After months and months of anticipation, Walt Disney World’s 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has begun. If you haven’t already booked your travel arrangements, consider the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort for your epicurean “home base” for this year’s festivities. Not only is this resort a cut above any Disney Deluxe Resort (here’s why), it is also offering it’s own complementary Food & Wine Experiences as the resort ushers in it’s fourth year of “Food & Wine Weekends” from September 19th – November 9th, 2014.
For eight weekends, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort and it’s attached sister property the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort will feature educated diners special programming and events aimed to complement and “fill the gaps” around the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
This weekend I attended a preview of “Global Venture – a Wine Pairing Dinner” at Bull & Bear inside the Waldorf.
Our dinner started of with not one amuse bouche, but two, along with a celebratory glass of champagne. Above is a beef and romesco sauce and below is a cheddar cracker with fennel confit and mushroom sausage.
Next diners were presented with a beautiful bouquet of bread to choose from.
Wisconsin Pride – Cheddar (two and four year) Cheese Souffle, Roasted Fava Beans, Pumpernickel Croutons. Warm and gooey and definitely rich. The creamy cheese is broken up nicely with the roasted favas which reminded me of crisp pepitas as well as the croutons and cracker.
This first dish was paired with a 2011 Pouilly-Fuisse unoaked Chardonnay which was a beautiful complement to the cheese dish.
Pasta Explosion – Pata Negra de Bellota, Parmigiano Reggiano. One of Bull & Bear’s signature starters. Brought to the table with a special spoon for consuming. Diners are meant to scoop each pasta pillow up with the spoon and let the bite melt in their mouth bringing a literal pasta explosion experience.
The Pasta Explosion was paired with a contrasting 2013 Triennes Rose.
Bull & Bear Fried Chicken – Yukon Golden Mash Potato, Gravy. The preparation of this dish is painstaking. First the chicken is brined. It is then rolled and sous-vied. Finally it is coated and quickly deep friend so as just to crispen the exterior breading. The dish is carved table side.
The chicken came paired with a 2010 L’Ecole No 41 Syrah. This was a beautiful wine.
Tomahawk – 38 oz Allen Brothers Prime 32-Day Dry Aged. This cut is called a tomahawk for good reason. It looks exactly like the axe is named for. Offered and priced normally for two. This cut is basically a cowboy steak or ribeye. It is carved and served table side with a bulb of slow roasted garlic and a unique tallow candle made from the steak drippings which is meant to be poured over the meat for extra flavor.
For this experience we were served sides of Wilted Spinach, Au Gratin Potato and my favorite B&B Frittes, which are Hand Cut Idaho Fries Cooked in Tallow and Sprinkled with Steak Seasoning.
The Tomahawk Steak was paired with a 2009 Hugh Hamilton Jeckyll & Hyde McLaren Vale Shiraz Voignier blend. I loved the label on this wine, which was a black sheep and the caption “Every family has one”.
On the menu, our final course was listed as “Chef’s Choice Dessert“. Little did we know that this would translate to four of the top desserts served at Bull & Bear.
Creme Brulee Flambee – Presented to the table in it’s most literal form…flaming. This delightfully burnt cream has a hidden agenda…a small layer of chocolate on the bottom.
Chocolate Cigar – Crisp chocolate tuile cookie filled with decadent chocolate cream. Served with squid ink dyed meringue to resemble cigar ash.
The Lemon – Lemon Peel which has been cooked so that it is edible. Filled with lemon and chantilly cream and garnished with a shortbread cookie. Divine!
Napoleon – Puff Pastry filled with pistachio pastry creme topped with Caribbean 12 year old Rum sauce, crumbled meringue, macaroons and black walnuts.
Dessert was served with a small aperitif glass of 2002 Tschida Trockenbeerenauslese Sämling, which is a sweet Riesling.
Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinners are offered on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm at the Bull and Bear steakhouse inside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort. Reservations are required. There is one seating per night of up to 16 guests and the dinner is served at one large table so guests are able to talk and mingle with one another. The cost is $110 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Bull & Bear Steakhouse
Inside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821
Special Thanks to Bull & Bear for hosting me at this dinner. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own.