Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

16 Jul 2014

Now several weeks removed from the Food & Wine Classic, I still find myself daydreaming on what seemed like a weekend long frenzied reverie filled with gastronomical delights and libations.  The festival was held in the heart of the snow-capped mountains of Colorado, in the idyllic and historic town of Aspen.  It was a swirling whirlwind sensation filled with impassioned food enthusiasts, great eats and tons and tons and TONS of alcohol.

Everywhere you went, you were surrounded by people, and if the genuine interest in food and wine didn’t pull you in- the sheer grandeur of your scenery was enough to leave you breathless.  Then there were your culinary idols- celebrity chefs, TV personalities, mixologists, sommeliers, and food bloggers- all there learning and teaching and absorbing and curating.  Chefs Andrew Zimmern and Ming Tsai gave such delightful, eye-opening seminars which taught audience-members new cooking techniques, peppered with their wit and humor.  James Beard award winners, Michelin-Star rated, Top Chef contenders, for all their prestige and formality of their cuisine can be seen in jeans, doing tequila shots and eating crazy-good finger foods in the shadow of Ajax mountain.  It was a weekend long celebration of food- and no matter where you were from and what you did, for that weekend at least, the only thing that mattered was that you enjoyed eating.

To be quite frank, there was something demonstrably excessive about the whole affair.  With luxury liquor brands sponsoring the after parties, it got downright bacchanal.  Food was abundant, decadent and delicious.  All the while, you’re surrounded by such transcendent beauty with mountain air so crisp you can taste its sweetness.  Stars filled the night sky that it glistened against the still water.  It was all so much.  It was a continued onslaught of sensation- that insisted on delighting your every move.  And to top it all off- you celebrated the peak of the festival on a mountain top so high that you were literally among the clouds.  It felt like you were part of some sort of Greek festival that celebrated Dionysus.  If such mythological gatherings still existed – this festival may be a close contender.   The Food & Wine Classic was an all-out celebration of all the tangible luxuries of life, and if you had one festival to indulge in every year- this was the way to celebrate.

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