This trading from non-local regions, also means, almost by necessity, that there was much cultural exchange between different groups to get these goods. The Columbian Exchange introduced many ingredients and styles to the new world and Europe starting with the expansion of the Iberian Empires. The new world introduced to Europeans tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, and many more. Another example would be interactions with the Islamic world, which impacted catholic cuisine in the 1100s. These interactions introduced many spices, the theory of the culinary cosmos, and cooking items such as North African pottery. These trades were facilitated by rich merchant states that traded with them the most notable being Venice.
Why go: We're pretty sure that pizza is a superfood and the contemporary Italian fare here is some of the best in Orlando. Relax inside or out on the large patio (although the huge floor to ceiling windows make you feel like you're outdoors anyway) with a menu that changes daily. Expect items like pretzel-crusted calamari, artichoke ravioli and hand-stretched pizzas.
The word gourmet is from the French term for a wine broker or taste-vin employed by a wine dealer. Friand was formerly the reputable name for a connoisseur of delicious things that were not eaten primarily for nourishment: "A good gourmet", wrote the conservative eighteenth-century Dictionnaire de Trévoux, employing this original sense, "must have le goût friand", or a refined palate. The pleasure is also visual: "J'aime un ragoût, et je suis friand", Giacomo Casanova declared, "mais s'il n'a pas bonne mine, il me semble mauvais". In the eighteenth century, gourmet and gourmand carried disreputable connotations of gluttony, which only gourmand has retained. Gourmet was rendered respectable by Monsieur Grimod de la Reynière, whose Almanach des Gourmands, essentially the first restaurant guide, appeared in Paris from 1803 to 1812.
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 Victoria & Albert’s, however, flips this now out-of-date stereotype on its head, offering the polar opposite of the old-school Disney fast food joint.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...
Promising a refined Italian menu of thin crust pizzas, delectable pastas and an excellent Trattoria-style wine program, the Hilton’s signature La Luce is up there amongst Orlando’s best restaurants. Only open for dinner, the candlelit tables and lulling music makes for a romantic setting, although the generously-sized potions and lively service make this good for the whole family. If you’re not into your wines, the creative Mediterranean-inspired cocktail list is well worth checking out too.
Part art deco bakery, part homage to Alice In Wonderland, The Glass Knife is a new spot in Winter Park that serves just about every sweet you can imagine, from pistachio orange donuts to a chocolate raspberry tart. Each of their baked goods is decorated by hand and you’ll likely see a lot of people taking photos of their desserts. However, if you come with someone who isn’t really into sweets, this place also has a full brunch and lunch menu with things like breakfast sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads available for the savory-only people in your life.
The Ravenous Pig was pretty much the first to bring the term "gastropub" into the Orlando foodie lexicon. Since it opened its doors, the city's dining scene has swelled to epic buzzworthy proportions (and the restaurant has swelled past its original location and moved into bigger digs on Fairbanks). Local is king here; a rotating food and craft cocktail menu features ingredients grown, raised and made by Florida purveyors. A few dishes are mainstays, but the rest change up with regularity, leaving diners to wonder what delights they may find when they venture in. Oxtail stroganoff over tagliatelle? Pot-au-feu? Could be. If not, another fresh-made creation is sure to please. Come thirsty, as well. Rotating taps feature phenomenal craft beers including those of its own in-house brewing operation, Cask + Larder.
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BBQ lovers should look no further than 4Rivers Steakhouse, located a short drive north from Downtown at Winter Park. There’s nothing flashy about the non-descript restaurant façade, nor the canteen-like seating arrangements inside (you have the choice between high stools lined up in a row or college-style benches if you don’t want to sit next to strangers), but what 4Rivers lacks in style it more than makes up for in flavor. Items ‘from the smoker’ include wings, racks of beef and pork ribs, whole smoked chickens, while the signature Angus brisket and range of pulled pork sandwiches also prove hugely popular. Watch out for the lengthy queues that can stretch outside into the parking lot on weekends.
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?”
Get the Recipe: Browned Butter Caramel Blondies These ooey-gooey blondies have pockets of delicious homemade caramel throughout. Short on time? Say no more. Just substitute a jarred salted-caramel sauce for the homemade version. How to Make Miso-Sesame Skillet Blondies How to Make Andes Mint Brownies How to Make Keto Salted Almond Butter Brownies