I was originally invited to a preview of the Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Bonnet Creek, an event that runs through November 24th, 2019. The preview had to be rescheduled, so it became more of “a look at” the ninth annual event as it is in progress. Food & Wine Weekends kicked off on September 13th, 2019 and there is still a lot more time to enjoy it! The Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando both turn 10 years old this month, and the Food & Wine Weekends event has been an annual tradition for most of that time.
Food & Wine Weekends celebrate the culinary excellence at the two resorts – some of the highest rated Orlando area restaurants are inside of them, including Bull & Bear and La Luce (both currently in the top 5 on TripAdvisor of Orlando area top restaurants – out of almost 3000). Here is a look at just some of this year’s event!
Food & Wine Weekends allows guests to enjoy a set four-course tasting menu at Bull & Bear, La Luce and Zeta Asia, along with offering other experiences including Bar Du Chocolat & Champagne Tasting, Cocktail Creations and more. There are vegan tasting menus available at each restaurant as well. And I don’t know of anyone in the area that creates desserts quite like the Waldorf Astoria. Bar Du Chocolat is at Peacock Alley, which is a gorgeous location in the Waldorf Astoria and offers a Royal Tea every Sunday.
I am starting with the dessert table, which include a large macaron with chocolate inside and a variety of other creations. I photographed this area first.
I did not try everything, but what I sampled was creative and well crafted.
The dessert below was complex and included chocolate and coffee.
This is the Waldorf Astoria’s take on the classic mille-feuille.
Before indulging in the desserts above, I tried a number of the items available from the restaurants. First up was Bull & Bear.
I don’t eat a lot of pork, but the Iberico Double Cut Pork Chop was fantastic. And it comes with Potato Pave – it would make for a very nice entree (third course on the menu).
Here is a look at my sample of the pork and potato. The meat had a lot of flavor and the potatoes are layered in a way I’ve not often been served.
Another option from Bull & Bear is the Oyster Rockefeller (second course on the menu). I don’t eat seafood so I can’t talk about taste.
Taste of Zeta Asia offers the least expensive of the four-course menus. There is a variety of sushi on the menu.
Also included are Pork Bao Buns – these includes slow-roasted pork belly with tangy Asian BBQ sauce (second course).
This was my tasting from Zeta Asia.
I tried the vegan option, the Beyond Beef Bibimbap. I am not vegan but I do like expanding into vegetable and meatless options sometimes when available. It is great to see the Hilton and Waldorf add quality vegan tasting options.
This was one of my favorite food items of the night, from La Luce. It is the Lasagne Al Funghi – lasagne with mushrooms, spinach and truffle cheese. If there is any downside to it, the dish is extremely filling and decadent. I love pasta and mushrooms, and it is nice to have a different take on a standard lasagne.
The Arancini wasn’t too different in taste then what I’ve had before – it’s one of two first course items to choose from at La Luce. It includes saffron, veal shanks and aged provolone.
From the vegan tasting menu, this is this the Cauliflower Salad. It is a simple, healthy option.
Cocktail Creation is available Saturdays 4:30pm – 5:30pm at Peacock Alley in the Waldorf Astoria.
The description in the booklet provided says “Muddle, mix and sample! Guests partake in a complimentary interactive experience creating their very own specialty cocktails”.
This is called the Bees Knees and includes honey.
Chef Bernard Fiemeyer and his team created a chocolate bark mix.
This was one of my favorite desserts of the evening.
There are wine pairings available to add with the four-course meals.
The team in charge of our preview and the food we tried was on hand.
Food & Wine Weekends is a great way to try some of the best restaurants in Orlando!