Apr 232011

Enticed by all things food and wine?

Then join some of the world’s most recognized culinary luminaries and wine impresarios for a three-day weekend of food, wine, and fun at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. 

There are food events and then there is the food event: an annual gathering of preeminent wine gurus and culinary luminaries in the Colorado Rockies known as the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Sounds fancy, yes. Maybe that’s because the all-star event is hosted in an exclusive winter playground for the rich and famous. But this year you might find access a bit easier, thanks to lower ticket prices. In previous years, visitors had to purchase a full-weekend pass that topped $1,100. Tickets for this year’s Classic events — held June 17-19 — will be sold à la carte. That means day-trippers can score individual tickets to insider events like the Grand Tasting and — most coveted of all — the Food & Wine Best New Chef Dinner. Purchase tickets for all the food-filled festivities on the official site.

Planning the Weekend

Wondering what events you should attend? That all depends on your personality.

The Chef-in-Training: Want to learn how to mix it up like the best of them? Sit in on master mixologist class. Learn the power of salt with a charismatic chef. Or let an Iron Chef guide you through “Japanese Knife Techniques.” You can do it all and for less than it costs to enroll in culinary school.

The Wine Geek: The Classic, as the insiders call it, offers a lot of opportunities to sneak a sip from wine cellars’ rarest bottles. If that sounds inviting, make your way to the seminar on France’s preeminent Châteauneuf du Pape and two decades of Dom Pérignon. Or you could tour Lewis Cellars to try its limited productions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Celeb Chef Groupie: There’s Tom! And Mario! And Giada! When they are not on stage — check out Mario Batali’s demonstration of Ligurian cooking — you can hobnob with the stars on the mountain. Track them down in the main tent at the Grand Tasting. Watch them go hog wild at the Grand Cochon — a head-to-toe heritage pig competition. Top Chef fans should’t miss the showdown of all showdowns: the Classic Quickfire pitting Top Chef Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio against Top Chef Masters champion Chef Rick Bayless.

Around Aspen

Once you’ve had enough partying, take in the scenery while nursing a drink poolside at The Viceroy atop Snowmass. Be sure to burn some of those calories by taking a hike up the mountain. When you’ve worked up your appetite again, saddle up to the bar at N9NE Steakhouse for its outstanding bacon-Kobe burger topped with caramelized onion and tucked in a buttery brioche bun. Now, that’s good living.

Post By Kiri Tannenbaum; Photo Credit FOOD & WINE Classic/Perry Johnson

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