Kelly J. Hayes: Under the Tent |

Kelly J. Hayes: Under the Tent

Kelly J. HayesThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – If you are reading this, I hope that A) You have a pass to the Food & Wine Classic, and B) You are sitting at Victoria’s, across the mall from the main tent, sipping the best cappuccino in town preparing for the day ahead. There are three seminars and a pair of Grand Tastings. What to do? This is just one man’s opinion, mind you, but follow the path and I believe you’ll enjoy the day.First, as the event is titled FOOD & Wine, begin with the former. At 10 a.m., head over to Tent No. 2 at The Little Nell for Aspen local and local favorite Laura Werlin’s “Great American Cheese” seminar. Few people – no, scratch that – nobody in America knows America’s cheeses better than Werlin. Her “The All-American Cheese and Wine Book” won a James Beard Award. She will be signing same this afternoon at the Grand Tasting Tent at 12:15.Prefer a heartier kickoff? An alternative can be found at the Cooking Tent venue where Michael Symon will prepare pig in his seminar “In Praise of Pork.” Mill about for a bit before the Grand Tasting begins, but once you’re in the tent, taste with gusto. I like to start the tastings with white wines. Look for some summer sparklers to begin with, perhaps a Prosecco from Italy or a Txakoli from Spain – the “tx” is pronounced as a soft “ch,” as in chac-o-lee. These are low-alcohol wines with a festive fizz.After lunch, a slice of New York Pizza is a great palate cleanser, and the Lettie Teague-helmed Sommelier Challenge over in Paepcke Park – that’s on Main Street – is a ton of fun. A panel of sommeliers blind-taste wines and try to identify what is in their glasses. Competition and ribald revelry ensue.Hopefully the sun will be shining after the Som-off and you can relax on the grass at Paepcke. For, in the same location at 3:30, you’ll want to go back for “Cabernet: New from Napa,” hosted by the blogosphere’s leading light on the subject of wine. Alder Yarrow, an Aspen High grad who now toils in technology in San Francisco, will pour a number of names new to me.Once the seminars are over, it’s back to the tent. Afternoon Grand Tastings seem to take on a life of their own as you mingle with friends, old and new. I like to stop by the tables of those who made the wine I tasted during the seminars and try to put a face with a bottle, so to speak. If you enjoyed the Hall “Exzellenz” in Yarrow’s seminar, then look up Kathryn Hall and tell her so.When all is said and done, head back over to Victoria’s for a cup of joe. You’ll need it.

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