Under the tent: Jeanne McGovern | AspenTimes.com

Under the tent: Jeanne McGovern

Jeanne McGovern The Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – I’ve been to a few – OK, a lot – of Grand Tastings during my years in Aspen. But I have never seen a line to get under the big top quite like that on Friday morning. Seriously, pass-wearing patrons snaked from the tent entrance at Wagner Park down the Cooper Avenue Mall to well past the corner at Paradise Bakery. (Truth be told, the line could have weaved its way to City Market, but I wasn’t going to give up my spot to become an investigative journalist.)It was worth the wait.As always, the Grand Tasting served up a mix of everything Classic: wine, beer and spirits from around the world; food ranging from sushi and steak to cheese and chocolate; culinary gadgets, Fiji water and schwag for everyone. Almost as impressive, though, was the mood this year. Recession, be damned. The tent was packed, and people seemed to embrace a return to Food & Wine of days gone by. Even the weather seemed to remember it was the Food & Wine Classic. (Can you remember a time when Wagner Park didn’t become a muddy mess by the weekend’s end?)And while I had to relinquish my shared Aspen Times pass at the end of the first tasting, I’m holding on to the taste of the Food & Wine Classic – for the weekend and, hopefully, the summer. My guess is that all those folks lined up to get in the tent Friday will be doing the same. Because, honestly, is there a better way to kick off summer in Aspen than with food, wine and friends? I don’t think so. Like I said, recession, be damned. jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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