Our Experience at the 2023 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

by | Nov 15, 2023 | Walt Disney World Food, Walt Disney World Resorts, WDW Blog

We’re sharing our experience with visiting the 2023 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is an annual eating and drinking extravaganza that takes place on the gorgeous promenade connecting the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels. Now in its 15th season, the event has grown immensely in size this year and features more food and beverage offerings than ever before. We were invited to experience the 2023 Food and Wine Classic on November 11, and we have all the delicious details to share from this year’s Classic!

2023 Food and Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

The Food and Wine Classic is an annual ticketed event that grants guests access to unlimited food and beverage offerings, themed areas, and live entertainment that make up the event. This year, there were over 85 different alcoholic beverage locations sprinkled throughout the promenade!

Unlimited Wine, Beer, and Spirits Tastings

The beverage stations consisted mostly of wines from around the world. Countries like Australia, Italy, France, and New Zealand made up the international offerings, while wines from California and Oregon completed the domestic offerings. At the event, each guest is given a reusable wine glass upon check-in that is meant to be taken from station to station where wine connoisseurs poured tasting directly from the bottle at each station. 

This year, an expanded craft beer area was nestled on the banks of the scenic Swan beach. The beer tastings focused largely on local Florida brews, something brand new to this year’s Classic! In addition to beer, seltzers and select spirits were served as part of the unlimited tastings as well. With so many alcoholic beverages to sample, it was great that each booth provided just a small pour of the offered drinks so that guests could try more options without overly indulging. 

Dozens of Food Offerings 

Each and every dish at The Food and Wine Classic is created in-house at the Swan and Dolphin. The planning and prep process begins about ten months ahead of the annual event, and the chefs and pastry chefs that make up the Swan and Dolphin team have been hard at work crafting this year’s offerings since February! These food booths are located among the beverage locations along the Promenade, with additional themed areas this year!

A Chinatown area served spicy vegan noodles and dumplings. A carnival-inspired foods section encircled the Swan pool, complete with carnival-style games benefiting Children’s Miracle Network! Finally, a Florida-themed area infused fresh and local flavors into their food offerings. 

A Few Favorite Offerings

I tried SO many different food offerings this year, but there were three items that were true standouts! The thick, handmade pasta noodles coated in a garlic butter sauce and topped with a tomato-marinated clam was a very memorable offering from Il Mulino. The garlicky sauce was cooked into the pasta before being topped with the clam, so the potency of the sauce became almost one with the dense homemade noodles, making this a fantastic dish to pair with white wine. 

2023 food and wine classic

Photo by Maria Salerno

The crab and salmon taco from Bluezoo was another fantastic item. The combination of the two different seafood options made for a very flavorful and texturally unique take on the classic fish taco, while the addition of chewy chickpeas and a sweet sauce drizzle helped the dish evolve in flavor as we ate. This paired well with a slightly sweet white wine.

Photo by Maria Salerno

Finishing with Dessert

Finally, the chocolate mousse flambe dessert offering rounded out my favorites from the night. The thick and rich chocolate mousse perched on a dark chocolate cookie was actually set on fire before my eyes! The heat caused the outermost shell of the mousse to slightly soften and gave the cherry center a delicious molten texture.

2023 food and wine classic

Photo by Maria Salerno

The addition of vanilla ice cream provided a great temperature contrast to the slightly warm mousse, and it was so tasty, that I could not resist going back for a second one of these, especially when paired with one of the domestic dry reds!

A Lively, Yet Relaxing Evening on the Promenade

Three different live entertainment offerings made up this year’s shows. An 8-piece band, complete with live horns, performed beneath an extremely impressive projection display on the Dolphin’s facade. Dancing projections, lights, and music were synced to create an extremely lively and fun atmosphere on the main promenade. Over in the Florida section, a country band played down home tunes, setting an appropriate feeling environment for the beer and foods being served there. Finally, a three-piece band in the Rose Room set the tone for an upscale beverage-tasting setting!

Photo by Maria Salerno

While the bands were energetic, and fun, and played popular songs that many guests were singing along to, it was easy to escape to quieter areas if that’s more your style! Many of the tables, like in the Carnival area and Chinatown, were separated from the entertainment so that relaxing conversations could easily be carried out if so desired. 

No matter what I was looking for, whether a salty bite, a savory comfort dish, a rocking environment, a dry or sweet wine, a local beer, or a sweet surprise, I was able to find all of that and more at the 2023 Food and Wine Classic! 

Thank you to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin for inviting us to experience the Food and Wine Classic. We were given the chance to experience the limited-time annual event that returns each November.

Posts by Maria Salerno

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Maria is a proud WDW Magazine columnist and blog contributor. After holding a WDW Annual Pass in the Northeast USA for 4 years, she recently moved just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World to be as close as possible to her favorite place on earth! Maria is a Certified Disney Travel Agent and private music instructor. Next time you visit WDW, keep your ears open, you just might catch Maria singing and playing guitar at Epcot or Disney Springs!
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Authored by
Maria Salerno

Maria is a proud WDW Magazine columnist and blog contributor. After holding a WDW Annual Pass in the Northeast USA for 4 years, she recently moved just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World to be as close as possible to her favorite place on earth! Maria is a Certified Disney Travel Agent and private music instructor. Next time you visit WDW, keep your ears open, you just might catch Maria singing and playing guitar at Epcot or Disney Springs!
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