Whew! Another Food and Wine Classic in Aspen is in the books…wine-stained as they may be. This year’s three-day sold-out event started for us locals on Thursday, with a very spirited…in more ways than one…luncheon at the Hotel Jerome sponsored by our Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA). Wine journalist, sommelier and author Anthony Giglio spoke briefly about the wines from Spain that coincidentally accompanied our delicious three course lunch, ranging from a rose sparkling to start us off, to a semi-sweet sauterne-like wine to finish us off with cake. The Rioja was my favorite, which washed down a beef tenderloin cooked to perfection. “Spain represents the greatest values for wine right now, ” stated Giglio, adding that Rioja is, “the bordeaux of Spain.”
The highlight of the event was the presenting of the “Molly Cambell Service Award” to Hotel Jerome Tony DiLucia, to acknowledge his ongoing work for the community. Receiving a standing ovation, DiLucia, who recently returned to his home at the Jerome after serving as its GM for fifteen years, was warmly received as the returning hero. So nice to see that you can come home….and be appreciated!
The $10,000 for fireworks that ACRA had pledged to Food & Wine to celebrate its 30th anniversary in Aspen, was re-routed to four charities, including local food bank Lift Up. The pyrotechnic display had to be cancelled due to drought conditions throughout the state. Christina Grdovic, vice president and publisher of Food & Wine, accepted the charitable donations, also thanking the Aspen community, its businesses and volunteers for making the weekend possible. “I say it’s about Aspen. Hands down, we couldn’t do it without you.”
The wine flowed, the food was devoured….and the parties proceeded all weekend long. Lucky locals made it on to lists that permitted them to enjoy events around town day and night even if they didn’t score a pass into the Grand Tasting tent all weekend. I had a wonderful time attending fetes presented by Aspen Magazine, as well as the other two main publications in town, Sojourner and Peak Magazine. Aspen Magazine always starts it off on Wednesday night….this time at the St. Regis. Gail Simmons, food writer and judge on television show “Top Chef”, was the guest of honor, standing out in her chic, little red cocktail dress. Cocktail dress or not, everyone was adorned with multiple cocktails all night long. All I remember is the dangerously addictive expresso martinis that the bartender never stopped making for the duration of the three hour party. I was wide awake for hours!
Speaking of dresses, I love to put on a pretty sundress whether in white or in the palette of colors that abound this summer for occasions such as we had this weekend. It was delightful to see women walking around town in dresses and skirts of all lengths and shades, from micro minis to maxi. I believe in dressing up, as we know, but it must always be appropriate for the time of day, the location and the weather. High heeled platform sandals and pumps only work if you can walk in them. Our cobblestone malls and events that require a lot of walking do not lend themselves to some of our current high fashion footwear and we look silly hobbling around walking on our tiptoes trying to avoid self-destruction.
Also, don’t forget to use a full-length mirror when dressing. If the outfit doesn’t look as good in the back as it does in the front, don’t wear it. These short lengths can be deceiving. From the front, it may look fine, but when you turn around, if the show of legs doesn’t flatter you, it can be a disaster. Dress to your own figure. We have enough trendy styles to flatter every silhouette. Don’t force your figure into something that isn’t for you. Be comfortable and confident and you’ll always be dressed right!
Back to the parties…the Macallan scotch party at Jimmy’s sponsored by Sojourner is always a highlight and a welcome respite from all the wine. When’s the last time you got to imbibe a 15, 18 and 25 year single malt whiskey…all for free? Yummy little meat pies were the perfect hors d’oeuvre for the hearty, smoky libations, combining to waft you away to a Scottish pub, at least in your imagination!
Adding to the illusionary world of Food and Wine, Aspen Magazine hosted a two day rolling party at a multi-millionaire dollar penthouse, atop the formerly beloved Motherlode restaurant. The view alone was worth a million, as we held court sipping cocktails made with Bombay Sapphire gin, overlooking the Food and Wine venue, complete with white billowing tents, reminiscent of Denver Airport, only surpassed by majestic Aspen Mountain, carved with our world famous ski runs….in our lush green hues of summer.
Peak Magazine, not be outdone, hosted a lovely garden party outside in the courtyard of the Hyatt Grand Aspen, featuring wines provided by Carte Blanche winery paired with various courses of appetizers by local chef Alison Richman. The white Rhone accompanying the mini lobster salad sandwiches provided a perfect lunch for this ex Bostonian. A musical performance by talented, young Bella Betts, who played the mandolin, and sweetly sang bluegrass tunes, both traditional and new, added to the relaxing mood of the afternoon, which was a hidden haven tucked away from the maddening crowd a few steps away in the tents.
There were parties going on simultaneously all weekend, a popular one repeating itself from last year at Smuggler Mine on Saturday night. But the culminating evening of the three day event found yours truly at the ever-popular party place….the Sky Hotel…for a raucous late night dance party with a polished cover band from Las Vegas, The Instant Classics, and local favorite DJ Dylan Reagan. Mint juleps served in copper mugs were the drink of the night, and I can assure you that mug never got warm. I had a pile of mint at the bottom of mine, assuring me that I had a very good time! Of course, when I’m dancing I’m always happy…along with eating and drinking! Thank you Food and Wine and Aspen for giving us another great weekend to remember….and recover from!