Food & Wine Classic In Aspen- Part III The Vino

June 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ok, Ok, I promise this is the last post about the event, but there are just too many good things to share! We signed up for two wonderful wine tasting events that were so much fun, I am dying to turn both ideas into a lively house party.

The first was hosted by Danny Meyer called “Swill for the Grill.”  The set-up is simple- 6 wines and 6 proteins. We were then told to sample each wine with each meat and evaluate with an appropriate smiley face to indicate if we found the combo “yummy, eh or yuck.” It was marathon tasting at its best and it really zero-ed in on your personal preferences without intimidating wine jargon.

6 wines, 6 meats – Beef Short Rib, Lamb, Veal Sweetbreads, Bacon, Duck, Chicken. May be hard to replicate if you have a lot of vegetarian friends…

The second tasting was hosted by Richard Betts who brought along 3 world-renowned sommeliers. It was a blind tasting with 7 glasses in front of us and 7 matching brown paper-bagged wines one the table. We were then handed a handy-dandy wheel-o-wine that was really a map to follow based on aromas and tastes that you got when beginning to taste each wine. Following the fruits, oakiness, earthiness, etc. you watched the pool of possibilities narrow (PS the star sommeliers were unreal, they literally had it nailed to the vineyard and year most times).

Richard Betts is coming out with a “scratch & sniff” wine tasting book that features a 2 ft. pull out of this wheel!! Should be available this holiday season

These events were both before we even got into the Tasting tents. Truthfully, if your goal like me is to sample everything possible, it can be somewhat difficult to remember distinguish all your preferences. But here were some wines that particularly stood out for me from the weekend:

Sandhi Chardonnay This had a really nice golden color and full body to it.

Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes This was the one wine I like paired with every meat during Swill for the Grill. Of course it’s a little pricey so we’ll save this for “special occasions.”

Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir I tried to do a theme of Pinot Noirs when sampling in the Tasting Tent (with many exceptions) and this was one I particularly liked. Plus it’s at the right price point and I can pick it up locally.

2011 Secco Italian Bubbles Bianco Starting off the night with something bubbly is the perfect way to add some pizzazz and this was fresh with hints of fruit and lots of tiny bubbles!

I must have really liked this gin… the vendors gave me a free apron

Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin I realize this is not a wine but it is so, so, so good. Gin cocktails are usually my go-to on a menu (unless they are paired with orange) but this gin is so good, you can just shake it with some ice and it goes down smooth as silk. It smells lemony with hints of lavender and I wouldn’t mind my entire home smelling the same way.

This wraps up my Food & Wine Class recaps… I feel like Senior Prom is over! Can’t wait to return next year.

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Food & Wine Classic In Aspen- Part II The Food

June 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Aside from being a magical weekend of beautiful nature, star sightings and master chef wisdom, the focus was to celebrate culinary delights. The highlight dishes were served from Food & Wine’s annual Best New Chefs. The annual “Best New Chefs” event typically held Saturday night was replaced with the Chefs working the Tasting tents–two at a time at each Tasting event. Nashville’s own Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of Catbird Seat made the list this year (must make reservation ASAP)!

The menu for the weekend

Hard at work feeding the hungry crowds. Look at that cheese!

Amish Pork Belly; Fluke Americaine; Sauteed Corn; Short Rib and Tongue Rendang

Besides the New Chefs exhibit, there were vendors from all over the world offering their unique and inspiring dishes–definitely something for everyone!

Louisiana Shrimp

There was a Spain-themed tent that served up delicious Spanish tapas every day.

Truffles in Paradise

Olive Oil vendor had the best idea…. vanilla bean ice cream topped with E.V.O.O and sea salt–surprisingly rich and delicious!

The Afternoon Saloon on Friday and Saturday at the Hotel Jerome served up signature drinks perfect for the warm afternoon sun and mouthwatering passed hors d’oeuvres to tide attendees over through the afternoon session.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a recap on the most fun job of the weekend–wine tasting!

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen- Part I The Setting

June 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

I never visited Disney World as a child but I imagine my fist experience at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen was something like a little girl first seeing the Magic Kingdom with her very own eyes. It was my fairy tale come true, and to give an idea of the feeling of the weekend, I wanted to set the stage with the setting, atmosphere and the players involved.

The entire event is interspersed in the town of Aspen which has picturesque streets of craveable shops, cafés with alfresco dining to take in the gorgeous mountain views and enough spruces, streams and photographic nature to make your head spin.

We spent most of our time in the Grand Tasting arena. Standing in line on your way in, you can hear the buzz and techno pumping through the tent and just can’t wait to get in. Once inside, you are greeted with a beautiful open-air hall and 3 different tasting tents. The tents are jam-packed with booths from winemakers, industry experts and food products from all over the world.

Most of our seminars took place in the Hotel Jerome which has just the right mix of luxury and western spirit.

Tech Talk – Danny Meyer, Bernardo Hernández, Rick Bayliss, José Andrés. Within minutes the convo turned directly to Twitter
Fame Game: The Reality of TV. Jacques Pépin, Tim Love, Spike Mendelsohn, Ming Tsai
Homegrown: Sowing The Seeds For the Future. Michel Nischan, Niki Leondakis, Sean Brock, John Besh. This was hands down the most inspiring talk of the weekend. It makes me want to go home and build a greenhouse to grow my own food.

Look who was in the crowd! Rick Bayliss jumped in on the farm-to-table conversation.

You can watch videos of each of the seminars here. When we weren’t indoors listening to superstar chefs talk shop, we were outside for cooking demos etc.

Stay tuned this week for details of the real stars of the show–the most fantastic food and wine on the globe.

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