Tag Archives: Wine festivals

New Location & Headline Chef at International Wine Festival

Event at Omni Interlocken welcomes former White House Chef

DenverIntlWineFest2013-logoThe ninth annual Denver International Wine Festival’s Pairsine food and wine pairing competition adds a high-profile out-of-state contender. Not only will some of Colorado’s leading compete against each other, but also against Chef John Moeller, who cooked in the White House for 13 years. Having cooked across the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he ranks as one of the longest tenured chefs. I could be snarky and note that two Texans and one Arkansan might not have set the highest of culinary bars, but that would be disrespectful so I won’t — except to note that there were also those state dinners, receptions and other events at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where fried pork rinds were not offered. Chef Moeller will be signing copies of his recently published cookbook and memoir, Dining at the White House—From the President’s Table to Yours.

Pairsine (pronounced “pair-zeen”), Wine Country Network’s signature culinary event on Thursday, November 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., features 10 local chefs who each create two dishes to pair with a total of 20 gold medaling wines selected 300 international wines at the earlier 2013 Denver International Wine Competition. The chefs’ challenge is to create two spectacular dishes to pair with their each of their assigned wines.

I was honored to be a judge at earlier competitions. Last year, I was laid low by excruciating back and had to bow out in the last minute, and I’m afraid I fell off the radar this time around. This year’s judges are Kris Browning-Blas, food editor of The Denver Post, Amanda Faison, food editor of 5280 Magazine, Teresa Farney, food editor of The Gazette; Michael Long, previous honoree at the festival and now KEZW radio host of The Main Course, and Lori Midson, Café Society food editor of Westword.  Additionally, Pairsine attendees vote for the “People’s Choice” award.

Pairsine highlights the Denver International Wine Festival (DIWF,) a five-day wine and food festival (November 6 to10) at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield. The first one was at Denver’s Oxford Hotel, and since then, it has also taken place at the University of Denver, Mile High Station and the Hyatt Hotel in Denver. The Omni has hosted other Wine Country International events. And Fodors recently named DIWF was recently named one of the Top 10 Fall Wine Festivals in the U.S.

Pairsine tickets are are available online for $100 that includes an evening of tasting those outrageous food and wine pairings, plus a keepsake festival wine glass made by Riedel/Spiegelau. I have seen discount tickes on at least one deal-of-the-day site. None seem to be available today, but you might want to check. Click here for links to some of the leading sites.

The 2013 DIWF’s charity of choice is Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. DIWF host Omni Interlocken Resort has a limited number of special festival room rates available at $99 per night. Click here or call 303-438-6600 for reservations.

Click here more information on the Denver International Wine Festival.

Upcoming Colorado Food & Wine Festivals

Colorado eats from small-town single-food fests to the huge, multi-day A Taste of Colorado at Civic Center Park
The Colorado Tourism Office assembled the following list of upcoming food and wine festivals, beginning this week and continuing through to mid-September:
  • Steamboat Wine Festival (August 4-7).  An impressive gathering of  domestic and international vintners, gourmet food purveyors, live  entertainment, and an array of luxury-related vendors are featured at this  annual event.
  • Olathe Sweet Corn Festival (August 5-6). Olathe’s hot days, cool nights and  glacier-fed fields are said to produce some of America’s sweetest  corn.  Visitors can taste unlimited boiled or roasted corn on the  cob, early in the corn season at the renowned Olathe Sweet Corn  Festival.
  • Palisade Peach Festival (August 18-21). This great event kicks off with an ice cream social and street dance, celebrating everything peach from pies to ice cream, preserves to salsas, and even virgin peach daiquiris.
  • Lafayette Peach Festival (August  20). Some 30,000 pounds of organic Palisade peaches that are not staying on the Western Slope come to Boulder County. Also featured are 600 fresh  peach pies and more than 2,500 peach smoothies.
  • Beef N’ Bean Day (August 13). This festival in Milliken (Weld Count) includes a bean cook-off contest and barbecue
    dinner plus a beer garden, pet parade, jalapeno eating contest and more.
  • Telluride Mushroom Festival (August 18-21). The granddaddy of Colorado mushroom events, the Shroomfest celebrates all aspects of  the fungal world, from gourmet wild edibles to medicinal mushrooms grown  in Telluride and the surrounding San Juan Mountains.
  • Cherry Creek Food and Wine (August 20). Celebrate the diverse and sophisticated  tastes of Cherry Creek North dining, complemented with open-bar wine and  artisan spirits, performance art, live music and more.
  • Rocky Ford Watermelon Day (August 20). Rrenowned cantaloupes and watermelons come from Rocky Ford, home to some of the most fertile  soils in the nation.
  • Colorado State Fair (August 26 – September 5). The state fair in Pueblo isn’t a food or wine event, strictly speaking, but in addition to livestock shows, horse shows and fine arts exhibition,  the Colorado Dueling Cooks Challenge pairs  professional chefs with home cooks to prepare an  all-Colorado meal.
  • Corn Roast Festival (August 26-27). This event celebrates all things corn in Loveland with unlimited roasted and boiled corn for sale and corn shucking, eating  and recipe contests.
  • Taste of Colorado (September 2-5).  Originally named Festival of Mountain and Plain, the Taste of Colorado is Denver’s traditional end-of-summer celebration.  More than 500,000 people enjoy over 50 local  food establishments, 270 marketplace artisans and vendors, six  entertainment stages, and educational programs promoting the diverse  Western cultural and culinary aspects. of the region.
  • Windsor Harvest Festival (September 3-5). Celebrating its 90th anniversary, this event kicks off  with a hot air balloon launch and parade followed by a a town barbecue, street dance and horse-drawn carriage rides.
  • Monte Vista Potato Festival (September 10). This San Luis Valley fest celebrates the  region’s potatoes with atours of fields, vendors, food booths,  chef demos, and more.
  • Potato Day Festival (September 10). Greeley honors its potato heritage (remember Centennial?) with  free baked potatoes and some  food-orineted demonstrations, including corn shelling and  kid’s potato patch.
  • Apple Fest (September  10). The Historic Turner Farm in Buena Vista invites guests to step back in time to the  turn of the 20th century and enjoy apple pie contests, old-time skills demonstrations and more.
  • Colorado Mountain Wine Fest (September 15-18).  Thousands of wine lovers flock to Palisade to sample a growing array of Colorado wines and participate in a variety of events, including the Tour de Vineyards bicycle tour through 25 miles of the wine country and orchards of Palisade.

For the Foodie Calendar

Bastille Day Dinners, July 14

Tomorrow is Bastille Day, when the French celebrate their Independence and find another reason for more wonderful French cuisine. Here are some Denver restaurants promising a special celebratory dinner — not burgers and hot dogs on the grill the way the US stereotypically eats on the Fourth of July but dinners featuring French specialties, avec vin.

New York Restaurant Week, July 11-24

The 20th annual New York Restaurant Week began on Monday and continues through July 24. This year, 320 restaurants are participating with $35 set-menu dinners and $24.07 lunches. I’m not sure where they came up with that second number, but in the context of New York prices, it’s a screaming value. The promotional week is welcoming the return of some big-name eateries that were original participants back in 1992, including the ‘21’ Club, Barbetta, Delmonico’s, Le Cirque and Tribeca Grill. Beverages, taxes and gratuities are additional, and some restaurants exclude Saturdays and/or Sundays. If you’re in or headed for New York, you can see the list and link to reservations pages by clicking here.

Crested Butte Wine and Food Festival, July 20-24

In addition to the usual complement of seminars, wine and food tastings and the lavish Grand Tasting, the fourth annual Crested Butte Wine and Food Festival is a stop on the notable Celebrity Chef Tour, whose opulent, over-the-top dinners benefit the James Beard Foundation. On Wednesday, July 20, Crested Butte Mountain Resort chef Eric Jaeger hosts Jesse Griffiths, owner/chef of Dai Due Supper Club, Austin, Texas, and Bravo “Top Chef” Season 5 contender Carla Hall. On Friday, July 22, again at 5:30 p.m., it’s Colorado night, featuring Alex Seidel, owner/chef of Fruition Restaurant, Denver; Eric Skokan, owner/chef of Black Cat Farm Bistro, Boulder, and Matt Selby, owner/chef of Vesta Dipping Grill, Denver. See a full schedule and buy tickets online. I attended the Crested Butte Fest in 2009. Click here for my post.

Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival, July 22-23

The Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival brings foodies, wine connoisseurs and art lovers together to meet celebrity chefs with Colorado connections, view a juried art exhibit with regionally and nationally recognized artists, attend food and presentation expert panels, and enjoy a “Palette of Pairings” featuring specialty foods with wines and spirits, all set in the scenic mountain splendor of Snowmass Village. Buy tickets online. Extend your stay and set out to explore easy or extreme hiking and biking trails, take in a free and festive Thursday night concert on the Hill, and visit nearby Aspen and its gustatory delights. Featured chefs:

  • Richard Sandoval. The highly honored pioneer of Modern Mexican Cuisine. His Colorado restaurants include Tamayo in Denver, La Sandia with two Denver area locations and Venga Venga right there in Snowmass Village.
  • Hosea Rosenberg. Boulder-based chef who was television’s “Top Chef” Season 5 winner.
  • Alex Seidel. The star owner/chef who heads the kitchen at Denver’s Fruition is also multiply honored, including being named one of Food and Wine Magazine’s 2010 “Best New Chefs,” an honor presented in Aspen, so he’s no stranger to the area.

Upcoming Colorado Food, Wine & Beer Events

The spring calendar is filled with food and wine festivals, culminating in the extraordinary Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
Today is Dining Out for Life, a restaurant industry fundraiser for Project Angel Heart, an organization that provides free nutritious meals for individuals living with AIDS/HIV or other life-threatening diseases. If you haven’t made a reservation yet, you can still make one or drop in at one of the many participating restaurants that are donating 25 percent of today’s sales for this fine cause. But here are some food and wine events for a bit of advance planning. Big thanks to the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board for the heads-up about some of these events. They compiled a list of events (mainly wine or food and wine) with which it is involved, including ones later in summer  that I did not include here. Be aware that many, maybe most, of these events are for 21 years and older.

Kitchens Are Cooking Kitchens Are Cooking is an annual self-guided tour through some of Boulder’s most fabulous kitchens comes with an energy-saving twist and also cooking demonstrations this year. The tour is Saturday, April 30, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. This great tour enables you to great cooking/eating/entertaining spaces and also help the I Have A Dream Foundation, beneficiary of the event. Tickets are $18 or $35 for two. Click here to purchase online through TicketsWest or at King Soopers. and if you are ready to buy no later than May 1, you can get half-price tickets through BoCo Deals. Click here for details.
Taste of Pearl Amble up and down Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall on Sunday, May 1, 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. and enjoy the second annual Taste of Pearl. You can sample food from some of the top local  restaurants paired with Colorado wines  in many of the shops and galleries along the way. Click here to buy tickets at $52.80 each, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Emergency Family Assistance Agency. FoMoInfo: 303.449.3774.
Culinary School of the Rockies Open House Because the real Cinco de Mayo falls on a Thursday this year, many celebrations are taking place on the weekend. Therefore, the Culinary School of the Rockies‘ free fiesta-themed open house on May 5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. is a timely and welcome addition to the home cook’s calendar. Enjoy the appetizers, drinks, a chance to tour the school and meet the chef/instructors, discounts on upcoming cooking classes and giveaways. Click here or call 303-494-7988 to sign up.  637 South Broadway, Suite H, Table Mesa Shopping Center (west side), Boulder.
Durango Wine Experience – The fifth Annual Durango Wine Experience comprises one evening and three days of educational seminars, wine dinners and tastings of hundreds of wines, artisanal spirits and craft beers. The festival kicks off with a VIP reception on Thursday, May 5 and wraps up with a brunch on Sunday, May 8. In between are seven informative seminars and tastings, and the two signature events, the “Walk-About Durango” is the signature, multi-location tasting event downtown on Friday, May 6. Top local chefs and wineries from around the world are featured at Grand Tasting on Saturday, May 7. Click here for an event schedule and here for packages. The top-priced package for all events is $285, a $165 savings over single event tickets.
Blues, Brews and BBQ – Beaver Creek, one of Colorado’s most exclusive mountain resorts, relaxes with the 18th annual Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival on May 28-29.  Culinary demonstration, kids’ activities and entertainment are free.  The the only ticketed event is the largest exclusively Colorado microbrew beer tasting in the state Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Saturday, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance by calling 970-949-1234 or $40 at the door.
The Big Eat Denver – More than 50 Denver independent restaurants set up at Union Station on Sunday, May 22 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. for the Big Eat,  an opportunity to sample, mingle and savor the joys of the local restaurant scene. Some of the marguee nsmaes at The Big Eat are 1515, Avenue Grill, Black Pearl, Duo, El Camino, Encore, Euclid Hall, Green Russell, H burger, Hideaway Steakhouse, Happy Cakes, Jonesy’s, The Lobby, Lou’s Food Bar, Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza, Olivéa, Rialto, Root Down, Snooze, Steubens. Steve’s Snappin Dogs, Vesta and Wednesday’s Pie. Admission and food tastes are just $20. Games and beverages from by the  Great Divide, Wynkoop, CapRock,Downslope, Leopold Brothers and Peachstreet Distillers are additional. .Click here for tickets.
Colorado WinefestThe Colorado Winefest at the Shops at Northfield (the old Stapleton Airport location) on June 10-11 is preesnted by the folks who produce the fabuloous Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade. It features many of Colorado’s 100+ wineries and is a fundraiser for the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE), which in the long run means more vineyards and wineries in the state’s future. The Colorado Wine Dinner ($100)  on Friday, June 10 is a five-course dinner by five local chefs paired with seven Colorado wines.  The Grand Tasting (only $35) on Saturday June 11, 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. includes a wine glass, wine tote, wine tasting at all participating Colorado wineries, five food samples and free seminars. It’s quite a deal! The concurrent VIP Experience ($100) in an exclusive tented area includes a specialty wine glass, wine tote, name chef demonstrations, fine cuisine and award-winning wines from the judging at an earlier evening celebrating premier Colorado Wines at the Governor’s Residence. A Riedel seminar ($95), is a guided tasting  you through a flight of wines tasting to demonstrate that the glass really does make a difference. The ticket price includes a four-glass set of Riedel Vinum glasses, valued at over $100. You can buy tickets online, but to avoid this multi-step process, call 800-704-3667.
Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival The picturesque town of Manitou Springs at the base of Pikes Peak is a pleasant venue for a small wine festival. With 20 or so Colorado wineries represented, it is a good starter wine event — manageable, not overwhelming and inexpensive. Wineries set up their tables in Soda Springs Park for the event on Saturday, June 4, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, with live entertainment from 12:00 noon to 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance (buy at the Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau) and $30 at the gate ($25 for military).
Taste of Elegance Food & Beer Competition – Last year, I was honored to be judge at the first annual Taste of Elegance Chefs Food & Beer Competition, and I’ve been invited back again on Tuesday, June 7, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.. The list of competing chefs has been revealed and it includes some of the metro area’s best (Michael Long,  Aria, Denver; Leo Harvey,  Big Game Restaurant and Lounge, Denver; Geoffrey Groditski, The Fort, Morrison; Jean-Luc Voegele,, The Westin Downtown Denver; David Harker and Mario Clapes, Chef De Cuisine The Meritage & Tap Room @ The Omni  Interlocken Resort, Broomfield; David Oliveri, Farradday’s Steakhouse, Isle Casino, Blackhawk ; Jeff Bolton, Second Home Kitchen & Bar, JW Marriott, Denver; Ian Kleinman, The Inventing Room Catering; Robert Corey,  12 Seasons Personal Chef Services; Daniel Asher, TasRoot Down and Linger Denver; Chris Blackwood,  The West End Tavern, Boulder). Earlybird admission is $60 through April 30 or or $75 at the door. Click here to order tickets. It takes place at The Omni  Interlocken Resort, 500 Interlocken Boulevard, Broomfield.
Taste of the Nation Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Denver is the largest and finest culinary benefit supporting the effort to end childhood hunger in Colorado, part of a nationwide effort to support the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger. The tasting event featuring more than 30 of Colorado’s great restaurants, food trucks and carts, cocktail artists, local wineries, and microbreweries takes place on Thursday, June 9, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. Click here for gemeral admission ($75) or VIP tickets. It takes place at Mile High Station, 2027 W. Lower Colfax Ave., Denver.

Food & Wine Classic in AspenI’ve saved the biggest and best for last. “Food & Wine,” as this huge event is called, is the big kahuna of Colorado culinary events. Food & Wine magazine annually introduces its yearly 10 Best New Chefs there, and the celebrity chefs who offer demonstration classes and workshops there seem to have emerged from our television screens. For many star-struck foodies, it is enough to breathe the same air as these celebs. The wine seminars further educate the palates of people who already know a lot about wine. And the trade seminars are run by some of the best restaurateurs and consultants in the land and are attended by others. Food & Wine takes place from Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19. The schedule is a compelling mix of cooking demonstrations, reserve tastings, private events and trade-only seminars. Most wine festivals have one Grand Tasting. Food & Wine in Aspen has four under the biggest of the big tents — and it’s still a challenge to do justice to the hundreds of wines poured by scores of wineries from around the world.They enhance the meaning of the word “grand” in the wine world. Food & Wine is pricey ($1,185 plus $250 for the Best New Chefs dinner), but it is also incomparable and worthwhile for any food lover or wine conoisseur can afford it. Some people attend year after year, while for others, it’s an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Wyoming Brewer’s Festival – If your tastes and/or budget run more to craft beer than fine wines, head to “North Coloado” for the 17th Wyoming Brewer’s Festival. It’s casual and fun, with has been serving the region great fun, quality beer and tasty food, live entertainment and flowing beer. It raises money for community projects. The festival is downtown in the gorgeous Cheyenne Depot Plaza, Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18, 5 p.m. to 12 midnight.The $20 cover includes five tokens to purchase brews. Each additional token is $5 for four brews, or $1.50 each. This is a different event format than previous years. FoMoInfo: 307-432-5395.