The annual FOOD & WINE Classic (June 14-16) is undoubtedly Aspen’s tastiest… and toughest ticket of the summer. Now in its 37th year, more than 5,000 foodies will descend upon the downtown core to indulge in the three-day culinary celebration. The Grand Tasting Pavilion is the epicenter of the festival, with endless food and wine tastings, while lively cooking demonstrations, interactive seminars and panel discussions are held at additional venues. Snowmass Village plays host to a tour stop from Cochon555, an ongoing series of authentic, hyper-local food events in 15 cities across the country focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs. It is unaffiliated with the Classic, but is always a cornerstone of the weekend. The Food & Wine Classic pass has a $1,700 price tag and access is exclusive. But, if you’re a local sans pass or decide on a last-minute weekend getaway, you can still be a part of the action with open-to-the-public events added into the mix of other unofficial festivities. Here are five ways to Food & Wine without a pass:
Heitz Cellar Legacy Dinner
Friday, June 14, 7 p.m., Element 47 at The Little Nell
This evening brings a trio of wine industry titans together for a meal not-to-be-missed. It includes the return of former Little Nell Wine Director Carlton McCoy, in his new role as the CEO of Heitz Cellar, joined by the estate’s winemaker, Brittany Sherwood. Together, they will guide guests on a journey through the decades of the classic wines of Heitz Legacy Collection and share details about the history of The Heitz Cellar, which was founded in 1961 by Joe Heitz whose objective was to make California’s most elegant, well balanced and pure Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. The evening will be anchored by a seasonal tasting menu from Element 47’s executive chef Matt Zubrod. $1,200, thelittlenell.com
Thursday, June 13, 6:30–8:30 p.m., Snowmass Base Village
The annual Snowmass Free Concert Series has again teamed up with Cochon555 for an ultimate al fresco evening on Fanny Hill to kick-off Food and Wine Classic festivities. Pairing musical guests SEE-I Reggae Funkmasters with culinary experiences curated by the dynamic team behind Heritage Fire. Nationally-acclaimed chefs along with local all-stars, Kyle Wilkins of Home Team BBQ and Michael Coco of Snowmass Tourism, will be loading up wood-fired grills with heritage breed sausages paired with artisanal wines and hand-crafted cocktails from El Tesoro Tequila and Courvoisier. $40 wristband (all-inclusive), free (music only), cochon555.com
Food & Wine Classic 5K Charity Race
Friday, June 14, 7:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m., Rio Grande Park
Earn those extra calories for later during this early morning jaunt through downtown Aspen with your favorite foodies. Proceeds from registration benefit both the Jacques Pépin Foundation and Wholesome Wave, the national non-profit dedicated to supporting small and midsize farms, and making fresh, healthy, locally grown produce available to underserved communities. This year’s fun run is hosted by chefs Richard Blais, Stephanie Izard, and Michel Nischan. $35 (advance), $45 (on site), foodandwine.com
Saturday, June 15, 4:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m., Snowmass Base Village
This epic live-fire feast showcases local pitmasters Andrew Helsley (Aspen Skiing Company), Jim Butchart (Aspen Skiing Company), Eddy Chimal (Venga Venga), Alberto Figueroa (Viceroy Snowmass), Kyle Wilkins (Home Team BBQ), Jason DeBacker (The Edge Restaurant) and Dan Foster (Westin Snowmass) along with more than 50 notable others chefs and butchers who go nose to tail on 3,500 pounds of heritage breed meats en plein-air with plenty of wine and cocktails to wash it all down. $150 (general admission), $200 (VIP), cochon555.com
Farewell Feast: Best New Restaurants
Sunday, June 16, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., Hotel Jerome
Each year, Food & Wine editors embark on an epic year-long road trip, traveling the country in search of America’s most exciting, important and delicious new restaurants. The July 2019 issue of Food & Wine officially reveals the exceptional list, but this culmination of the festival will welcome the winning chefs themselves to offer up a once-in-a-lifetime walk-around tasting for guests—all at the historic Hotel Jerome. $150, foodandwine.com
For the complete schedule, visit: classic.foodandwine.com and cochon555.com and follow all of the action on social media @foodandwine / #fwclassic and @cochon555 / #heritagefire. For lucky pass-holders, don’t forget to download the official Food & Wine Classic app to help you navigate the tents.
Blog Credit to Katie Shapiro, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's Elevated Living Blog
Aspen is an adventurous place with incredible surroundings and an active community. Our alpine community is chock-full of wilderness, world class hiking, and biking. However, every so often you need some motivation for that last trek up the mountain or push up the hill. If conveniently placed, local taverns and restaurants can be the perfect source of that motivation. Here are a few hideaways to help you earn that greasy burger and ice-cold brew.
Hike to the top of Aspen Mountain. Take switchbacks or the steep face up to find incredible views, giant chess, frisbee golf, ping-pong, and the famous Sundeck. Feed camp robber birds french fries from your hand, while surrounded by a beautiful mountainous view. It is a somewhat challenging hike that can take up to 3 hours, but the spectacular views, games, cold drinks, music and good food make it worthwhile. Don't miss live music on the weekends.
For the cyclists, there is a simple ride to the Woody Creek Tavern. A bar made famous by the legendary local writer Hunter S. Thompson, and his mad run for Mayor of Aspen. It is a simple casual ride that is about 4 miles down the Rio Grand Trail. Today, the restaurant offers a mix of American and Mexican influenced dishes and is ideal for an icy margarita on a sunny day.
Lastly for those looking for a challenge, consider riding the distance to the Pine Creek Cook House at Ashcroft. A stunning mountain dining experience complete with spectacular views of the Elk Mountain Ridge, and gourmet lunches and dinners.
Enjoy our beautiful summer while it lasts and take advantage of the plethora of outdoor activities, refreshing drinks, and fantastic food.