While Epcot’s festivals feature a bounty of diverse marketplaces, Disney Springs has always been a top destination for food lovers. Whether it is a romantic dinner enjoyed by the water or enjoying small bites at various stops, the culinary diversity satisfies any craving. As part of its summer programming, the Disney Springs Flavors of Florida Culinary Series brings celebrated chefs to the stage and gives guests an opportunity to savor Florida’s finest ingredients.
Disney Springs Flavors of Florida has been a favorite food event during the summer. Throughout the property, the various restaurants showcase Florida ingredients. From Key West shrimp to locally grown corn, the breadth and depth of the food options and flavors will have people visiting multiple times from July 1 through August 13.
In addition to the plethora of food and beverage options offered throughout Disney Springs, a new event has been added. The Disney Springs Flavors of Florida Culinary Series will bring favorite chefs and culinary game changers to the stage. The weekly culinary series will feature Wine Bar George (July 7), The Polite Pig (July 14), Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (July 21), Gideon’s Bakehouse (July 28), and the final event hosted by acclaimed Disney chefs on August 4. Guests can register for the free event at www.disneysprings.com/culinaryseries. In addition to watching the chefs at Waterview Park at Disney Springs, guests will be given an opportunity to sample some of the demoed dishes.
To kick off the Disney Springs Flavors of Florida Culinary Series, celebrated chef and humanitarian Jose Andres brought his exuberance to his Jaleo presentation. During the event, Chef Andres engaged with the group, shared some humorous stories, and left everyone hungry to enjoy the Florida’s bountiful local ingredients.
One of the Flavors of Florida dishes that will be featured at Jaleo is Ensalada de Sandia y Tomate (watermelon and tomato salad). While many people think of Florida citrus, local watermelon is juicy, slightly sweet. As Chef Andres told the crowd, combining watermelon and tomato is a beautiful pairing.
In this dish, the compressed watermelon combined with the peeled heirloom tomatoes offers contrasting sweet notes to the goat cheese and sherry dressing. While guests enjoyed this offering served on a skewer, this salad would be a lovely opening note to a feast at Jaleo.
While Chef Andres has used his paella pan to help nourish those in need during times of crisis via World Central Kitchen, Jaleo’s paella pan was overflowing with a vegetable forward offering during the special culinary event.
As Chef Andres commented, paella recipes are quite personal, and everyone has the preference. Whether it is a traditional version with rabbit and chicken or the vegetable one that he showcased during the event, it is the heart and intention that flavors every dish which makes it taste even more memorable.
Beyond the laughs, Chef Andres shared much food insight during the event. From his appreciation for tinned fish to explaining how some people can learn to love eggplant, the evening inspired everyone to not only explore Florida’s local offerings but also to share a table with others. Sometimes the most flavorful part of the meal is the stories told around the table.
While Chef Andres set the bar high with the Disney Springs Flavors of Florida Culinary Series, the other weekly events will be a must for anyone who is passionate about food.
Disney Springs Flavors of Floriday presented by CORKCICLE will run from July 1 through August 13. Check with each restaurant for their special dish or beverage offering.