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It’s not often that one can dine like a queen, but that is exactly how I felt at the ‘White Truffle Food & Wine Dinner’ at Victoria & Albert’s,  a fine dining restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort, Walt Disney World. This wasn’t simply a ‘dinner’, but rather, a gastronomic experience!

From the moment we stepped through the double doors, dressed in clothing fitting such an event (I, in a cream gown, hubby in a tux), we were greeted warmly by Lana and escorted to our table, formally set with linens, fine china and real silver flatware. A small ottoman promptly arrived next to my chair to discreetly hold my evening bag as we were handed our personalized menus for the evening.

I felt a combination of excitement and nerves as to what was to happen next. Random thoughts ran crazily through my head… ‘Just breathe’…  ‘Don’t drop your napkin’…  ‘Elbows off the table’…  ‘Did I put on antiperspirant??’…  ‘Oh, my, what is that knife for?’

The outstanding wait staff did all they could to put us at ease so, as I sipped champagne and chatted with our friends at the table, I relaxed and thought, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ :-)

Folks, it was wonderful!  Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel is a master at his craft and, along with his elite staff (led by Israel Perez, Maitre d’ Hotel and Erich Herbitschek, Pastry Chef), presented plate after exquisite plate. My taste buds will never be the same but I know they are better for the experience.

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The slideshow doesn’t begin to do the food justice (poor lighting, no room to move, etc.). As the evening wore on (dinner lasted 6 hours), we were all feeling the effects of the wine and the ambience (which totally explains that one photo showing a mostly eaten cheese course. Ooops! ;-) )

If you ever get the chance to enjoy such an evening, I strongly recommend it!

Please Note: Unfortunately, I cannot control how quickly the images advance. HOWEVER, if you hover your mouse over the slideshow area, a set of controls will display allowing you to STOP the auto advancement of the images. Then, you can use the forward and back arrows to scroll through the images at your leisure.

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42 Comments

  1. It LOOKS amazing and I’m sure it tasted it too. My only regret in this menu is the truffle theme, since they are in the fungi/mould family they are sadly on my allergy list, so most of the things on this particular menu that I wouldn’t have been able to try.
    I’m having a giggle at what happened to the cheese course… I’ve been there, done that often enough, remembering to take photos is really hard sometimes when the food looks so tempting and you are hungry.
    Isn’t it fabulous to be able to treat yourself like this once in a while? yum and seriously yum!
    As for the lack of good lighting, well, you did great in spite of it and now we are ALL hungry!

    • Hi Kiwi!!!

      Thanks! It DID taste AMAZING! The chefs make food look so very yummy, don’t they?? True artistry! Right from the get-go you just want to dig right in. Before this, I never really experienced truffles and both hubby and I were pleasantly surprised at how yummy they were! Nothing over-powered anything else and all of us would moan with pure pleasure as we tasted the first bite of each item. My favorite(s) of the night were the Porcini soup (I told the waitstaff to tell the chef that it felt like a warm ‘hug’…yummmmm) and the Bison carpaccio.

      Sad that you are allergic to fungi….I absolutely LOVE mushrooms! Oh, I actually DID think of you since one of the dishes had a parsnip puree! Also, at a different dinner, I had a wonderful parsnip and sunchoke soup and ALSO thought of you! I have to find out what sunchokes are since the soup was DIVINE (even garnished with a little diced apple).

      Yes, so NICE to indulge and how FUN to get all dolled up! I’d rather do that than just about anything else! :-)

  2. Now that is a dining experience!! It all sounds and looks wonderful. So glad that you were able to enjoy this. :)

    • Thank you, Ted! It was! We felt very fortunate to attend. It is not something most people can do. We are both ‘foodies’ so we truly appreciate all that goes into something like that and cannot even imagine the talent and skill it takes to pull it off! Most days, it is a struggle just to get a decent meal on the table! :-)

  3. Yowza! Great stuff!! How did you move after eating that???

    • Ha! I was waiting for someone to ask that!!! Should’ve known it would be you, Derrick. ;-)

      The plates were actually smallish in size and the dinner was spaced out over 6 hours. BUT, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to impart some restraint! With dinners like this you simply CANNOT eat every bite of food or drink all the wine they serve (and you definitely CANNOT eat all the bread!). You learn that the hard way. ;-)

      Plus, believe it or not, I was in the gym early THAT morning as well as early the NEXT morning workin’ off those calories! I strongly believe you CAN have your cake (or truffles) and eat it, too! :D

      • I figured you would be!! You’ve worked too hard this year to blow it all off. ;)

  4. Oh, what a beautifully arranged dinner, it must have been such a great experience to join in. I am happy on your behalf, and smiling when I imagine you suddenly remember that you hadn´t taken a photo of the cheese yet. Did you have your big camera in a little lady handbag?

    (I am doing the same thing, but my camera is very little :-) )

    • It certainly was a feast for the eyes (as well as the tummy!) That is sweet of you to be happy for me and that my lack in memory made you smile. (I actually forgot to photo a previous course as well before digging into it but fortunately, one of our friends hadn’t touched the dish yet so he allowed me to photo his!)

      Recently, we purchased a new P&S Nikon. It doesn’t quite fit in my handbag but fits in hubby’s jacket. :-) The restaurant is very used to folks wanting to photo the food and the wait staff also will take photos of couples since typically, they are all dressed up! They actually do a really nice job!

  5. Sounds amazing! But I’m especially impressed that your husband wears a tux. ;)

    • Thanks, Barb – it was! :-)

      Ha! Yes, hubby purchased a (classice style) tux 10 years ago for our 10th anniversary (we renewed our wedding vows). He always looks so dashing in it and since he started a running routine in April (which slimmed him down a bit), it fit him quite well! Not many places or opportunities to wear such a formal suit so he takes advantage of it when he can! :-)

  6. That looks totally amazing! My husband would eat every single bite. Several of those dishes look divine but, alas, I am not a red meat eater and not much of a white one either. What an enjoyable evening you must have had.

    • Thank you, Becky! I *think* my husband did eat every bite! I knew I couldn’t or else I’d have to have called it quits a few courses in.

      No red meat, huh? So you are a fish and poultry girl? Alas, there isn’t much I don’t eat. I really like food and when it is prepared so expertly, it is like a religious experience! :-)

  7. I had never had truffles until my husband (who is, coincidentally, a chef) got some from a friend. The ones we have are black truffles and I know they the taste is different, but I’m not sure how. Guess I’ll have to ask him! : )

    As for the food – the pictures are lovely despite all the obstacles you were facing and it looks AMAZING! Did you have a favorite dish or were they all out of the park fantastic?

    I had the good fortune to be able to dine at Club 33 in Disneyland and it wasn’t a six hour meal but it was the same level of attention, detail and delicious. Since it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I wish I’d taken more pictures, but I was much younger at the time and didn’t feel the need. (We were also trying to be discreet and considerate because Andy Garcia and his family were sitting at the next table over. !!!!) So sad I kept my point and click tucked away… lol! The memory of the meal and the experience is wonderful, however, and it seems yours will be the same!

    • Wow – lucky you! (1)., Your husband is a chef and (2)., you got in to Clubb 33! THAT is quite a feat! :-)

      Sad that you were shy about photographing the food at Club 33. But I can understand. We’ve been attending F&W events for many, many years and it is only recently that I’ve started to photograph the food. I find if you keep it quick and discreet, no one minds.

      I do believe all truffles taste different. This dinnere was white truffles and the staff told us tht they were using different ones for the different courses since the flavors of each varied.

      Thanks! Yes, ALL the dishes were AMAZING but two items stood out for me: the Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino in the Amuse Bouche (soooooo delicious beyond description!) and the Bison Carpaccio (perfect combination of flavors and textures). I guess the chefs also concur because these two items made it onto their regular menu! :-)

  8. Wow, to have the presence to take photos at such a dinner! How wonderful. and bet you looked great in your gown! And oh, such great food. A dream of mine to be able to afford to eat like that. :) Thanks so much for sharing your fun evening! :)

    • Thanks so much, Katie! I felt like a princess, for sure! :-)

      I feel so very fortunate to be able to partake in events like this. Some folks gamble, some folks go to the theatre, some folks buy expensive things. Us? Well, we eat! :-)

  9. Lucky you! My mouth is watering. A wonderful series of photographs. You really know how to photograph–and enjoy–food.

  10. That was absolute torture looking at all of that beautiful food… I’m trying to skip dinner tonight. Did you have a favorite course? If I were to guess I might take a stab that it was the cheese course that you ate before the photography. :)

    • Sorry… meant to ask which P&S you purchased. Pretty darn good shots for poor lighting!!

      • We’ve recently purchased two new cameras that are easier to carry than my Nikon D300. These images were taken with a Nikon Coolpix P7100. It is a little larger than a typical P&S but it has more features and it seems to perform so well in low light situations. I did have to do some brightening in Photoshop but nothing too drastic. Still learning the in’s and out’s of the camera but so far, it has done really well!

    • Ha! Sorry to torture you! (okay, not really!! ;-) )

      My favorite item was the Porcini Cappuccino (in the amuse bouche) and my favorite course was the cold-smoked Bison. Just incredible! The cheese course WAS also amazing but it the slip in memory was less about wanting to dig in and more about the amount of wine consumption that had occurred to that point! :-)

      Thanks for commenting!

  11. 6 hours?! Wowza (something tells me I would have been ‘politely asked to leave’ after about 6 minutes)!
    Incredible, M.P.! Sounds kind of stressful, but incredible none the less! :)

    • Ha! Nah…I don’t believe that for a minute! The staff goes out of their way to make you feel at home such that you forget just how formal the whole place is and you delight in the food and drink they bring to you. We chatted up them up asking all sorts of questions about the food and wine (turns out, most of them are ‘foodies’, too…in fact, one of the waiters was a classically trained chef! Being on in years, he now prefers to serve the food rather than cook it. ;-) )

      And, of course, it is all about baby steps…we didn’t jump into a dinner of this caliber before cutting our teeth (for years and years and years and…) on smaller events, building up to the grand daddy of them all. This is one for the history books! Thanks, Sig! :-)

  12. Tracy, you are LUCKY to be able to have a gourmet meal like this! It looks SO deIicious.
    I hope once to be able to visit such a place too…. Do you know, that the world’s No.1 awarded (2010) restaurant is here in Denmark – in Copenhagen? It is NOMA:
    http://www.noma.dk/main.php?lang=en
    The name is made of the two danish words NOrdisk (=Nordic) and MAd (=food).
    Maybe that should be your next gourmet restaurant?!

    • Lucky? Oh, yes indeed! ALL of it was amazing! If you are a foodie then you owe it to yourself to indulge in something such as this at least once! It is funny…I was thrilled to have such an exquisite food experience and yet, I can be equally as enthralled with simple fare. It really is all about the love of food and the chefs certainly love what they do and they pour themselves into each dish. I actually felt honored to be a small part of it!

      I’ve heard of NOMA but didn’t know anything about it. How about that?? Have you been??

      When I become a world traveller, I will simply HAVE to go and dine there!! Thanks so much, Truels! :-)

      • I hope you will come and dine at NOMA one day. And I would love to show you some highlights from this country. And no – I have not been dining at NOMA – yet ;-)

  13. A meal fit for a queen and king as is fitting in the land of Mickey. They all look so good. You did great considering the circumstances and champagne. :D

  14. Wow! That food looks amazing.

  15. What an experience it must have been. I’ve been to some nice places locally, but I’ve never had the full tasting menu experience like that. And white truffles! I’ve only cooked black truffles once, and the one I had wasn’t that aromatic or memorable. I’m a mushroom hunter from way back – porcini are my favorite as well. The photos are great…

    • Thank you, Tom! It was FANTASTIC! :-)

      Oh, if you like porcini mushrooms then you would also have LOVED the porcini cappucinno…it was simply divine! This was my first dance with white truffles and they are wonderful! :-)

  16. I can’t believe that you really ate all of that! ;-) I had to watch the slide show through three times to see if I really took it all in! A Disney meal is so fitting for you.

    • Ah, but the trick is, Tammy, that I didn’t eat all of it! I knew I wouldn’t make it through all the courses if I did so, I chose wisely, leaving ‘room for more’ as it were even when I wanted to devour each and every plate!

      Many folks don’t realize all the wonderful food to be had at Disney. We’ve learned that many restaurants seek out and oonly use local growers, changing their menus to use the freshest ingredients in season. Disney also supports sustainable farming methods and has their own greenhouses where they do agricultural research. It is really quite fascinating! :-)

  17. not sure I’d have been any good there… I mean who doesn’t love licking the bowl clean, after you’ve finished dunking your bread in your soup ???…. ;)

    • Ha! I assure you, there were folks there licking the bowls clean! (Sadly, you can dress us up but once embibing, all sense of decorum goes right out the window! ;-) )

  18. Fantastic shots and they look exceptional :)

  19. Oh, now that’s what I call a gastronomic experience :) It is said that we eat to live not the other way around but on such a places and occasions I really think that the other way is the right one :) I hope your really enjoyed it.

    • Yep, no denying that Tomas! :-)

      We certainly did enjoy it. It is always nice to experience true artistry and who says chefs aren’t artists?? They make me so appreciative of new tastes and foods I get to try and the experience always sparks creativity in my own kitchen. I know for sure that there are cuisines I never would have tried on my own and then I would have missed out on them.

      Thank you, Tomas! :-)


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