Each June, top chefs, wine experts and food lovers convene in Aspen, Colorado, for one of the most extravagant four-day festivals in the country. This year marks the 35th gathering (June 16 to 18) of the Food & Wine magazine-hosted event.
While the gist is the same — top-notch wine, bites and cooking demos — you can expect some new pizzazz added to the gorgeous scenery. Your cup will overflow with delicious experiences.
What To Know
The Food & Wine Classic has been a staple in Aspen for more than three decades with more chefs and events added annually. Keep your eye out for celebrity personalities such as Hugh Acheson, Richard Blais, Carla Hall, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi and Daniel Boulud.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it all. In fact, with 80-plus seminars, tastings, private parties and brands hosting fetes all around Aspen, it’s impossible to hit everything. Just pick your favorites and enjoy the celebration, the town and the crisp mountain air.
Where To Go
Without a doubt the tasting tents are the highlight of the festival and a good way to try lots of wine, booze and bites from purveyors around the country. Plus, the 2017 Food & Wine Best New Chefs will cook up their specialties there.
If you’re wondering what to do during the gap times, fret not — there are talks and demonstrations, such as Ample Hills Creamery: Every Story Has a Flavor, which will take place on June 16. Not only will the creamery chat about the iconic dessert, but the New York City-based shop will also create an anniversary ice cream flavor to commemorate the occasion in addition to a special flavor for each of the chefs on the panel.
This year, Emirates airline is a sponsor and will be hosting multiple events, including a Dubai in the Sky-themed anniversary party at the top of Aspen Mountain on June 16.
Another celebration not to miss is the annual late-night shindig at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Little Nell’s Chair 9, hosted by Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot on June 15 and 16. Expect a lot of bubbles being passed around as the DJ spins with electric violinist Kat V.
During the daylight hours, cool off with happy hour at Jimmy’s Bodega, where the hip restaurant has partnered with Ford’s Gin to host an outdoor gin-and-tonic bar. On June 16 and 17, get your complimentary craft drink from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
To wrap up the weekend, on June 18, head to the Farewell Feast: A Bubbly Brunch at the Four-Star Hotel Jerome. The gastro gathering will feature delicious dishes from celebrity chefs like L.A.’s Alvin Cailin of Eggslut fame, dessert king Johnny Iuzzini and an array of sparkling wine cocktails by Mionetto.
Where To Stay
At this late juncture, most of the hotels are fully booked, but we got the intel that Aspen Meadows Resort still has a Food & Wine stay-and-play package available. Each three-day booking (for June 16, 17 and 18) secures a room and festival passes, which, at this point, are also hard to come by.
We also have it on good authority that many of the celebrity chefs stay at Four-Star The St. Regis Aspen Resort when they’re in town for the festival, so grab a cup of coffee or glass of sparkling wine in the lobby and you’ll likely run into someone famous.