Category Archives: Event

Upcoming Colorado Food Fests

Colorado foodies, or foodies visiting Colorado, have several food and wine events to choose from in the next few weeks. For multi-day events, inquire about special lodging rates.

Coming right up on Sunday, August 12, is the first annual Boulder Food & Wine Festival, which I previously wrote about. Scheduled from noon to 5:00 p.m., it features local restaurants’ creations using Colorado products and also a tasting of wines from Colorado wineries.

The Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival, that promises “to put the fun back in fungus,” takes place August 16-19 with a variety of specialized forays, workshops, cooking demonstrations/luncheons, a treasure hunt foray for youngsters aged six to 13 and experts on mushroom stuff. Visitors can by a three-day festival pass ($119.50), one-day pass ($49.50) or admission to individual events ($35-$39.50).

Saturday, August 18, is the annual Lafayette Peach Festival. Admission is free to the fruit-oriented street festival that takes place along three blocks of South Public Road. Admittedly, this hasn’t been the best year for Colorado’s fabled stone fruits, but organizers expect Palisade’s Morton’s Orchards to bring in 30,000 pounds of fresh, organic freestone peaches. The festival anticipates serving 4,500 servings of peach cobbler and 500 peach pies prepared by Hanna’s Specialty Foods and 2,500 peach smoothies. Other attractions include antiques and craft sales and children’s activities.

In southwestern Colorado, the Mesa Verde Wine and Art Festival takes place August 24-26 with wine tastings ($20 on festival day, $15 in advance) and wine maker dinners ($75) at the Metate Room in Mesa Verde National Park’s Far View Lodge and Joey’s Restaurant in Dolores. Guy Drew Vineyards in Cortez hosts an open house with live music on Sunday the 26th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and that day, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Dawg Days Chili Cookoff takes place at the Cortez Cultural Center. Something for everyone.

September 7-9 is the first Colorado Fest … Celebrating Colorado’s Food, Wine, Beer & Art in Gunnison and Crested Butte. The weekend begins on Friday evening in Gunnison with a free art gallery crawl, live music and a food and wine reception at the Gunnison Arts Center with David S. Carbonetti of Mountain Sommeliers and two Colorado winemakers ($11 in advance on-line, $15 at the door). The weekend in Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte offers food and wine pairings, a wine tasting with Colorado foods under the cottonwood trees, a beer festival and chili cook-off and a farmers market. Local restaurants offer fixed-price dinner menus of Colorado-only products and guests can participate in hands-on pottery and cooking classes, music and more. Other ticket prices range from $7 for Breakfast with a Viking Chef (Saturday morning) to $65 for a wine-maker dinner at the Timberline Restaurant (Sunday evening). Go to the festival’s website or call 877-448-1399 for reservations or more information.
A Taste of Colorado, the annual Labor Day Weekend extravaganza of food and entertainment, takes over Denver’s Civic Center Park from August 31 to September 3. Admission is free. Visitors pay for carnival rides, food and beverages — and of course, whatever crafts and other items they purchase. Hours are Friday,11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The 16th annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade is an enduring and increasingly popular event that has grown up with the Colorado wine industry. The showcase for the Rocky Mountain Association of Vintners & Viticulturists is coming on September 13-16, with such activities as hands-on workshops of various sorts, wine and food pairings, dueling chef competitions, grape stomps, winery tours, winemaker competitions, a chocolate tasting, wine-maker dinners, a bicycle tour of the vineyards and more. The first-class VIP Pass is $140; individual event tickets range from $35 for a seminar on grape growing to $120 for a golf and wine package. Check the schedule or buy tickets online or for more information, call 970-464-0111 and 800-704-3667.

It is fitting that the epicurean summer that started with the 25th Annual Food & Wine Classic at Aspen wraps up with another prestigious festival at another luxurious mountain resort. The new Beaver Creek Wine and Spirits Festival, September 13-15, features visiting celebrity chefs and winners of the San Francisco International Wine Competition and San Francisco World Spirits Competition who will pair food, wine and spirits. Wine authority Anthony Dias-Blue, who also runs those San Francisco beverage competitions, and chefs Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, Richard Sandoval of Modern Mexican Restaurants (including Tamayo and Zengo in Denver) and Joseph Manzare of Zuppa, plus selected Beaver Creek chefs. will be on hand. Unusual offers include “Walk and Wine,” an outdoor experience pairing a wildflower hike led by experienced guides followed by a three-course wine pairing luncheon ($75), and “Fly Fish/Eat Fish” combining fly fishing instruction and a three-course seafood luncheon ($200). Renowned comedian Craig Shoemaker will provide plenty of laughs during a live “Cocktails and Comedy” performance at the Vilar Center for the Arts ($35). Seminars ($45), a grand tasting ($60) and a fabulous dinner at Splendido at the Chateau ($75) round up the festival. Tickets can be ordered from 970-845-TIXS.

Food Blogs Showcased at Conference

First a disclaimer: I am not at BlogHer, a just-concluded conference for women bloggers — or blogging women. I do love the idea that there is a session just on food blogging, which in the context of the community of bloggers is called foodblogging.

I was intrigued by the session description, because it led me to some interesting food blogs I hadn’t known about before. I was cheered the notion that a key speaker on foodblogging has the middle (and presumably maiden) name of “Fish.” And I was struck by the irony that this session was sponsored by Butterball, a branded product that should be convicted of turkey (and turkey-eater) abuse because the birds are injected with a mixture of fat, broth, water and “flavor enhancers” that are supposed to make the meat juicier and give it more taste (which I suppose it does if fat and salt are your idea of taste) and creates a weird, unnatural texture. The session description read:

The Art of Foodblogging
Few blogging communities are as passionate, connected and consistent as foodbloggers. We’ll hear from a diverse group of foodbloggers as they dish about how they started following this passion online, what has surprised them (good and bad) about foodblogging and the foodblogging community, what they’ve learned about food, cooking, blogging and technology since they became dedicated foodbloggers, and how foodblogging and its community of
bloggers and readers has affected their offline lives and perspectives. Last year
Shuna Fish Lydon told us how blogging has changed her world from the audience of our Opening Session. We’ve brought her back to tell us more, along with other great foodbloggers like Jasmine from Cardamom Addict, Nupur Kittur, Susan Voisin from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen and Alanna Kellogg. Kalyn Denny will be on hand to make sure that everyone in the room contributes, like a “Stone Soup” of a conversation.
This session is sponsored by Butterball.

Denver Chefs to Food & Wine, Part Deux

A few days ago, when I posted the names of the Denver chefs who will be cooking at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I wasn’t sure of the auspices under which they would there. Yesterday evening, found out. I attended a send-off champagne reception for them at Corridor 44 and got the lowdown. The Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau funded a Taste of Denver booth in the Grand Tasting tent. Rich Grant of the DMCVB said that the bureau is seeking to help Denver chefs get the recognition they deserve in the culinary community. Today’s Denver Post Food section ran a front-page feature on the chefs that included half-a-dozen recipes.

Denver Chefs to Food & Wine

I’ve been deadline-crazed lately and haven’t had/found/made time to blog for several days. But I just found out which Denver chefs will be at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 15-17 and can resist sharing their names with you.

I don’t have a schedule so don’t know exactly what each one will be doing or when. Speaking generally, some chefs go to Food & Wine to cook for admiring crowds in the Consumer portion of the event, which is truly an honor, but others quietly attend seminars and panels in the Restaurant Trade portion of the event and network with their colleagues. The combo makes it a chef fest of the highest order. The Front Range chefs heading for this toniest of food events, which is billing itself as “the height of good taste,” are:

Matt Anderson, Bistro Vendôme
Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja
Carl Klein, Corridor 44
Ian Kleinman, O’s Steak & Seafood at the Westin Westminster
Curtis Lincoln, Ellyngton’s at the Brown Palace
Christian “Goose” Sorensen, Solera
Tyler Wiard, Elways

Be A Colorado Kitchen Snoop

The next few weeks bring at least two opportunities to visit other people’s kitchens and benefit good causes as well. You might be looking for ideas for your own kitchen remodel, or you might just be a masochist who enjoys the pain of kitchen envy when comparing your own cooking area with gorgeous designer kitchens furnished with the finest — exquisite cabinets, over-the-top granite countertops and the highest-end appliances.

Boulder’s annual Kitchens on Fire (right, June 1-2 , 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) is, to quote the organizers, “a self-guided tour of inspiring kitchens of every size and shape.” Tickets are only $15 and benefit the Dairy Center for the Arts. They are available at the Dairy Center (2590 Walnut Street), on-line or by phone (303-444-SEAT).

Denver’s fourth annual Kitchens That Cook! tour (left, June 10, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) features nine show-stopping kitchens in the Park Hill, Country Club and Washington Park neighborhoods. The tour is also self-guided. Tickets are $20 in advance (on-line) or $25 on tour day (available at all stops). Proceeds benefit the Junior League of Denver. You can also preview these kitchens on the JLD’s website. These gorgeous kitchens make any enthusiastic cook drool. I often wonder, however, how many people with such magnificent showplace kitchens actually cook.

Many years ago, when Corian was the trendy countertop surface and SubZero was just coming onto the scene as the first designer appliance (the first I knew about, at any rate), a friend an I went on a tour of fancy kitchens in New Jersey’s fashionable exurbia. We were living in then-unfashionable Hoboken. We both loved to cook (and she’s a terrific baker as well). We were managing quite nicely with kitchens that we fixed up only slightly from the 1950s updates we inherited from the previous owners when we bought our 1870s brownstones — icky salmon-colored Formica countertops (in both houses), forgettable cabinets (mine were knotty pine and mounted for someone 6 inches taller than I; hers were simply cheap and mounted for someone shorter than she), merely functional appliances (neither of our kitchens came with dishwashers; I bought a roll-to-the-sink model; she settled for a half-size under-the-counter machine). We walked through these pristine kitchens where only one had any evidence (i.e., a few cookbooks on a small shelf) that anyone actually cooked, and then went home and whipped up dinners in our considerable more modest settings.

‘Chocolate and Zucchini’ Author’s Book Tour

Clotilde Dusoulier, a young woman whose captivating Chocolate and Zucchini blog about food and cooking in Paris has been a foodie favorite since it eased into the blogosphere in late 2003, has written a cookbook. The American edition of Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Paris Kitchen has just been published by Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House. The reviewers who have seen it have been swooning: “”Dusoulier has contagious enthusiasm for her local Montmartre markets. Reading “Chocolate and Zucchini” is like going on a slightly frenetic shopping spree — in other words, irresistible” enthused Paris-Match.

Born and raised in Paris, Dusoulier lived in San Francisco for a couple of years after college and it was there that she developed her passion for food. She learned about cooking from her mother and is also self-taught, a perfect melding of her French roots overlaid by her American experiences. Her blog is full of her carefully indexed recipes (mercifully and pragmatically given both in metric and American measures), as well as her observations about food, restaurants and related topics that intrigue her. I have blog envy; hers attracts 4.5 million visitors a month, and I’ve been a lot of them.

Dusoulier is embarking on an American book tour. Alas, Denver is not on it, but here are the US cities scheduled thus far (book signings are free and begin at the time indicated; cost for others is given):

New York – Tuesday, May 15. 12:30 p.m.
Dean & Deluca (560 Broadway, SoHo)
Book signing, free meet and greet, 12:30 p.m.

Boston – Wednesday, May 16, 7:00 p.m.
Chez Henri (1 Shepard St., Cambridge)
Book signing and dinner, $75 for glass of wine, three-course dinner and signed copy of the book); reservations required (617-354-8980)

Boston – Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m.
The French Library (53 Marlborough Street)
Catered luncheon, talk and book signing; $15-$20 (I’m not sure why this price range);reservations required (617-912-0400). Chef Jean Claude Carvin of La Riviera Gourmet will prepare three recipes from the book.

Chicago – Saturday, May 19, 12:00 noon
Froggy’s French Café (306 Green Bay Road, Highwood)
Book signing and luncheon; cost TBA; reservations required by calling call Lake Forest Bookstore (847- 234-4420)
Chicago – Sunday, May 20, 1:30 p.m.
The Book Cellar (4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue)
Book signing and free meet and greet

Seattle – Monday, May 21, 7:30 p.m.
Impromptu (4235 East Madison Street)
Book signing and food-and-wine event, in collaboration with Shauna and Dan of Gluten-Free Girl; $45 including copy of the book; reservations required (206-860-1569).Admission: $45

Seattle – Tuesday, May 22, 7:00 p.m.
University Bookstore (4326 University Way NE)
Book signing and free meet and greet

Sonoma County, CA – Wednesday, May 23, 7:00 p.m.
Bovolo (106 Matheson St., Healdsburg)
Book signing and three-course dinner; $25; reservations required (707-431-2962)

Berkeley, CA – Thursday, May 24, 7:00
Cody’s Books (1730 Fourth Street)
Book signing and free meet and greet
San Francisco – May 26
Book Passage (Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Plaza #421)
1:00 p.m.
Book signing and free meet and greet

Upcoming Food Events – One in Town, Two on the Snow

I expect a fundraiser featuring four top chefs to live up to its name, “Night of Excellence.” Chefs Mark Fiorentino of Daniel Boulud Restaurants (New York), Mike Morehead, Gourmet Fine Catering (Denver), Christian “Goose” Sorensen of Solera Restaurant (Denver) and Bradford Thompson of The Phoenician (Scottsdale, AZ) will pull out all culinary stops in a fundraiser for the Brian Thompson Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which supports aspiring young chefs in undertaking a formal three-year program at a local culinary school. Brian Thompson, a young chef with Whirled Peas Catering which is instrumental in putting on the event, died accidentally and tragically on February 28, 2006. He was not related to The Phoenician’s Bradford Thompson.

The “Night of Excellence” is scheduled exactly one year later, on February 28, 2007, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Cable Center, 2000 Buchtel Boulevard, Denver. The program includes cooking demonstrations, wonderful food, paired wines and a silent auction. Tickets are $100 per person. For reservations, call 720-335-2718 or visit the foundation’s website.

The annual Crested Butte Nordic Council Progressive Bonfire Dinner combines a distinctive four-star, four-course, four-fire dinner with cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Locals and visitors alike share the warmth and camaraderie around crackling fires, with good food and warm drinks along the way. The dinner starts at 5:00 pm on March 17, at the Town Ranch trailhead with a cup of hot wine or cocoa to sip while sitting on straw bales around the first fire.

Skiers and snowshoers follow a path of luminarias along 4 kilometers of Nordic trails with appetizer, soup, entrée and dessert courses of Italian fare served around bonfires along the way. The dinner costs $30 for adults and $15 for children under age 12, with proceeds supporting the Gunnison/Crested Butte Junior Nordic Ski Team. Reservations are required; call 970-349-1707.

Various Vail charities benefit from the 17th annual Taste of Vail, from April 11 to 14, the perfect bridge from the end of the ski season to the beginning of the food-festival season. The busy schedule includes food and wine seminars, winemaker dinners at some of the Vail Valley’s top restaurants, the Grand Tasting (fine wine poured by winemakers and winery owners from around the globe, an abundance of great food, an auction and dancing), and my personal favorite, the popular mountaintop picnic extravaganza at 10,350 feet atop Vail Mountain. I can ski before the picnic, but I’ve never managed to ski afterwards!

The Taste of Vail is an a la carte production, with various ticket categories offered. It’s complicated, so check the website if you are interested. For tickets or further information, go to the Taste of Vail website or call 970-926-5665.