Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tastes of Aspen Food & Wine Classic

I walked around Aspen for a while enjoying the warm day deciding what to do with the two hours I had free. Since I’ve been to a few of these food and wine festivals I know that it’s pretty impossible to do the Grand Market all at once. There’s just more food and drink than any person can consume. I decided to make more than one trip and headed downtown for my first.

The Food & Wine Classic market wasn’t nearly as big as South Beach, but there was certainly plenty to try. I stopped at the British Airways table to find out more about how the chefs prepare food that works well with the plane’s altitude. I can’t say I fully understood the process, but it seemed to come together on my recent trip to London on that airline.

Can you think of a better combination than Godiva Chocolate and ice cream? Godiva Chef David Funarc took it one step further by giving his Godiva Ice Cream Parlor Truffles flavors like Banana Split, Pecan Caramel Sundae and Rocky Road.

The Wines of Spain tent included not only a fantastic selection of Tempranillo, Albariño and other Spanish varietals, but also cheese tasting.

The Best New Chefs named by Food and Wine Magazine had their own tribute and area to cook some of their award-winning recipes.

If you see Kay wine not only has an interesting name and intriguing bottle, but I liked their fruity Cab blend from Italy. For an entirely different take on “boxed wine,” try Volare, which comes in a pocketbook case. The Pinot Grigio wasn’t bad and the pocketbook holds the equivalent of two bottles for $14.99.

Kitchen Aid had their entire Cook for a Cure appliances on display. These pink items acknowledge the relationship between the cookware company and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer for the Cure organization.

I didn’t want to eat too much because I had a luncheon to go to, but did take a few of Green & Black Organic Chocolates to go (love the real cherry pieces in the Chocolate-Cherry, as well as the Ginger one). The StellaArtois Best of Belgium Press luncheon started with Hoegaarten with an asparagus, scallops and lobster dish. My friend Lisa was with me and she hard at work tasting the beer (it’s not my favorite beverage), as well as eating the seafood. She didn’t seem mind the task and also enjoyed the sushi dish with Stella, while I checked out the cheese and fruit platter.

Chef Daniel Joly prepared the food for the event to pair with the beers. I thought the gnocchi with lamp was a great combination, and the Open Chicken Crepe was delicious. The Stella Artois party ended with a Decadent Chocolate Dessert and miniature crème brulees. A few bites of two of my favorites were all I could manage after the morning of eating.

We headed back to the B&B for a short nap before the Zonin Prosecco tasting at Casa Lua. I really enjoyed the sparkling wine and wished we had time to sample some more of the company’s Italian wines, but we had another party to get to.

Fly, Drive and Reside was sponsored by Mercedes, Veuve Cliquot and Timbers Resorts. We were on the rooftop of the Dancing Bear in time for a beautiful sunset and lots of champagne. Lisa and I mingled for a while and enjoyed the scenic views. The night was just perfect, not too hot and not a chill in the air. It was hard to leave, but I had another party to get to.

Gail Simmons’ Last Bite, Late Night Dessert Party was at the Hotel Jerome and it was as sweet as it sounds. Even the drinks at the Late Night Dessert Party were decadent. I went for the Espressotini with Patron XO Café Dark Cocoa, Patron XO Café and Fonte Espresso. It certainly woke me up!

Harry & David supplied a selection of Moose Munch and Bark, with flavors such as Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroon and Cherry Vanilla. The mini cupcakes and mini doughnuts (bittersweet chocolate, yum) were on a looking like they would be rolled around the room. The Roasted Vanilla Peach Hand Pies made me glad I hadn’t had any dinner before I came.

It was pretty late when I got out of there, but I was on quite a sugar high and not ready to hit the sack. Before calling it a night, Lisa and I met up with a friend at Belly Up to hear some great live music. It was a comfortable venue and I wish I had the energy to stay until the end of the show and the closing of the club, but I was coming down from the sweets. It had been a long day and I had an even longer one to come. 

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