Mark your calendar, fun food affairs are on tap in Central Florida, starting this month through the end of November. You may want to wait until the weather cools a little, but here’s the list:
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month (Aug. 24 – Sept. 30) kicks off the season of foodie fun, with 100 restaurants offering three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $35. The list keeps growing after 13 years. (Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are noted on the Magical Dining website).
1: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts earlier than ever, Aug. 30-Nov. 12, with dozens of Marketplaces around World Showcase Lagoon offering global tastes paired with beer, wine and cocktails. New this year: Sunday Brunch with celebrity chefs, new artists at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series and a mimosa bar. Check out the website for special dinners and parties.
2: Food and Wine Weekends are back Sept. 14-Nov. 11 at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. Returning favorites include the macaron bar, traditional Royal Tea and the Bar du Chocolat with Champagne, and special dinners at Bull & Bear, La Luce and Zeta Asia
3: Head to Universal Orlando Resort Oct. 5 for Jake’s Beer Festival at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, featuring 50-plus craft and specialty beers, creative tastes and live entertainment.
4: Highball & Harvest hosts the second annual Homestead Harvest at Whisper Creek Farm at 7 p.m. Oct. 26, featuring top chefs to benefit Fleet Farming and Free Mulch Incorporated by Frog Song Organics. Live music, beverage pairings. Also pre-dinner dining experiences with guest chefs. Ticket prices, bookings and information online.
5: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic Oct. 26-27 is chock-full with food and drink along the outdoor promenade and educational seminars such as wine-blending and pasta-making. The Sunday Bubbles Brunch is back on Oct. 28.
6: Tickets go fast for the Winter Park Wine and Dine on Oct. 10, with more than 30 Winter Park restaurants offering their best food and drink at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market.
7: It’s the 13th year for the Central Florida Veg Fest on Oct. 27, one of the biggest and best vegetarian festivals in the country. More than 200 vendors and 100 contributors converge on Orlando Festival Park near downtown Orlando.
8: Lakeridge Winery’s first ever Wine & Cheese Festival is Sept. 8-9, with complimentary wine tastings paired with artisan cheeses. Live entertainment, food, wine and beer available for purchase.
9: Also new is SeaWorld’s Craft Beer Festival on weekends Nov. 3-11, with more than 100 brews on draft from Florida breweries, along with domestic and international craft favorites. More than 20 “unique food items” will pair with brews.
10: The 4th annual Orlando Beer Festival is Nov. 10 in Orlando’s Milk District, an evening of fun to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless. Craft and premium beers from local and international breweries, wine tastings, interactive games, tasty eats and live music.