS "day"

First Lunch - France

Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Snails in Garlic and Parsley Brioche)
Parisian Cosmo Slush (Ciroc Vodka, Grand Marnier, and Cranberry Juice)


Thoughts / Comments
- Escargot = $4.95; Cosmo = $8.50
- Both enjoyed and worthy of repeating and recommendation


12-28-2011, 06:38 PM
I'm thinking you were at the Alsace Frunch on the 28th, and we were there on the 30th, so I doubt you have our picture!

Definite thumbs up on the Parisian Cosmo slushy!

Going back to read your report again, did not notice Dogliani.

12-28-2011, 10:26 PM
I'm thinking you were at the Alsace Frunch on the 28th, and we were there on the 30th, so I doubt you have our picture! Yes, I WAS at Frunch on the 28th!

02-16-2012, 05:52 PM
Resuming this post / thread so that my travel buddies for October 2012 can get a visual idea of what some of their options might be!

Our tour begins with the iconic images and theme of the 2011 festival - Passport of Flavors - in front of the geosphere...


and the Festival Center (formerly "Wonders of Life")


where we had our first F&S event food and wine pairing - ever!

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Cranberry Red Wine Sauce and Edamame and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Infused Cous Cous
...presented by TJ Sudiswa (GF Resort & Spa)

Accompanied by Purple Wine Avalon Napa Cabernet
... from the Purple Wine Co, California

.. in this shot, you can see the recipe / event information (center), the wine pouring (you can still see the legs/tears on the side of the glass) and, front and center, my vacation planning worksheet


Here, a CM distributes little gifts of infused oil to the guests...


... which I actually used, cooking at home a couple of weeks later

TJ (left) is cranking up the crowd; the gentleman on the right functioned as MC


... after which TJ demonstrated food preparations while the MC and wine rep looked on


A sample of the dish served to each of us


... followed by a little, unexpected, dessert


... and concluding with Chef thanking his team


This was my first such event and I was pleasantly surprised:
- the wait was pleasant (not jostling line)
- the event professionally executed (no hiccups)
- it was entertaining and educational
- I had no previous history of participating in such an event for free (prior years), so I was not off put by the modest $10 charge ($8 if I had been willing to jump through a few more hoops for discount)
- I find the company (strangers you sit with at the table) generally very convivial
- I will definitely be doing this type of event again.


02-17-2012, 06:11 PM
The infamous Cranberry Bog, with the CM Bog-guy (left side of bog) explaining everything you might want to know about cranberries


Headed back to Festival Center the next day for another Culinary Demo, snapping this standard / classic along the way (one of the better attraction signs, I think) - Universe of Energy....


The Brazil kiosk, in passing, in context of the park


A brief stop at the Argentina kiosk, where we sampled
Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree
... and Terrazas Reserva Torrontes


which we took over to a conveniently place table


We always stop to listen to the Mariachi Band, in their "new" performance space...


Finally, settled in at the demo.....

Gingered Duck Confit, Port Wine infused Cipollini Onions over a Brown butter and Rosemary Crouton
... presented by Russell Palmer (Hollywood Brown Derby, Disney's Hollywood Studios)

Spice Route Winery, South Africa
... Spice Route Pinotage

Chef Russel explaining the preparations


The dish....


From my rare collection of notes...
- Garnish = microgreens braised leeks
- Drizzle port sauce and brown butter on plate
- You can order duck fat online, it stores forever (or, if you live near a Wegmans, they carry it in the meat section) - can be used a couple of times, if strained
- I you don't want to eat, or pay the price, you could watch from outside the official "space," sitting on benches, watching on large screen

My summary thought - between the wine, quality of food sample, table, service, learning, etc. I preferred this experience to straight up kiosk grazing - not that they are mutually exclusive.


02-17-2012, 06:22 PM
There's a lot to be said for Epcot this time of year.....

The signage...


The foliage.....



Observing the special F&W elements in the train exhibition in Germany, including the cranberry bog, and small scale kiosks (white one = Greece)


The Jammitors, with their F&W-themed instruments..



02-17-2012, 06:44 PM
Finally, the kiosks not already mentioned, working from a combination of receipts, the passport book and pictures ...

Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles - DH bought and consumed this

Limoncello - "Italian Martguerita" - tasted a lot like the palate cleanser at Palo - a lot of lemon flavor for one drink!


New Zealand
Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad (my notes = pretty good for kiosk food, scallop not overcooked)
Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc (my notes, good citrus, grass; not worth looking up in a store)


Shrimp Taco
Tacos de Ribeye

Unibroue Ephemere Draft (multiple times)
Unibroue Trois Pistole (multiple times)


dvc at last !
02-17-2012, 07:50 PM
I am enjoying the report.

02-18-2012, 09:39 AM
Thank you for stopping by. I have officially posted all the pictures that I am going to post.

My main goal for sharing is so that people who are trying to decide whether to go to the F&W, can get a better sense of what the experience is like - in this case, I am helping plan a family get-together for a week during F&W in 2012, and wanted the relatives to be able to see the experience.

12-12-2012, 08:14 AM
Just browsing through your reviews I found off of the Monsieur Paul's review.
Your reviews are absolutely lovely. What wonderful experiences!

I just had to share~ when I saw one of the wine pairings from your CG dinner was a Sbragia 2007 Cabernet, I was excited. My nephew got married last year at their family vineyards in California. It was absolutely beautiful and the Sbragia family is wonderful. They are good friends of his!

Thank you for sharing all your fantastic reviews and photos!