For the third year in a row, Derek and I headed to WDW and Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival. This is absolutely one of our favorite times of the year to go to WDW and one of our favorite events. This year, we were living in different locations as Derek had already moved out to Albuquerque, so we arrived at different times on Saturday. Lucky me, I arrived early enough that day to partake in “Taste, Shake, and Indulge like the French” – a Grand Marnier tasting at the France pavilion. I had convinced Beth, Noel, Carlos, and Eileen to join me for this (yeah, ok, it wasn’t hard to convince them) – although I would have gone alone.
The event was held at Monsieur Paul’s, the French restaurant on the upper level. When we arrived, the tables were already set with shakers, muddlers, and strainers (I had visions of those being take-home gifts, but alas that was not to be). The servers immediately came around and brought us a plate with a madeleine, mint leaves, lemons, a piece of chocolate, and an orange rind (I think). They also served us a grand marnier mimosa – what a nice start to the tasting!
We would get to taste four Grand Marniers and then make a Grand Marnier cocktail. From left to right – the first was the standard Cordon Rouge, then the 100th anniversary and the 150th anniversary, and a flavored one – in our case Raspberry Peach. Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored cognac – apparently they chose oranges to mix with cognac, because at the time, oranges were considered quite exotic and special. My favorite was the 100th anniversary.
They also taught us to mix a cocktail – a Grand Marnier smash – which involved muddling with mint and lemon. It was delicious.
To complement the Grand Marnier, they prepared crepes suzette for us with a Grand Marnier tart. This was far too much food and drink at this point – but that did not stop me! The crepes were wonderful – but the tart was amazing.
All in all – we had a wonderful time at this event – and the food and alcohol put me in a far happier mood than when I arrived (I had had a bit of a trial getting my annual pass activated).
I then headed back to our resort – the Animal Kingdom Lodge – to meet Derek. It was wonderful to see him, as we hadn’t seen eachother for two weeks. We headed to the Magic Kingdom, primarily to get his annual pass activated – and caught this spectacular sky:
Finally, we met up again with the crew (Beth, Noel, Eileen, and Carlos) for dinner at The Wave. Derek and I both enjoyed our entrees:
and then had the gelato trio for dessert. Honestly, I found these disappointing – the flavors were pretty muted.
All in all – a wonderful start to our trip!