Foodies get ready…the 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival starts August 31 at Walt Disney World, celebrating its 22nd year.
With 39 new dishes and 65 new cocktails and beverages, the annual festival features 35 marketplaces featuring food and beverage samples representing countries around the world.
This weekend the annual Taste! Central Florida took place, and it was an evening of great food and drink which raised funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and the Coalition for the Homeless.
The numbers have yet to come in, but it’s safe to say the event raised a lot of money that will stay in Central Florida to help those in need.
Since I can’t report on the numbers, I’m going to list my choices for favorites at the event. Keep in mind I have food allergies so I couldn’t try everything. But of the dishes I tried, here’s my most memorable:
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express, returns Aug. 25 – Oct. 1 with an unprecedented number of restaurants, each offering a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for just $35 per person.
Celebrating its 12th year, the popular dining promotion offers over 100 restaurants throughout the Orlando area for local foodies or visiting gourmands who are looking to try out a local favorite or one of the hottest new venues added to Orlando’s growing culinary scene.
It’s almost time for the 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and we have the full listing of food and beverage that will be available at the marketplaces.
Each marketplaces centers on a specific country, featuring dishes native to that country. There are also a couple of marketplaces that group food to a concept, allowing more latitude in the menu.
We don’t have prices to share, but based on recent years, most samples will cost between $3-$8 per item.
To help you plan your visit(s) to the fest, here are all the food and beverage marketplaces to enjoy:
Recently, we were in Cape Canaveral, Florida and decided to try Zarrella’s Italian & Wood Fired Pizza. Friends have mentioned this restaurant to us, and it did not disappoint us.
Their menu had a good variety listed and they also had a few off menu options that looked and sounded amazing. One dish looked especially yummy from the pictures on the iPad. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of one pasta dish. And, honestly, I couldn’t spell it even if I did remember it. I do know that it was amazing. The linguini was cooked perfectly al dente, the clams, shrimp and crab were not over cooked, and the sauce was light while having plenty of it made with butter, garlic, clam sauce.
While leading the kitchen at Walt Disney World’s Flying Fish Cafe, Chef Tim Keating elevated the Boardwalk Inn restaurant into a must-do experience. When the cafe closed for refurbishment, Keating took that opportunity to take over the kitchen at Urbain 40 in Dr Phillips’ Restaurant Row, and he is presently focused on giving it the same makeover.
We were invited to enjoy a tasting menu and judge for ourselves how far Chef Keating has come in his first six months in the role.
Once a year, the Orlando Weekly produces a culinary event called Bite30, that offers great prix fixe deals at select restaurants for an entire month.
From now until June 30, participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus that offer multi-course lunches or dinners at a set price of $30. Diners get the opportunity to try multiple dishes on the restaurant’s menu for about the cost of a single entree, and restaurants get to showcase their specialty dishes.
Spoleto in Winter Park launches inaugural Pasta Fest with at two-day culinary celebration for all the weekend of June 3-4, 2017.
The event will kick-off Saturday with samplings of Spoleto’s menu, including complimentary build-your-own pasta bowls, and a sneak peek of new menu offerings before they launch throughout the day. There will also be live music and happy hour specials.
Normally the Orlando Science Center is fun for all ages, but on select nights, it’s reserved strictly for adults 21+.
That night is Science Night Live and it returns June 3.
This is a craft beer addition, and it will feature the opportunity to sample local and national brewers, as well as take in informal craft beer seminars.
Prior to arriving at Nine Spices Hotpot, the last time I’d eaten a hotpot meal was when I was 8. Once seated at my table, it became apparent hotpot had evolved quite a bit in the last few decades.
Our table featured an induction burner for each seating…and then I noticed the conveyor belt about eye level behind my head with a never-ending parade of food.
Our server was very patient and explained how their hotpot service worked.
In this week’s Orlando dining news round-up: new menus, new openings, and several closings. Are you hungry? Let’s dive in…
After seven years, Portobello Italian Trattoria has closed at Disney Springs, and is currently undergoing renovations. James Beard award-winner and Top Chef Master, Tony Mantuano, is leading the development of the restaurant, which will still offer Italian cuisine. The revamped eatery, still operated by Levy Restaurants, is set to reopen Fall 2017.
Orlando get your engines ready…North America’s first Ace Cafe will host its Grand Opening Weekend May 19-21, 2017.
All three days of the grand opening weekend will feature cool cars and hot bikes, live rock ‘n roll inside and outside both day and night, a BMW R nineT Racer motorcycle raffle benefiting Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (APCH), live demonstrations by three world-famous artists, onsite activities and brand partner merchandise (while supplies last), and a free Friday night concert by Memphis’ Rockin’ Jason D. Williams
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is partnering with leading beverage companies to produce a series of events called the TasteMaker Dinners, and I was recently invited to enjoy an evening filled with great food paired with Johnnie Walker Whisky.
Whisky and steak seems a no-brainer, but the chefs at the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse elevated the meal with some out of the box dishes.
Earlier this year, the Orlando food scene lost Chef Bryce Balluff when he passed away. This month, Millenia 106 and Chef Bruno Fonseca will host a benefit wine dinner for his family on May 18.
MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Central Florida, is hosting a free Margherita pizza event this weekend, May 5 to 7, 2017.
The Margherita is one of the restaurants most popular pizzas, featuring ingredients representing the Italian flag: basil (green) and mozzarella (white) on a bed of crushed tomato sauce (red).