ASPEN, Colorado, June 19, 2017- No doubt about it, when it comes to food festivals, the Aspen Food and Wine Classic is the big one. The planning takes a full year, along with an army of logistical support and hundreds of volunteers.
On game day, the event holds all the pomp and grandeur of a major sporting event as thousands of culinary aficionados descend upon Aspen. They come by car, plane, bike, and even by foot, all hoping to sample great wines and food and learn about the latest trends in the culinary arts from the world’s leading experts.
Celebrating 35 years, the festival’s various events were held in pavilions spread throughout the town with the largest ones located at Wagner Park in the heart of the city. Here, visitors sampled some of the finest wines, spirits, and food from 300 wine and lifestyle brand vendors who came from all over the country and in some cases, the world, to share.
Of course, food was well represented with cheese and bread stations spread throughout the pavilion. Other areas included a Best New Chef section with selections from up and coming chefs, Hickory House Ribs, Kerrygold, Sterling Caviar, Ticklebelly Desserts, and Virginia Cocktail Peanuts.
Another notable crowd-pleaser was Delysia Chocolatier from Austin. Industrial engineer turned chef and chocolatier Nicole Patel provided samples of her handmade, Parisian-style confections.
Delysia was named one of the Top 10 Chocolatiers in the Americas by The International Chocolate Salon and Taste TV.
Seminars and demonstrations (more than 80), including a panel discussion about changing culinary landscapes led by acclaimed chef Andrew Zimmern and part of the American Express Restaurant Trade Program, took place.
Others included Northern Italy’s Greatest Whites, American Raw Milk Cheeses, In the Kitchen with Top Chef Brooke Williamson, and Remarkable Rioja.
Accommodations for the Food and Wine Classic fill up quickly so making reservations well in advance is recommended. The Little Nell is the perfect venue from which to explore the festival as it is within walking distance to all of the events.
It is a Five-Star, Five-Diamond hotel, and the experience here is pure luxury.
The Little Nell is also very proud of their culinary program, which includes producing about 75% of their own produce via their Emma Gardens for a true farm-to-table experience. For their steaks and burgers, they source their meat from a ranch in Craig, Colorado, which features 150 head of Wagyu cattle.
Finally, they have an extensive wine program with 20,000 bottles of wine and about 50 sommeliers to help guide you to the best pairings.
Aspen’s Food and Wine Classic is the ultimate food and wine experience. If you are looking for your next palate-pleasing extravaganza, then plan now for next year’s festival scheduled for June 15-17, 2018.