Mmm..I’d like a “Taste” of that!

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On Saturday night, Lee and I attended the “Taste” event, which is a new
addition to Disney’s California Food and Wine Weekends this year. It’s
very similar to Epcot’s Party for the Senses – except that Taste
was better.

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If you’re not familiar with Party for the Senses or Taste – both are
food and wine tasting events. Guests pay one price for admission ($100
in this case), and then can partake as much as they wish from a series
of food and wine tasting “stations”. At Taste, each of the fourteen food
stations featured a different dish and chef from one of the Disney
parks, resorts, or Downtown Disney restaurants. (You can find the menu
HERE.) The portions were sample-sized, but very nicely plated and presented. For
example, my favorite was Cafe Orleans’ Cajun Spiced Shrimp, served
on a corn cake with ratatouille and a drizzle of Mornay sauce. As you can see from the photo, it looked really good, and tasted even better. The wine tasting stations
featured one of nine different wineries, each pouring at least
three different wines. There was also beer from the Karl Strauss
Brewing Company available.

And as if that weren’t enough…there were several cheese and fruit
stations, which later in the evening were turned into the dessert
stations, featuring an assortment of delectable desserts. (My one
complaint is that there wasn’t enough chocolate. But then there’s
never enough chocolate…)

So why did I like Taste so much more than Party for the Senses? It was
Party for the Senses (PftS) on a smaller scale, that’s why. PftS is in
a huge building (the former Millenium Village at Epcot) which
accommodates a large number of people. I found it quite crowded and
overwhelming – there were too many people and too many food and
wine choices. At Taste you could realistically try one of everything
without completely stuffing yourself, and you could move around
the room without feeling like a salmon swimming upstream. In addition
to “standing tables” inside, Taste had quite a few tables *and* chairs
set up outside, which gave people the option both to sit and to get away
from the noise a little bit.

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And I must also admit that I was somewhat predisposed to enjoy
Taste when I found out who the entertainment for the evening was
going to be – a group called “Barrage”. We saw them several years
ago at Epcot and really liked them…and they put on a good show
at Taste, too. They are kind of hard to describe, but here’s a
blurb from their web site: “Barrage – A high-octane fiddle-fest
that features an international, multi-talented cast performing an
eclectic mix of music, song and dance.” Picture a group of young
and very energetic violinists accompanied by drums, electric guitar,
and bass. They played everything from Irish reels to Duke Ellington
to Bolero. All while jumping around the stage, step dancing, and
even singing. Whew.

Taste started at 6:30 and ended at 9:30 – I hadn’t expected that we
would be there for the entire time but we were. Promptly at 9:30 the
lights inside the building were turned up and we got the polite Disney
announcement: “Thank you for coming. We hope you will visit again soon.”
Translation: “It’s over, so get out of here already!” On the way out
they handed out nice bags for us to carry our souvenir wine glasses in –
that was a very thoughtful touch.

We had a really good time. I’m not sure this is something that we would
want to do *every* year, but we certainly enjoyed it. We will be going
to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival this fall, and had planned to attend
Party for the Senses…but now I’m wondering if I really want to do that – it
might be quite a disappointment after Taste. (And the only night we have
for PftS also happens to be the night of the Tower of Terror 13K, which Mike
Scopa has written about in his blog. We thought it sounded like a lot of
fun – but it conflicts with PftS. Of course a lot of people would say that given
the choice between running and eating we’d be crazy to choose running…but
that’s just the kind of people we are.)

“Taste”fully yours…

Laura

Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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