Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic: Cheaper than Epcot, just as tasty

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If you look very closely, you can see brown-butter-basted lobster tails
  • If you look very closely, you can see brown-butter-basted lobster tails

Just think of the second annual Food & Wine Classic, held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, as a fest within a fest. It's held during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, but unlike the larger, budget-busting gourmand-a-palooza, the Food & Wine Classic won't hit your wallet as hard. A mere $65 will afford you unlimited food and wine samples on the resort's causeway – samples like brown butter-basted lobster rolls from Todd English's bluezoo, carved New York strips from Shula's Steak House and hand-cut taglietelle with braised lamb ragu from Il Mulino, just to name a few.

English himself will be on-hand to greet guests, though two-time world pastry champion Laurent Branlard is sure to lure them away with seven different sweet sensations, including bananas foster served with a coconut fondant cake. Beverage stations will keep guests slaked with sakes, cocktails, beers and wines from around the world – did I mention swigs are unlimited? For an extra $35, guests can also partake in a variety of hour-long seminars taught by certified sommeliers and mixologists from the hotel (the Wine Blending class was irreverently informative), though a free "Cocktail 101" class will recur during the course of the event.

Best of all, you'll forgo paying park admission ($85), plus the cost to regularly feed yourself at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival – between $3-$7 for appetizer-sized portions – which can really add up.

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic runs Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., with seminars starting at 4:30 p.m. -- Faiyaz Kara

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