Victoria and Albert's at the Walt Disney World Resort's Grand Floridian:
I think this meal is on everyone's Disney bucket list.
We were planning our honeymoon and decided that since we had been to Walt Disney World several times, we would seek out experiences we have never done to create a magical, unforgettable trip. The coveted meal at Victoria and Albert's is known by Disney fans and non-Disney fans alike as not only the top rated restaurant in Orlando but in the country. It may have been fiscally irresponsible for a pair of kids out of college swimming in student loans and fresh off of paying for a wedding to spend this kind of money on one meal. I am not sure there is ever a time when such an expenditure would be deemed responsible, but we were celebrating our marriage so now was as good a time as ever.
We made our reservations 180 days in advance for a spot in Queen Victoria's Room, where only four tables reside. Before arriving at the Grand Floridian, we took advantage of our dining attire (yes, there is a dress code for dining) by having a few PhotoPass pictures taken on Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. — kind of a brilliant move (if I do say so myself) as they are some of our favorite photos of the trip!
Guests are transported out of Disney World and immersed into pure elegance when walking through the frosted doors. After passing the harpist who played all evening, we were escorted to Queen Victoria's Room and shown to our seats for the evening. The decor was simply beautiful — full of flowers, warm lighting, sparkling glassware, crisp linens — purposeful attention to detail in true Disney form.
Our meal promptly began with celebratory champagne before we dove into the ten course meal with wine pairing.
Amuse-Bouche, Alaskan King Crab "Jar" with Siberian Ostera Caviar
Our first experience with caviar; we learned that caviar should be consumed with a mother of pearl spoon (not metal) to avoid impacting the flavor.
Paired with Piper Heidsieck Rose Sauvage NV Brut
Octopus "A La Plancha" with Black Garlic Aioli
Somewhere under the briar patch is a piece of octopus (just kidding!). Beautiful presentation using only a few ingredients to complement the octopus.
Paired with Granbazan "Etiqueta Ambar" Albariño, Rias Baias 2011
Hot "Smoked" Niman Ranch Lamb with Figi Apple and Curry Dressing
We had never seen a presentation like this; smoke captured in a glass dome and lifted only upon consumption. I was nervous when this dish was described with "curry," but it was based in a yogurt sauce that made it very tolerable for my palette. It was quite good! (The staff take any and all food allergies and dislikes upon making the reservation to construct a meal that you will truly enjoy.)
Paired with Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2012
Fennel Crusted Nantucket Scallops in a Salt Bowl
Scallops are a perennial favorite of mine, and this dish was yet another affirmation. Like little pillows of deliciousness.
Paired with Foxen "Old Vines" Ernesto Wickendon Vineyard Chenin Blanc, Santa Maria Valley 2011
Three rounds of various breads with different butters, our favorite of which was a truffle infused butter that was carved from a sculpted butter structure and topped with freshly shaved black truffle.
Palmetto Farms Poussin with Black Truffle
This barely tasted like chicken to me, it was so flavorful and tender, though I am sure the freshly shaved black truffles did not hurt. The gravy in this dish was definitely sopped up with some bread — no drop left behind.
I don’t typically opt for rare meat, but it was the perfect expression for the Bison cut — so tender and flavorful, almost too pretty to eat.
Paired with Palacios Remondo Propiedad, Rioja 2008
Australian Kobe-Styled Beef with with Potato Sphere
And just when we thought we couldn't get more impressed, we were introduced to our final entree — Kobe-style beef. This dish was beyond words, and while the meat was incredible, I think the "potato sphere" stole the show. Why? It was stuffed with oxtail meat — the best kind of Wonder Ball!
Paired with Château Lassègue Bordeaux Blend, Saint-Emilion 2004
Selection of Cheese from Our Trolley
A wide variety of cheeses — soft, hard, smelly, clean, funky, sweet — that were accompanied by honeycombs, marmalade, nuts, and Triskets.
Paired with Quinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2007
Apple Quark Panna Cotta
A very tasty dessert that was well-balanced with the tangy flavors of apple and the sweetness of panna cotta.
Peruvian Chocolate Timbale with Roasted White Chocolate Gelato
This dish was everything I could have dreamed in a dessert. Just look at all that glorious chocolate!
"Celebes" Coffee — Kevin loved the fancy coffee service!
After the meal, we were given a goodie bag filled with house-made chocolates, copies of the menu we indulged in, and a rose.
After five hours of endless food, we were completely stuffed and (admittedly) toasty given the very generous wine servings. I did not comment on each wine individually because every glass was phenomenal (and four years later it is still one of the best wine pairings we have done).
The service was absolutely impeccable, even down to the minute detail of artfully folding our napkins. Our two servers were patient with our curiosity as we developed an appreciation for the intricacies of each dish and the impact the proper wine pairing has on the entire course.
As we made our way back to our hotel (via monorail — so classy!) we sat stunned, attempting to process the magical experience and relive every moment. I am not sure we ever knew food or dining really existed in this capacity until now. We certainly never had an experience remotely close to Victoria and Albert’s. Thank you to Scott Hunnel and the entire staff for a life changing experience that not only cemented perfect memories at the start of our marriage, but sparked the beginning of a lifetime of exploration all across the globe.
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