Aspen Food & Wine Classic
It’s been over a month since we’ve returned home from the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. And it’s taken me that long to process how amazing this experience was. If the Aspen Food & Wine Classic is not on your bucket list, put it on there (immediately).
Up until about six months ago I hadn’t even heard of this event (and I consider myself a Food and Wine lover). Now perhaps it’s my southern geographic location or that I tend to get “stuck” on things and become a habitual event attendee…whatever the reason… unacceptable. This event is AH-Mazing.
So here’s the skinny… (and it’s the only thing skinny about this event).
The Aspen Food & Wine Classic is one of the most regarded and prestigious wine and food festivals in the world. Tickets sell out fast. Like, “Taylor Swift concert tickets” fast so you’ve got to mark your calendars for December in order to score some tickets. And they aren’t cheap. So you better get Santa buttered up while you’re at it. ($1550/person for a consumer pass)
The event kicks off Thursday evening and lasts until early afternoon on Sunday. If you can plan to make it all four days, it’s worth it. If you want to narrow it down, Friday and Saturday are not to be missed.
What makes the Classic so special is the prestige that it carries. Not only do the top brands and liquors and vineyards show up to transform giant tents into a real life Willy Wonka fairy tale, but some of the best chefs in the world are there as well. They teach classes throughout the day in an intimate setting and in some cases you get to ask questions, act as their sous chef and taste their food. It is as awesome as it sounds.
You'll spend the day bouncing back and forth from the tasting tents (giant tents with every kind of wine from Napa and around the world to taste and the yummiest appetizers to try) then hurry into a class about how to pair popcorn with champagne and then back to the tasting tents where this time you might hang out at the Patrón hacienda and have a grapefruit margarita popsicle and take some selfies with your friends. Wash. Rinse. Repeat… for four days. You get the idea.
Important tip for first timers: book the classes! The tasting tents close during the education sessions so if you don’t book a class you will just be wandering around like a lost pup waiting for the tasting tent to open again. Here is a link to the schedule from this year so you can get an idea of what the days looked like and what kind of classes were offered.
The classic is located in a very condensed section of downtown Aspen, Colorado. Have ya been to Aspen? If the answer is no? Then go! Especially in the summer. We just couldn’t get enough of the clear blue sky and the mountains that nearly touched the sun.
The town is sleepy and quaint. While you are there check out the local coffee shops and delis (ink! Coffee and Grateful Deli were two of my favs). Or just stumble down to the lobby of the St. Regis like I did on the daily for your cup of joe.
And on Saturday morning if you are looking for some extra circular activities … check out the amazing Farmer’s Market or some high end shopping (Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi, and on and on).
But back to the good stuff… The Food & Wine Classic is all within walking distance so no need for a car. Just arrange for transportation from airport and you’ll be good to go for the weekend.
As far as accommodations you cannot go wrong with the St. Regis. Luxury at its finest. Big entry fireplace, killer lobby bar and every room comes with fluffy robes and its own humidifier. But perhaps my favorite part was the milk on ice and chocolate chip cookies waiting in our room after dinner. (I’m a St. Regis fan for life)
Some rooms have fireplaces; some have full walk out patios so make sure you book early to get your preference of “extras”. Some of the sessions are even held in the ballrooms of the St. Regis so it makes it very convenient to make it to your early morning cooking class if you are just an elevator ride away.
The Classic is held annually, during the second week of June. It was created to draw tourist during the summer since Aspen is such a “Ski Town”. The 2017 Classic will be held June 16-18.
The Grand Tasting ends at 6:15 nightly so you do have some flexibility with your evenings. That is if you can physically put anything else in your stomach. We got roped into going to a “Speakeasy Party” that was just down the road in Snowmass. BIG MISTAKE. There is no need to leave downtown Aspen. There are plenty of things going on right outside your door. If you have an American Express you will want to check with their travel concierge because there was one party we could only get into by booking with our Amex.
Also wear comfortable flat shoes! You will be walking a lot and in grass. I would even discourage wedges. Go for flats or flops (fancy of course) and make sure you bring a crossbody purse. You will have to carry a wine glass and a ton of little plates in the tasting tents so keep your hands free for food and wine!
For More Information:
Follow Aspen Food & Wine Classic on Facebook HERE. #Cheers