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 Winefest – The 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 Aspen –
I’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.