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High Country: The cannabis cuisine scene grows at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

From Ocean Spray’s CBD debut to Dalwhinnie’s anniversary party, an infused trend report from this year’s festival.

Katie Shapiro
High Country
The Grand Tasting Pavilion at the 38th Food & Wine Classic in Aspen held Sept. 10-12, 2021.
Rising Sun Photography/Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

After a historic 2019 debut at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, cannabis earned another seat at the culinary festival’s coveted table (Sept. 10-12, 2021).

The three-day outdoor event marked a triumphant return following the cancellation of the 2020 summer edition, rescheduled instead against an autumn alpine backdrop. Headliners from Martha Stewart, Guy Fieri and Andrew Zimmern to Bravo “Top Chefs” including Melissa King, Shota Nakajima and Kwame Onwauchi toasted to gathering again, leading a full slate of tastings and seminars. The sold-out crowd was smaller this year as organizers responded to the ongoing effects of the pandemic by hosting about half of its usual capacity (2,500 festivalgoers were required to confirm vaccination).

Since first embracing CBD-forward brands two years ago, the Meredith Corporation-owned media company has furthered its interest in cannabis as it relates to the food and wine worlds — in 2020, the magazine published its first in-depth report on the subject and has seen an increase in reader response for infused recipes and news items, according to Food & Wine editor-in-chief Hunter Lewis.



“We’ve worked to cover cannabis in a serious way for our readers — to inform and provide insight to help our audience better understand and navigate this emerging space. Consumer perceptions and consumption patterns have been changing in a major way,” shared Lewis. “Given the growing legalization and mainstreaming of cannabis culture in the country and Colorado’s presence as a leader in the industry, it’s only natural that you will continue to see CBD integrated in the magazine and at the Classic very organically.”

The three CBD companies who were invited to partake — CarryOn, Lord Jones and Red Belly Honey — were ultimately selected because they “are all high-end brands that support people’s wellness mission,” stated Food & Wine Classic in Aspen executive director Diella Allen. Beyond official participants, other cannabis brands hosted activations over the course of the weekend to capitalize on the captive audience of tastemakers in town.




Click here to read the full story in Forbes.

SAVE THE DATE

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen returns to its regularly scheduled summer dates for next year (June 17-19, 2022). For more information about the festival, visit classic.foodandwine.com.


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