Under the tent: It’s Christmas in Aspen for foodies | AspenTimes.com

Under the tent: It’s Christmas in Aspen for foodies

Kelly J. HayesThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

Courtesy photoThe Million Dollar Road Trip Airstream on Independence Pass.

ASPEN – If you are an aficionado of food and wine, in the lower case, then Friday is Christmas, as the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, in the upper case, opens for the 28th time.The Classic has become the official opening act of summer, and this weekend looks as though we will have quintessential June-in-the Rockies weather for the event. If you have a ticket, then you’d better be up and moving, because life goes by fast and you won’t want to miss it.Highlights Friday include cheese expert Laura Werlin’s knockout “Great Grilled Cheese” seminar at 10 a.m., the beautiful and knowledgeable Belinda Chang’s “Chateauneuf du Pape: The Noble Wine of France” at 2 p.m. and, at 3:30, Richard Nalley’s “American Whiskey” tasting. All are on my iPad in my Food & Wine iPhone app agenda.That’s right – the people at the Classic have put together a terrific app for iPhone users that provides schedules, GPS directions, speaker bios and other pertinent info literally at your fingertips. It is the embodiment of an event that has become technologically au courant this year. Check out the Twitter posts as well.Then there are the two Grand Tastings under the big top in Wagner Park. I’m looking forward to the Bombay Sapphire table, where mixologists will prep both classic and new-to-me cocktail concoctions. As for wine, my first stop will be the Russian River Valley Winegrowers table, where I am looking forward to tasting Chris Donatiello’s 2007 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The region is one of my favorites, and I am intrigued to try this wine, made by a rugby player, on what is on any other weekend the home turf of the Aspen Rugby Team.If you’re out on the street, then keep an eye out for the blue Airstream with the “Million Dollar Road Trip” logo. I met these guys in Woody Creek and fell in love with their quest. Walter and Patrick, a pair of brothers and recent Notre Dame graduates, are driving the vehicle across America to attend the nation’s most iconic events. The Masters, the TED Conference, and, of course, the Food & Wine Classic. They are selling advertising and attempting to raise $1 million while creating social networking opportunities.The boys will be handing out free samples of Perky Jerky, a sponsor, on the streets. You can check out their website at millondollarroadtrip.com. See you in the tent.