5,000 guests and 276 exhibitors converged on Aspen for the 29th Food and Wine Classic. Beautiful tents were lofted into the air against a backdrop of gorgeous mountains, still laced with snow.
Over 171 wineries were represented, as well as 51 food, restaurant, and culinary purveyors, 23 spirits brands, and 6 beer brands. The beer brands were Ommegang, Anchor, Guinness, Stella, Hoegaarden, and Leffe.
Some of the more well known chefs in attendance included Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s Gastropub, Wash. DC., Jose Andres, James Beard Award winning chef and head of ThinkFoodGroup in DC; Daniel Boulud of Daniel, Café Boulud and DBBG Café; Mario Batalli of Babbo, Eataly Andrew Zimmern host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods; Tom Colicchio of Gotham, Craft and Colicchio and Sons; Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Bouchon, Ad Hoc, and Per Se; Danny Meyer of Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, and The Modern; and Jonathon Waxman of Chez Panisse and Barbuto.
Ommegang and Chef Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s Gastropub in Washington DC paired Ommegang ales with Italian Amarena cherries soaked in kirsch and griddled Bread Cheese from Carr Valley, Wisconsin.(Below: Teddy Folkman)
Over three days and five sessions we served several thousand Food and Wine patrons and knocked their socks off. The most common comments we heard was, “our friends told us we just had to come try your pairings”. And, “wow that’s an amazing combination. (Below: customers trying out the pairing)
The Abbey ale and the cherries sang, while the cheese was salty and luscious and griddled to a perfect golden brown. The booziness of the ale cut through the fat and salt of the cheese while the sweet malt and spices of the Abbey accentuated the flavor of the cherries. A second sip allowed for the carbonation of the dubbel to cleanse the palette leaving the consumer wanting more.
Marnie Old, sommelier, writer, and wine and beer comparer par excellence, did a comparative tasting at Pittman County Steak House, with Abbey ale and a good red. It must have worked because the beverage manager is now putting Abbey on the beer list. (Marnie, below)
Kim Anderson, our regional distributor rep for Empire Distributing was a huge presence, talking to consumers at the F&W events, serving the beer and food pairing, and taking us around town for other events, including an Ommegang flight and charcuterie pairing evening at BB’s Kitchen in downtown Aspen on Saturday night. (Below, Kim at right.)
We also spent some time hobnobbing with the chefs putting on the Grand Cochon “Ten Chefs, Ten Pigs, One Crown” cook-off on Sunday at the historic Jerome Hotel in downtown Aspen. Santa Rosa’s Zazu took the prize for chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart. The winners won the crown and golden pig pictured below, with their pork bun constructed with bits of head, heart, and neck. A fried trotter looked more like fried green tomatoes, but revealed the tender meat upon cracking the golden crust. Is that a bit of Belgian waffle in the left of the frame?