Yes, we went back to Tutto Gusto this week. There’s so much to chose from (especially when you do the math on possible combinations… and after all, isn’t food and beverage pairing about the COMBINATIONS?), and we enjoyed last week immensely, so we went again.
First of all, the service on our first visit was fantastic. The service on this visit was NOT. Last time, the manager (or managers) were walking the floor the whole time we were in Tutto Gusto – this week, no manager to be seen. Last time, there were so many servers that it ALMOST felt pushy when they were being attentive. This week, definitely not – although there were 3 servers for 14 patrons (that’s 7 tables for 2 by the way), the service was SLOW (we waited and waited and waited to pay our check). So although the venue seats approximately 84 American-Sized bodies (let’s call that 92-96 European-Sized seats) and there is a very long bar and the posted occupancy is 112, there were 3 servers.
Service at Epcot
Honestly, the service was more along the lines of what we’ve come to expect from the European “countries” at Epcot. Often, the Cast Members seem to be more interested in chatting with each other than in the guests. We’ve wondered if this is a cultural thing… The CMs from Mexico and China don’t seem to be as inattentive. We’ve talked to people who are former CMs from Epcot and who often socialize with Epcot CMs – they agree that the CMs from Mexico and China seem to be more outgoing (relative to engaging in life outside their “country clique”) and more dedicated to working. Nick has joked for years that the reason that the Mexico and China pavilions are the first to open up their food and beverage venues is because they’re more conscious of making money.
Now… On to the eats and the drinks… That’s what you’re really interested in anyway, not nora’s digression into cast members and culture.
nora started off with a glass of red wine. Her first choice was unavailable (like last week), this time Mirco (our server) said that they “were finished with” the first choice. So, she went with her second choice… We also learned today that a “quartino” of wine doesn’t mean a quarter of a bottle or a quart of wine, it means you get a full glass – even when armed with this new knowledge, nora went with a “regular” glass of wine.
“Finished With” a Wine
Now, you know we aren’t big wine drinkers and you know that we don’t know much about wine etiquette either – does that mean that they didn’t have an open bottle? if so, why didn’t they open one? or does that mean that they don’t have anymore? if so, why not say that there wasn’t any available or that they were out? why use the word “finished”? maybe it’s a communication snafu.
Without food the wine had a rich, cherry aroma and a dry, sharp, cabernet taste. Nick didn’t care for this one, he prefers the white from last week.
Nick started off with a Castello lager. It had a bitter finish without food. Interesting notes: Castello is 5% ETOH, the 12 oz bottle is actually an 11.2 oz bottle, and it is brewed in Italy – imported into Las Vegas – then sent to Orlando.
Just to keep it interesting, nick also ordered a Moretti Draft. We know that he doesn’t care for the Moretti La Rossa (although nora does) and given the food that we ordered, we were interested to see if there was a direct comparison between how each beer paired with the food. The flavors of the two beers, without food, were definitely different.
This week we again went with one meat and two cheeses for our selections. We didn’t get anything from last week, but we did try to get a “sharp-ish” cheese and a “sweeter” cheese.
- Prosciutto di Parma, Emilia – Romagna aged, dry-cured ham
- Asiago, Veneto – semi sharp, crumbly cow’s milk cheese
- Gorgonzola, Lombardia – slightly sweet, blue vein cheese
Right away, the bread smelled better this week. We nearly asked for a substitution, but nick convinced nora that we should give it another try. The bread was SO MUCH better, it had a better texture and flavor. Last week it was rather dried out and nearly like a stale cracker. Also, overall, the portion sizes seemed better this week. So, what did we think of the food?
- asiago rounds out the “chalk” in the wine while the prosciutto intensifies the “chalk”
- gorgonzola paired great with the wine, it really smoothed out all of the roughness of the wine and of the cheese – together they’re very creamy and sleek
- gorgonzola is good!
- asiago makes the wine seem fruitier
- make a canapé – bread + gorgonzola + prosciutto = excellent with the red wine
- like the Blue Point Toasted Lager better than the Castello
- lager (Castello) is better with the prosciutto
- ale (Moretti) is better with the asiago
- ale DOES NOT go with the gorgonzola (just to make sure of this, nick came back to this flavor combo a bit later – same reaction… yuck)
- lager and gorgonzola paired very well together
The prosciutto was good, but we tend to like our NC country ham better. The asiago was pretty much just cheese. The gorgonzola was fantastic (nora immediately began thinking up ways to incorporate it into “new” food items). And the bread was very, very good this week.
Nick says that one of the things that he likes about exploring food and beverages like this – it’s not all messed up, it’s simple. Frankly, we tend to prefer simple when it comes to food. It’s much easier to take a gamble with small portions that are simply presented… this way, if you don’t like something, you can identify WHAT you don’t like and WHY you don’t like it. So… we’re still planning on continuing to explore… of course, when the Epcot Food & Wine Festival gets here, there will be even more to explore (we hope!).