Under the tent: A busy weekend in Aspen
June 19, 2009
ASPEN – It’s amazing how sun and wine play together to create magic.Friday was euphoric as the 27th Food & Wine Classic in Aspen kicked off under the Rocky Mountain sun. It was a fine day as the crowds filtered through the Grand Tasting tents discovering new wines and making new friends.Today, there is a special event open to all – even if you don’t have a ticket. Specialty Foods of Aspen on Hopkins Street will be hosting a wine tasting with Didier Pariente (you may know him from Matsuhisa), who will be pouring wines from Morocco in the courtyard. Mint tea and Moroccan nibbles will be served along with the wines from Thalvin and Domaine Ouleb Thaleb. Made northeast of Casablanca on the Atlantic Coast, a Syrah, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a pair of blends will be available for tasting. If you do have a ticket and enjoy Riesling, be sure to stop by Anthony Giglio’s “Riesling Smackdown” at the Gant at 10:00 a.m. Giglio, author of the FOOD & WINE Wine Guide 2009, has assembled great representations of the grape from California, Washington and New Zealand along with a pair of wines from Alsace, France. Be sure to raise a glass of the Hugel Riesling “Jubilee” to Jean Hugel, the influential Alsace winemaker who passed away this past week at 84.Options for food seminars abound, but in this austere age it may be best to keep it simple. New York restaurant impresario Danny Meyer teams with Dan Philips, who imports Australian wines, in a seminar titled “Pizza and Vino” at The Nell tents at 2 p.m. You can keep up with the casual cooking theme at 3:30 p.m. by attending Bobby Flay’s “Burgers, Shakes and Fries” in the Cooking Tent.Long lines formed inside the tents yesterday to sample cocktails made with Bombay Sapphire Gin. Some of the nation’s top mixologists, including Tony Abou-Ganim, will be presenting “An Exploration of Inspired Cocktails” at the St. Regis at 3:30 p.m., and Bombay will be king. If you survive Saturday night, the big show Sunday will be the Classic Quickfire event in The St. Regis at 10:30 a.m. Sissy Biggers, who has presided over the Sunday morning cook-offs for the past 11 years, will host this revamped cooking competition between the winners of Bravo’s Top Chef television show. Chicago’s Stephanie Izard will face off with New York’s Hosea Rosenberg. Always fun and always packed – you best get in line early.Have a magical time.