- General Meetings -
The Villages Gourmet Club, started in 2006, consists of Villages residents who enjoy good food and the company of other residents, who also enjoy good food. The club's membership (now over 300) meets only quarterly (for 2017 it's January 8th, April 2nd, July 2nd and October 1st.) at 7 PM in the Gardenia Room of the Allamanda Village Recreation Center at 1515 St. Charles Place. The notice of the general meeting is published in The Daily Sun on the Thursday before the meeting. Everyone attending is encouraged to bring a small gourmet dish to share, such as a home-made (or - yikes! - store bought) appetizer, snack or dessert. Remember to bring serving utensils or toothpicks if necessary. Plates, napkins and plastic forks are provided for everyone. Hot coffee is available too. Your own beverages are also welcome. Occassionally, cooking demonstrations are arranged as well. The gourmet food adds to the enjoyment of the socialization time at the meeting break. A small quarterly fee of $2 per person is requested to offset the club's expenses. Or you can be a member for the whole year at just $7 per person in January. Each couple (or single person) should bring TWO identical 3X5 index cards containing your names, address, e-mail and phone number. One card is retained by the club leaders, the other is used in the team selection process. It's a good idea to bring your social calendar and a note pad with you too. The club is then organized into two sections called the Dine-In Section and the Dine-Out Section, so mark your index cards according to your dining preference ("Dine In" or "Dine Out"). See the descriptions below. After some introductions and explanations by the club's leaders, Rich & Ellen, dozens of 8 person "teams" are selected at random from the collected cards for each section. In all, it's a fun and delicious evening.
- DINE-IN Section -
In the DINE-IN section, many "teams" are formed. Cards are selected from the hat at random to form a team of about 8 persons. The first couple chosen in the team serves as the coordinators and retains the selected cards. Many times the coordinators may first suggest just a cocktail party at someone's home or at a coffee shop for the team to discuss a theme, host location and first date. Or this can be accomplished at the general meeting if everyone has their calendars. The members of that team then agree on a date and time for a great home cooked dinner. The team members plan a dinner at one couple's house (whoever volunteers or by drawing straws). The host couple usually picks an agreeable food focus such as Greek, New England, Tropical, Asian, Holiday, Bar-B-Que, Red-White-&-Blue, Southern, Sweet 'N Sour, Hobo or anything else the members can agree on. "Progressive dinners" are also possible. Any allergies are also noted. The hosts have the choice of preparing the main dish or assigning it to other capable team members. In any event, each person on the team prepares a portion of the meal so that all aspects (appetizer, salad, soup, entrée, vegetables, dessert, beverages, etc.) are included and brought to the host's home. Each person should be as creative and festive as possible. Store bought items are discouraged. The men are encouraged to cook too, or at least, choose the wines for each course of the meal! No money is collected or charged. The team then enjoys other members' culinary skills, some good conversation and sometimes the sharing of secret family recipes. Usually the teams try to plan 4 dinners (every 3 weeks) during the quarter. At the next general meeting, returning members start over and will find themselves in a new team, with new people, new food and making new friends. Mark your index cards "Dine-In" if this is your plan.
- DINE-OUT Section -
In the DINE-OUT section, like above, many "teams" are formed. Cards are selected at random, to form a team of about 8 persons. Again, the first couple chosen serves as the team coordinators retaining the cards. The members of the team gather and agree on a date, time, price range and possible restaurants from the club's extensive website (see below). Sometimes the team selects a fine dining establishment within The Villages and other times a restaurant will be chosen that's in Mount Dora, Ocala or even Orlando, whatever the team agrees is a new and unusual dining experience for them. It could be French, High Tea, Fondue, Hibachi, Italian, Cajun, Dinner Cruise, Night Club, Sunday Brunch or anything else the members can agree on. The coordinators plan for reservations, inquiring about separate checks, mandatory gratuities and suggested attire, providing driving directions for the team and proposing car pooling from a convenient location. Each couple pays their own check. The team then enjoys a gourmet experience that hopefully is new to everyone, with some stimulating conversation and then comes back to the website to critique their experience. Each person in the team gets to write a short review about their individual meal and rate the restaurant on three important criteria (Quality, Service and Value). Usually the teams try to plan 3 or 4 or even 5 Dine-Out experiences during the quarter. At the next general meeting, returning members start over and will also find themselves in a new team, with new people, new restaurants and, most importantly, making new friends. Mark your index cards "Dine-Out" if this is to your liking.
- Sounds Great! - Can We Join Both? -
It's permissible for club members to belong to both a Dine-In AND a Dine-Out team at the same time (just bring THREE index cards then, one marked "Dine-In", one marked "Dine-Out" and one marked "Both"). However, make sure your calendar is flexible enough to handle 8 or more dining engagements (including preparation and possible travel) in a short 13 week period! Some people find it much easier to switch sections each quarter to get a broader gourmet experience. Single persons can participate even if they have no partner. We try to pair up singles to keep an even number in a team. We encourage all residents, single, widowed or married, who enjoy good food and the company of others to come to the general meetings, submit your cards and participate in some great GOURMET experiences. For more information, contact Rich (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Club Website -
Both Dine-In and Dine-Out members are encouraged to use our club's Restaurant Review Website to evaluate dining locations in the area whenever they eat out, even if it's not connected with a club event. Also you can use the site to find new establishments for your future dining options. The site has over 800 places listed and is always up-to-date on the latest dining venues and new trends in cuisine, as well as sneak peeks of those "coming soon". We have inside information on restaurants coming to our area that hasn't even been made public yet! Those members submitting reviews during the year are added to our special email list that announces unpublished news about area dining. We also have an informative Facebook Page now. We encourage your frequent participation and ... only club members can post reviews!
"One barrel of wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints. " - Pope Clement V, 1307.
Our database of over 800 restaurants is broken down into three pages:
IN, NEAR and AWAY from The Villages.
Plus we have RECIPES from the club leaders and members too.
The Club Website URL is: http://TheVillagesGourmetClub.com
DISCLAIMER and COPYRIGHT: This website is not, per se, an endorsement or criticism of any dining establishment. As such, it does NOT represent the views of the webmaster or the club's leaders. Instead it gives factual information about area restaurants and posts member's individual reviews of their own experiences. Your experience and rating may differ, so we encourage you to patronize the establishment yourself and if you are a club member, write a review so others can share your observations. Photos and video links on this page may not represent the offerings at the adjacent establishment and prices and details may vary. All content Copyright © 2006-2017 The Villages Gourmet Club. All rights reserved. No part may be included in another website or advertisement.