When I move to the evaluation portion, however, I immediately realize I am in way over my head. Any hubris I had cracks when I pop my first sample, a soft-ripened cheese, into my mouth. I chew. It just tastes like … soft cheese. I am supposed to evaluate this based on 70 characteristics and flaws in four categories (appearance, aroma, texture and flavor). And not just the presence of, say, a nutty or herbal aroma or an animal or grassy flavor, but “much too little,” “too little,” “just about right,” “too much” or “much too much.” At the table in front of me I see another candidate spit into a bucket. Wait a minute! I think. Are we supposed to spit cheese when we taste it, like wine? I spit my soft-ripened cheese into the bucket on my table (which is gross, to be honest). Still, I gamely trudge on for almost three hours. When I get to the evaluation sheet for Emmental-style (i.e., Swiss) cheese, there is a category for “Eye Development,” with characteristics such as blind, underset, irregular and dead/dull eyes. So cheese has eyes? When I approach the cheesemongers for a sample of cheddar, I steal a glance at the clipboard of a bearded guy in a Hawaiian shirt and Birkenstocks standing next to me. He marks “seamy” on one of his score sheets. What does it mean to have a seamy cheese? I am so out of my league, I don’t even know what I don’t know.
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?
This highly-rated restaurant off Sand lake Road bases its menu around fresh, seasonal produce (hence the name), and presents a nice mix of indoor and alfresco seating, with handsome views outback stretching across the adjacent lake. Seasons 52 also have an oak-fire grill and brick oven onsite, helping to bring out the natural flavors, as well as keep things healthy. Recommended dishes to try are the wood-grilled pork tenderloin, oak-grilled rack of lamb, Asian-glazed Chilean Sea Bass and duck wing ‘lollipops’. There’s also a sturdy lineup of local craft ales and international wines.

This intimate dining experience just a few miles away from Downtown Orlando has received heaps of praise over the last few years, recognized by several regional and national awards. This dining establishment welcomes an ever-changing lineup of chefs, and with that comes a regularly altered menu, so you never really know what’s going to be served. However, the three-course set menu usually features three or course choices per course, so even the fussiest of eaters should be able to find something they can enjoy. Prices without wine or service start at $55 for the set menu.
My training as a honey sommelier at the American Honey Tasting Society culminates with eight wineglasses filled with various honeys, lined up from light to dark. My instructor, Carla Marina Marchese, tells me that when we taste honey, we don’t do the ceremonial swirl — the wine expert’s ritual — before we sniff. Honey sommeliers smear. “Smear it on the sides of the glass like this,” she says, using a tiny plastic spoon. Once the honey is smeared, I can stick my nose in the glass to properly evaluate the aroma, then spoon a dollop onto my tongue.
Most taste-expert programs are modeled, in some fashion, on the venerable wine sommelier certifications; none have deviated radically from these. The term “sommelier” technically means a “wine waiter” or “wine steward,” a restaurant position dating to 18th-century France. “My purist definition of a sommelier is someone who works in hospitality, who serves wine in a restaurant,” said David Wrigley, international development manager of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, a London-based accreditation organization. I spoke with Wrigley last summer in Washington at an event called SommCon. There, the WSET presented its program to potential students alongside three rival organizations: the Society of Wine Educators, the Institute of Masters of Wine, and the Court of Master Sommeliers, the last being the subject of the popular documentary “Somm” and sequels. All of these programs offer a ladder of advancing levels, from introductory through master, increasing in price and commitment. WSET Level 1, for example, begins at just under $400 for six hours of course study, rising to Level 4. Level 4 alone takes up to 18 months and 600 hours of study to complete and costs more than $4,000 — and that cost can easily double as thousands more are spent on travel and acquiring bottles to taste. The WSET’s enrollment in the United States grew by 24 percent in 2017-2018. It now has more than 14,000 students, and worldwide there are more than 94,000.
This downtown bar looks like a cross between a library in an old mansion and a barn, with antiques and vintage furniture everywhere and bartenders dressed in suspenders. While it’s definitely a unique space, they also make some of the best cocktails in the city. Mathers also has a small food menu, which includes everything from chili rice cakes to charcuterie boards, and a general store for the times when absinthe and candy sound like the right combination to end a night.
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...
Take a cue from the pros and try your hand at sous vide preparations for incredibly tender steaks, cooked to your exact temperature specifications every time. This kit comes with an Anova immersion circulator and sous vide bag, plus two wagyu New York strip steaks, two wagyu ribeye filets, black pepper infused salt, and a prep guide to walk you through making the most delicious steak you've ever had. 
You guys… have you tried one pot pasta dishes before?  They. Are. AMAZING!!  No waiting for a big pot of water to boil, no draining, no extra pot to wash… just one pot of pure comfort food.  I have been dreaming up and testing all kinds of one pot pasta dishes for you all, and I think you’ll be excited with all the options over the next month or so!
Local restaurateurs Johnny and Jimmy Tung (Sticky Rice, Chela Tequila & Tacos) continue Bento’s wayward expansion with the latest outpost opening inside the revamped Centre of Winter Park. Bento’s gleaming interior comprise the du rigueur components of today’s modern restaurant, and patrons appear to be dazzled by it as much as the menu. A pan-Asian free-for-all of sushi rolls, rice/noodle/poke bowls, soups and, of course, bento boxes is really no different than any other Bento, but the newness of its presence in Winter Park has gastronomes agog.
Pate is a spread made from meat or vegetables, along with other base ingredients such as herbs, spices or alcohol. Pates are typically baked in a crust or molded in a terrine. The ultimate pate is Pate de Foie Gras, which is a spread made from the fattened livers of duck or geese. Pate may be served hot or cold, is tends to develop its best flavor when chilled. Pate is generally attributed as a French Gourmet Food, but in actuality found its roots thousands of years ago in ancient Greece.

Per the name, The Guesthouse looks and feels like the pool house of someone’s friend who lives in a much cooler neighborhood than you, and will make you wonder, “How can I make my apartment look more like this?” It’s all of this, plus the excellent cocktails, that makes this spot in Mills 50 one of the most popular new bars in the city. You can stop by during their daily Happy Hour from 4-8pm, which includes everything on the menu for half off, and if you want to make a night out of coming here, a few food trucks park outside of The Guesthouse most nights of the week, too.

Once you hit day three of a convention or a conference, you’re going to want to eat something that doesn’t weigh you down as you sit through four more hours of back to back powerpoint presentations. During your next break, head to Da Kine Poke. This former food truck now has food stalls at both downtown’s Market on Magnolia and at The Local Butcher and Market in Winter Park. There are a few signature bowls on the menu, or you can make your own, with a variety of fresh fish, vegetables, sauces, condiments, and bases to choose from.


When only the very best gifts will do for foodie friends – or even yourself – turn to Williams-Sonoma’s Gourmet Food and Specialty Food Gifts selection. We’ve hand-curated a collection of delicious delectables. You’ll find a little something for any gourmet food lover here, from special holiday items like candy corn to handmade jams and jellies that taste like they just came out of grandma’s pantry. Serve an entire table with our entrees and sides, or just toss something together for teatime with our cookies, cakes and sweets. We make entertaining easy by letting you shop from and order to the comfort of home.
Hot sauce connoisseurship has changed over the past decade. “Hot sauce used to be a macho thing,” he says. “Fifteen, 20 years ago, I call that the Insanity Era. There was this arms race.” Now, he sees more people willing to spend more money than they would on a basic bottle of Tabasco. “When people get that education, they feel more confident investing in better hot sauce,” he says. “It’s just like with wine. Someone’s not going to buy a $200 bottle without some education.”
Ainu American Chinese Anglo-Indian Arab Assyrian Balochi Balinese Batak Bengali Berber Betawi Buddhist Cajun Cantonese Chechen Chinese Indonesian Chinese Islamic Christian Circassian Crimean Tatar Greek American Hindu Inuit Italian American Jain Javanese Jewish Sephardic Mizrahi American Bukharan Syrian Komi Kurdish Livonian Louisiana Creole Malay Manado Maharashtrian Mordovian Native American Okinawan Ossetian Padang Parsi Pashtun Pennsylvania Dutch Peranakan Punjabi Sami Sikh Sindhi Soul food Sundanese Tatar Udmurt Yamal Yup'ik Zanzibari

For an alternative taste of Orlando, head to Graffiti Junktion, a wonder world of street art, no-frills burgers and live music. Essentially a neighborhood burger joint, the restaurant-cum-sports bar manages to craft a hip atmosphere without trying very hard at all: from a few basic variations on the venue’s famous melt-in-the-mouth burger to a choice of salads, the menu is defined by its simplicity. And perhaps this is what has earned Graffiti Junktion the unofficial title of Orlando’s best – and certainly the coolest – burger spot. One sign of its success is how much the restaurant has grown over the years. It now has several locations in and around the city. Our firm favorite, however, is the original spot in Thornton Park.


It’s hard to find one restaurant that you can take your family, friends, or the stranger you met at the bar next door to. However, that’s exactly what Santiago’s Bodega is for. This Mills 50 tapas restaurant serves everything from beef carpaccio to patatas bravas, with plenty of wine and cocktails to help get your friends ready for a night out or speed up the “getting to know you” phase of your impromptu date. They also have a great weekend brunch buffet and patio, which makes it a good place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Then I learn about the American Cheese Society’s T.A.S.T.E. Test, which launched in the summer of 2018. Passing this exam will confer the title of Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator (cheese sommeliers don’t call themselves sommeliers). Cheese feels like something I can handle. I’d recently spent time on assignment for The Washington Post in Bra, Italy, reporting from the Slow Food cheese event, tasting from among 300 cheesemakers from 50 countries. The founder of Slow Food declared the event to be “the beating heart of cheese” and those of us attending the “cheese intelligentsia.” Well, as a member of the cheese intelligentsia, surely I can pass the T.A.S.T.E. Test.
Located just a block from Lake Eola in Thornton Park, Soco is one of the best places in Orlando to spend an afternoon eating and drinking outside. This place serves high-end comfort food, like grilled meatloaf with lobster mash potatoes, Southern fried quail and waffles, and a weekly TV dinner special that yes, gets served on an actual tray covered in foil. Drinks-wise, they have a huge wine list, along with plenty of cocktail and beer options. When you want to pretend like you don’t have responsibilities, come to Soco for a long weekend brunch or to spend the entire day on a patio.
Norman Van Aken is a culinary legend and a proud adopted Floridian, which plays nicely into delicious and often Latin-, Caribbean- and even Key West-infused fare. Sit outside and enjoy spectacular views of lakes, gardens and the Ritz-Carlton's expansive, green golf course or dine in climate-controlled majesty – vaulted ceilings and Italianate windows help bring that outside essence in. Tapas like Key West shrimp ceviche or delicate caviar may prime your palate for creamy cracked conch chowder or rhum and pepper painted Florida black grouper. Norman's is, of course, not a one-dollar-sign venue, but for vacationers and those looking for a sumptuous meal out, few venues are as resplendent as the Ritz-Carlton, and few restaurants could match it as well as Norman's.
Local restaurateurs Johnny and Jimmy Tung (Sticky Rice, Chela Tequila & Tacos) continue Bento’s wayward expansion with the latest outpost opening inside the revamped Centre of Winter Park. Bento’s gleaming interior comprise the du rigueur components of today’s modern restaurant, and patrons appear to be dazzled by it as much as the menu. A pan-Asian free-for-all of sushi rolls, rice/noodle/poke bowls, soups and, of course, bento boxes is really no different than any other Bento, but the newness of its presence in Winter Park has gastronomes agog.
Thought chuck steak was just a meh budget cut of beef? It’s inexpensive for sure, but it’s a far cry from the stew meat you think it is. In fact, chuck steak—unbeknownst to many—boasts rich, meaty flavor akin to a ribeye, and can be just as tender. This easy recipe uses a technique known as a “reverse sear” to deliver perfectly cooked, tender chuck steak every time. The reverse sear is a great, approachable cooking method for those who want a deliciously salt-crusted, medium-rare steak, but don’t have a ton of experience preparing beef. Rather than searing the steak in a screaming-hot skillet on the stovetop and basting until you think it’s done and ready to rest, this hands-off trick entails cooking the steak in the oven until it reaches your desired degree of doneness (a meat thermometer is really helpful here) and then finishing it off with a quick sear just to get a nice, brown crust on the surface. This gentle cooking method not only removes guesswork for a less-experienced home cook, but also involves less intimidating popping and hissing skillet action. Served with a flavor packed chimichurri, this easy chuck steak is just begging to be layered onto charred corn tortillas for steak tacos. 

Gourmet (US: /ɡɔːrˈmeɪ/, UK: /ˈɡɔːrmeɪ/) is a cultural ideal associated with the culinary arts of fine food and drink, or haute cuisine, which is characterized by refined, even elaborate preparations and presentations of aesthetically balanced meals of several contrasting, often quite rich courses. Historically the ingredients used in the meal tended to be rare for the region, which could also be impacted by the local state and religious customs. The term and its associated practices are usually used positively to describe people of refined taste and passion. Gourmet food tends to be served in smaller, more expensive, portions. There also tends to be cross-cultural interactions when it comes to Gourmet, introducing new ingredient, materials, and practices.
Wine professionals, unsurprisingly, bristle at the way in which the word “sommelier” has been co-opted by other industries. “ ‘Sommelier’ is now a widely abused term,” said WSET’s Wrigley. Still, Wrigley allowed, diplomatically, that in the wider connoisseurship of food and drink “all education is good as long as it comes from a good source and is of good quality.”
This intimate dining experience just a few miles away from Downtown Orlando has received heaps of praise over the last few years, recognized by several regional and national awards. This dining establishment welcomes an ever-changing lineup of chefs, and with that comes a regularly altered menu, so you never really know what’s going to be served. However, the three-course set menu usually features three or course choices per course, so even the fussiest of eaters should be able to find something they can enjoy. Prices without wine or service start at $55 for the set menu.
When I move to the evaluation portion, however, I immediately realize I am in way over my head. Any hubris I had cracks when I pop my first sample, a soft-ripened cheese, into my mouth. I chew. It just tastes like … soft cheese. I am supposed to evaluate this based on 70 characteristics and flaws in four categories (appearance, aroma, texture and flavor). And not just the presence of, say, a nutty or herbal aroma or an animal or grassy flavor, but “much too little,” “too little,” “just about right,” “too much” or “much too much.” At the table in front of me I see another candidate spit into a bucket. Wait a minute! I think. Are we supposed to spit cheese when we taste it, like wine? I spit my soft-ripened cheese into the bucket on my table (which is gross, to be honest). Still, I gamely trudge on for almost three hours. When I get to the evaluation sheet for Emmental-style (i.e., Swiss) cheese, there is a category for “Eye Development,” with characteristics such as blind, underset, irregular and dead/dull eyes. So cheese has eyes? When I approach the cheesemongers for a sample of cheddar, I steal a glance at the clipboard of a bearded guy in a Hawaiian shirt and Birkenstocks standing next to me. He marks “seamy” on one of his score sheets. What does it mean to have a seamy cheese? I am so out of my league, I don’t even know what I don’t know.
Wine professionals, unsurprisingly, bristle at the way in which the word “sommelier” has been co-opted by other industries. “ ‘Sommelier’ is now a widely abused term,” said WSET’s Wrigley. Still, Wrigley allowed, diplomatically, that in the wider connoisseurship of food and drink “all education is good as long as it comes from a good source and is of good quality.”
You guys… have you tried one pot pasta dishes before?  They. Are. AMAZING!!  No waiting for a big pot of water to boil, no draining, no extra pot to wash… just one pot of pure comfort food.  I have been dreaming up and testing all kinds of one pot pasta dishes for you all, and I think you’ll be excited with all the options over the next month or so!
When I visit Armenteros at the shop in Princeton, he guides me into the humidor, amid shelves of boxes and hundreds of cigars. “The most fulfilling, exciting thing we do,” he says, “is when you take a customer to another level. When you open up their enjoyment. That’s the greatest thing a tobacconist, or any sommelier, can do.” He talks excitedly about the differences among Nicaraguan, Dominican and Cuban tobacco, wrappers grown in Connecticut or Ecuador, the size or “ring gauge,” from skinny lancero to coronas to robustos to thick Churchills. A Padrón cigar, from Nicaragua, “is a steak, a wagyu.” Meanwhile, another cigar from the Dominican Republic “is like fish. It’s an elegant, delicate cigar.” We compare what spirits to pair with cigars, and both of us agree that describing flavors is not easy. “Not just in cigars,” he says, “but in any world of organoleptic delicacies.” He points to some cigars he’s been aging for close to a decade. I ask if cigars can age like wine. “F— yeah,” he says.
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