Bring your friend's dreams of living in a villa in the Italian hills one step closer with this gift, which supports olive producers in Italy's Puglia region. The kit comes with a 3 liter tin of fresh, organic, single-harvest olive oil as well as a ceramic carafe and funnel, plus another 3 liter shipment every three months for a year to encourage ample EVOO usage. 
Chagrined, I become obsessed with acquiring another certification, in another realm of taste. I pay $120 to Ecole Chocolat, an online chocolate school, to enroll in its Mastering Chocolate Flavor certificate program. I enjoy good chocolate, and I was fascinated by the complexity and craftsmanship of chocolatiers on a trip to Brussels a few years earlier. I understand that chocolate can be “single origin” and demonstrate the concept of “terroir” just like wine and coffee — and honey. So I pay my money, unlock the study material, and am immediately overwhelmed with a dump of information: the origins of chocolate, cacao and cacao trees; how flavor works, both physiologically and in chocolate; the elements of chocolate flavor. We are encouraged to buy a textbook, co-written by Ecole Chocolat’s founder, titled “Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate.” The course is to be self-directed, with weekly tasting assignments — the first being a general exercise on sweet, sour, salty, bitter, fatty and umami, and the others comparing two or more chocolate bars. Students post to a group forum, with feedback from our Flavor Coach. “My primary question is how to classify ‘what is good,’ ” posts one of my classmates. To which our Flavor Coach replies: “Many folk in the industry have their own opinions about what ‘good’ chocolate is. Here’s mine (for the moment): ‘Good’ is a chocolate with no overpowering faults that is pleasant and sparks your interest. That leaves things pretty wide open, doesn’t it?”
After lunch, there is a tour of Murray’s caves, where the cheese ages. Then we’re led through the tasting of eight more cheeses by Tyler Frankenberg, the company’s customer experience manager, also a Certified Cheese Professional. This tasting is about comparing variations in cheesemaking: the differences between cheese near the rind vs. the tip, washed rind vs. ash, unaged vs. aged (“older doesn’t necessarily mean better,” we’re told). At one point we compare two versions of a funky pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese called Hollander with an aroma that people describe as earthy, mineral, “like mom’s basement” and even redolent of ammonia. “With this one, the bark is worse than its bite,” Frankenberg says.

Why go: The experience starts with a stroll down Park Avenue, Orlando’s European-looking, cobblestoned street. The walk sets the scene for a slow-paced Parisian evening. Through the restaurant’s doors is a classic, intimate dining room with white linen tables set for no more than four people. Dishes are prepared in classic French style, paired with fine wine that changes often and perfectly complements the European flavors presented by the chef.


Fine dining and Disney haven’t always gone hand-in-hand; the first restaurant you might associate with Mickey Mouse and co probably has a giant yellow ‘M’ towering above it or a certain Colonel Sanders plastered on a billboard outside. Victoria & Albert’s, however, flips this now out-of-date stereotype on its head, offering the polar opposite of the old-school Disney fast food joint. This is the sort of place where reservations need to be made weeks in advance, you won’t get in without a dinner jacket, and six or more courses from their modern American/French-inspired menu (with wine pairing) will probably set you back the price of a couple of tickets into the park for the day. Orlando is not yet on the Michelin team’s radar, but Victoria & Albert’s has long been recognized as one of Florida’s best restaurants, having been awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond award every year since 2000. Read More...
The name of this Thornton Park/South Eola restaurant makes vague reference to the unusual collection of dishes it offers, not so much the oddball patronage it sometimes draws. Owners Brian Buttner and Jonathan Canonaco, who operate the well-received Stubborn Mule across the street, took over the old NoLa-inspired Muddy Waters space and transformed it into a trendy, see-and-be-seen sort of joint. Smoked duck wings, caramel-lacquered Asian pork spears and vegan pate don’t exactly scream “eclectic” but, hey, what trendoids want, trendoids get.
Truffles are a rare form of fungus similar to mushrooms. Their rich and pungent flavor is unlike any other food in the world as Truffles are considered the diamond of the kitchen. Available in White and Black varieties, Truffles are a high demand Gourmet Food, due to their relative scarcity, labor intensive harvest process, resistance to cultivation and short growing season.
I love chicken parmesan… SO much.  But I definitely don’t love the tedious breading process, so many dishes to wash, and how long it can take to make it!  I dreamt up this dish a while ago, then found out The Cookie Rookie had already made a great version… so I headed over to her page and made some tweaks based on what I had on hand.  This version is made with everyday ingredients, and is incredibly flavorful!
But customers’ favorite choice when eating here would be the Burgushi. It’s the perfect combination of sushi with a burger. Options for the Burgushi are Doug's Filet Roll, "The Prime Time" Filet & Lobster Roll, and many more. You can also build your very own sushi roll. Not many restaurants give you that option, that's why The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is one of the best restaurants in Orlando and one of the best burger joints in America.
Why go: Take Cheena is for adventurous eaters. Flavors hail from all over Asia but are served in American style. Ever had a Korean beef empanada or an Indian butter chicken burrito? Definitely try the “JapaDog,” featuring Chinese sweet sausage, avocado-wasabi, fumi, cabbage mix and scallion. Just remember that you won’t find any yellow mustard here.
Want to add a little extra touch? We have custom ribbon and gift tag options and offer special occasion gourmet gift favorites throughout the year. Whether you’re shipping a gift across the street or across the country, we guarantee quality and freshness upon arrival. Let Hickory Farms help make gift giving easy all year round with our unique, delicious food and gifts.

The short drive out of town to this gem of a restaurant is well worth it; in fact, it’s not only a restaurant, but more of a café in the day and bar at night with live music – although the menu of comfort food classics like club sandwiches, pulled pork burgers, tacos and wraps is served throughout the day. The quaint house near Lake Toho promises different areas too, meaning you can slide up to the lively bar for a crafty craft ale, find an intimate corner spot if you’re on a date or find a seat in the charming courtyard to soak up the summery vibes.


The city’s first permanent food truck park, modeled after the ones in Portland, Oregon, not only brings five mobile food vendors hawking poke, empanadas, Brazilian-style skewered meats, Vietnamese-Korean fare and a smorgasbord of Scandinavian delights, but the 10,400-square-foot outdoor venue in the Milk District sports an indoor bar with 15 taps featuring a rotating lineup of beers, ciders, wines, and cold-brew coffee. Some notable pairings: Playalinda Brewing’s Robonaut Red Ale paired with Vinny & Kory’s bibimbap to start, while Adao Gourmet’s dulce de leche empanadas chased with Destihl Brewery’s Russian Imperial Stout makes an indulgent capper.

Just one in a string of joints to offer street eats with a pan-Asian bent, Kai has been luring them in with the sticky crunch of Korean-style chicken wings; crispy fries loaded with kimchi and bulgogi; and tacos stuffed with everything from chicken satay to deep-fried fish (cá). Owners Isra Sunhachawi and Quan Van traveled all over Asia in an effort to perfect their recipes and, after months of experimenting and tweaking, that commitment and drive certainly shows.

Calling Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa a barbecue place is kind of like calling The Lion King a movie about cats. It’s not wrong, but it doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Located in Mills 50, Pig Floyd’s smokes brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, but their barbecue is served in everything from tacos to bento boxes to banh mi sandwiches. You can stay traditional and get a meat plate with a few sides, or go for something that you won’t find anywhere else in town, like butter chicken tacos or a Mongolian brisket bento box.

Lake Nona’s burgeoning food and beverage scene continues to progress and this pizza joint with showcase brewery by the Tavistock Restaurant Collection (who also operate Lake Nona’s Canvas and Chroma restaurants) is one luring downtowners to the airport-area enclave. With head brewer Marco Reyna tapping 12 sudsy creations, there’s no shortage of pie-pairing quaffs. Jason Bergeron (who also serves as executive chef of Canvas and Chroma) fires up pizzas in two gorgeous wood-burning ovens – pizzas like the infernal “Pepperoni Picante” and the “Awesome Saus!” with sausage and elephant garlic. It’s one worth riding the bus to Lake Nona town for.
These programs prepare you to be a taste authority, a sensory expert, an arbiter and evangelist in the field, but you’re likely not producing anything. Even so, they’re in demand. What is it about this epoch that values such mastery over taste? Were we all truly so clueless and naive about these matters once upon a time? Has life become so fraught and complicated that even decisions over our smallest pleasures now require expert intervention?
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