Swan & Dolphin: Food & Wine Classic

October 2015 Trip Review

This was the second time that my husband and I attended the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. In 2014 we went on Friday of the two night event, but this year the menu for the food booths was just a bit more to our liking on Saturday night. The food offerings were different on the two nights, except for the Shula’s booth, so I’m sure there are some who attend both nights so that they can try it all. :thumbsup2

Anyway, it looks as if they have already posted their menus for the 2016 F & W Classic at http://www.swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/eat/menu/all.html You can also buy your tickets there in advance, which is what I did again in 2015. The cost for a Causeway ticket (with unlimited food and beverages from more than 50 food & beverage stations) was $98.85 plus tax & service fees (total ended up being $105) and I believe the price will be the same this year. A La Carte ticket booklets containing 25 tickets were also available for purchase that night at the event at a cost of $50. The food offerings at most stations were 3 or 4 tickets per item (or $6 – $8), except for the station hosted by Chef Todd English (which was 5 tickets or $10) and the Shula’s steak was 6 tickets (or $12). :eek:

My husband and I arrived at the Swan & Dolphin causeway at around 5:15 (the official start time of the event was 5:30) but there was already a good size crowd there so I think that several of the stations had opened early. We checked in at the Will Call table and were each given a plastic tray and wine glass, along with a guide book.

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We immediately found an empty table towards the end of one leg of the causeway, not far from the Shula’s station (Letter “L” on the map).

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The Shula’s steak had been one of our favorites last year, so we decided that that was where we wanted to begin. It seems that many others had the same idea, because a line had already formed at the Shula’s station and it wasn’t even quite 5:30 yet. After getting a glass of pinot noir from one of the nearby wine stations, I sat and held our table while my DH got in the Shula’s line. Thankfully the line moved quickly and he was soon back with these…

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Carved Prime New York Strip, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sauce Bordelaise

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This was delicious, and just like last year Shula’s was one of our favorites. I’m pretty sure my husband had a second of these, maybe even a third. ;) The pinot noir that we had randomly chosen for our first wine taste actually paired pretty well with the steak too. I don’t recall from what winery this was from, as I estimate there were about 15 different pinot noirs available to taste that night at the 40 beverage stations. Nearly 50 different wineries were represented from 7 different countries. About half of these were U.S. wineries from the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California (some familiar names to me were Coppola, Kenwood, Rodney Strong, 14 Hands, Robert Mondavi, and Avalon). And though Pinot Noirs seemed to be quite prevalent, I think there were actually more Chardonnays there. But no worries if you weren’t a fan of either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay because there were also several Cabernets and Sauvignon Blancs, as well as a few Merlots, Malbecs, Pinot Grigios, Proseccos, and Chiantis. Rounding out the wine offerings were a Cabernet Shiraz from the Australia station, a Torrontes from the Argentina station, a Moscato from one of the four Italy wine stations, and to my surprise…only one Riesling from a California winery. :confused3 Also, in addition to wine, there was a Chandon Champagne station, 3 beer stations, and a Japan station which served sake.

As for the food stations, there were 12 (Letters A – L on the map) plus four carnival-style food trucks in the Carnival Corner area. All 9 of the Swan & Dolphin restaurants were represented, plus Chef Robert Ciborowski and Chef Laurent Branlard (the executive chef and executive pastry chef of the Swan and Dolphin Resort) each had their own station (Cib’s Smokehouse and the Laurent Branlard Dessert station). The 12th food station was hosted by the renowned chef, television star, and owner of over 20 restaurants (including bluezoo at Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Resort), Todd English. And in case you were wondering, the very handsome Chef Todd English was actually there and I took a photo of him with my DIS friend Niki (Niki Andiokno).

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And speaking of Niki, we were able to meet up with her and her DH a couple of times during the night. We enjoyed sharing our table and comparing notes with them…

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Ok, now let’s get back to the food. Todd English was serving a seafood dish, of course…

 

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Bay Sea Scallops, Fall Squash, Citrus Fruits, and Hobb’s Applewood Smoked BaconNext up for us was the Cabana Bar & Beach Club station, which was serving…[IMG]

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Buffalo Chicken Wings, Pickled Celery, Petite Carrots, and Blue Cheese Fondue
Followed by the station for Il Mulino, the Swan’s signature Italian restaurant, which was serving…

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Mascarpone-Chestnut Ravioli, Italian Sausage, Celery Root and Bacon Jus
Then we moved on to the main causeway area between the Swan and the Dolphin hotels for Round 2. Our first stop was at the Fountain’s station for this…

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Soft Shell Crab Roll, White Bread, Old Bay Remoulade, and Tomato FonduePicabu was next for us, where they had a Taqueria station with a choice of a veggie taco…[IMG]

…or a braised pork taco.

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They had toppings to add, so we topped our tacos with queso fresco and pico de gallo…

 

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Then it was on to check out the bluezoo station, where they were serving…

 

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Ginger Cured Hamachi, Nitro Lime, Romaine Leaves, and Green Olives

I think we both passed on this one, as neither of us are fans of raw fish.

We did however both enjoy the offering at the Garden Grove station…

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Fish ‘n’ Chips: Beer Battered Sustainable Bass topped with Tartar Foam & Sarson’s Malt Vinegar Chips

The fish was pretty good, but the chips were delicious!

FRESH was up next, where we found this…

 

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Wild Shrimp, Young Bamboo, Crispy Yuba, and Plum SauceWe then found another of our favorites of the night at Cib’s Smokehouse…

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Smoked Wagyu Short Ribs, Parsnip Puree, Melba Toast, and Pommery Mustard Sauce

 

Then we ended Round 2 at the Kimonos station with this…

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Dragon Roll with Crispy Shrimp, Tuna, Avocado, and Japanese Mayonnaise

We then took a break to listen to the live band which was performing on the stage in front of the entrance to the Dolphin hotel.

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Then it was on to Round 3…Dessert! :thumbsup2

There were four desserts being served at Chef Laurent Branlard’s Dessert station and we took one of each of these to share.

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S’more Sundae with White Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream, Graham Cracker Streusel, Raspberry Compote, Raspberry Marshmallows, Vanilla Whipped Cream, and Caramelized Hazelnuts

This was very good!


The one dessert that I didn’t care for though was the…

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Lime Panna Cotta, Lime Gelee, Coconut Lemongrass Pineapple Soup

I’m not generally a fan of lime/lemon desserts, so it wasn’t surprising that I didn’t like this one. My DH thought it was okay though, so ate almost all of this one.

The third dessert was much better for me…

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Chocolate Almond Crunch Cake

We both enjoyed the Chocolate Crunch Cake, but actually our favorite was this dessert…

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Coffee Caramel Pecan Eclair

This was delicious and another one of our favorites of the night!

We were quite full at this point so were ready to call it a night, despite the fact that it was only about 8:30 and the event didn’t end until 9:00. But as we were beginning to make our way out of the main causeway area I remembered that we hadn’t yet checked out the Carnival Corner area. Much to my surprise I was actually able to get my husband to make a detour to this area, where four carnival food trucks were set up. An even bigger surprise was that he was willing to share with me the items which were offered at three out of four of these trucks.

So Round 4 began with a tasty snack from the Nitro Kettel Corn truck…

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Popcorn with Caramel Foam, Honey Roasted Peanuts with Sea Salt, and Liquid Nitrogen

The next food truck was serving mini funnel cakes…

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When I reached the front of the line I discovered that I had a choice of toppings: powdered sugar, three different fruit toppings, and Nutella. I hadn’t realized that there would be a choice so I panicked a bit and ordered my funnel cake with all of the available toppings. :laughing:

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This turned out to be a mistake, as the flavors did not seem to go well together. Not a big deal though because the Cabot Creamery Pop-Up Bar’s gourmet mac & cheese that we tried was awesome! It was so good that we each wanted one of our own. :thumbsup2

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Cabot Creamery Herb Mac & Cheese with assorted toppings

This was another favorite!

We were beyond full at this point and couldn’t possibly eat another bite, even though the corn dogs that were being served by the fourth food truck, Texas Style Corn Dogs, sounded good…

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So after the mac & cheese we finally left the Swan & Dolphin causeway…

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…and took a much needed walk back to the Boardwalk, where they were having a Halloween party on the lawn.

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Having just attended an awesome adult Halloween party, we passed on this one. ;)

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