Classic mistakes | AspenTimes.com

Classic mistakes

Anna Stonehouse
The Aspen Times
Anna Stonehouse, left, and coworker Rose Laudicina before entering the Food and Wine Classic on Friday.
Igor Laray/courtesy photo

Have you ever put yourself in an environment where you think to yourself, “Wow, I really don’t belong here”?

This small-town Minnesota girl felt like that last year at my first Food & Wine Classic. Last year, I was completely overwhelmed walking into my first Grand Tasting. The hustle and bustle in the busy tents reminded me of the anxiety I endure at our busy and small local City Market. I braved going up to a booth and found myself flabbergasted to come up with a response to the man rattling off his knowledge of the wine company he was representing.

“Um, it’s good and I like it,” was really the only thing that could come to my mind.

I love quality and inventive foods and wines but really don’t have the knowledge or background to add to these types of conversations. After getting over my lack of expertise in these areas I embraced the experience. The Food & Wine Classic is amazing! Especially when you get a pass through work. Free food and wine? Yes, please.

As far as last year goes, I did Food & Wine incorrectly. I had a little too much wine and not enough food and paid for it royally each day. I found myself slamming glasses of wine to try and have my hands free to take photos and got myself into some seriously self-induced pain in the form of several hangovers.

This year, though, I was ready for Food & Wine. I got over my self-esteem issue of feeling that I didn’t belong and completely embraced the experience with a new self-confidence. I was ready to drink and eat this year! How fun to get all dressed up and surrounded by so many jovial faces both behind the booths and participating guests and being in the presence of true culinary artists.

I was lucky enough this year to be taken around by a true veteran of the Food & Wine Classic. My coworker and friend Carolyn Sackariason has attended the Classic for over two decades and took me under her wing this year during a Grand Tasting. I usually approach booths based on the color/how pretty their bottles are or if I like the company’s name (pathetic, I know). Carolyn was my personal tour guide, taking me to all of the best booths with the tastiest and sometimes most expensive wines in the entire venue. Wow, it truly made a difference. I’ve never tasted so many delicious flavors. It was quite a treat and now I can pass on some of the insider knowledge she provided me to other Food & Wine Classic newbies.

Heritage Fire in Snowmass remains my favorite event due to its rawness and unique cooking style but I really love every aspect of the Food & Wine Classic. The weekend has such a positive energy and an extremely food- and wine-savvy and passionate audience, and I couldn’t be happier to add to those jovial faces. Counting down the days to next year’s!

Cheers, and bon appetite.


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