While Jen’s eldest son was taking names at the Kids Adventure Games Race in Vail, Colorado, my date-worthy sidekick and I arrived in good spirits to the Beaver Creek Wine and Spirits Festival. The night was (not) dark and (not) full of terrors - sorry Game of Thrones devotees. The splendid weather was enjoyed by a hundred or so people in a large tented outdoor tasting arena with tables of restaurant-provided food and wine and spirits from vineyards and distilleries; this night was aptly called the Grand Tasting.
Saddle Ridge served a pretty-suited chilled corn soup with coconut milk and butter-poached lobster. It was a light balance of earthy, sweet and rich.
Toscanini showcased a crispy boar shank with roasted baby carrots, smooth polenta and a green harissa dressing topped with micro greens.
And, Beano's Cabin's Chef Kevin Erving offered a chilled gazpacho with dungeness crab, cilantro and a tortilla chip. The night was off to a superb start!
Mirabelle might have been the belle of the ball with Daniel Jolie's confit organic chicken with a hint of lemon and a hearty mushroom sauce. The confit chicken melted in my mouth, almost indicative of a pate. This presentation was so fitting for Mirabelle; even in an open-air tasting venue, the luxuriousness and formality of Daniel Jolie's creations was apparent.
Rocky Mountain Raclette, a new catering company will bring their raclette equipment to your abode and make the most creative dish for you and your lucky guests - swiss cheese heated with a potato, prosciutto and cornichon. Besides a sea urchin dish served at Taste of Vail a few years ago, this unveiling may be the most memorable dish I've had at a Grand Tasting!
The theme of the night might have been to display a culinary creation on a tostada, tortilla or nacho chip - no negative judgement by me, that's for sure. The newly opened Met Kitchen presented a seared ahi tuna nacho with an avocado wedge beautifully adorned with balsamic reduction and Sriracha mayo.
Coyote Cafe gave guests a carnitas street taco where the pulled pork was served on a small flour tortilla with pickled red onions, a crunchy coleslaw and crumbles of cotija cheese.
8100 did not disappoint with a Colorado lamb tostada! The lamb was paired with a tangy avocado crema, sweet corn, a touch of spice with a thinly sliced red chili pepper and fresh micro greens on a perfectly crunchy tostada.
The wine and cocktails were pouring like a midwestern rainstorm! Peach Street Distillers out of Palisade, Colorado made a refreshing blackberry, basil, lemonade with their Goat Artisan Vodka.
The 808 Distillery's June Creek Gin did not have a extreme juniper forward taste, suiting my palette perfectly. And, 808 made a Grapefruit Gin cocktail, much like the Grapefruit Gin Gin that will be introduced in the Ski Town Brunch cookbook by The Breakfast Club Etc. outside Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, New York.
Breckenridge Distillery offered a unique take on an Old Fashioned - the cocktail was smoked in a small oak barrel and was truly a taste of a campfire I'd have at a BBQ anytime. Towards the end of the evening, Breckenridge Distillery pulled out the blender and started making Pina Coladas - a delicious end of the night to leave us full of spirits.
To end the evening, sweets were a must! Hooked had the most surprising blue cheese and dark chocolate truffle with a Colorado honey comb maldon salt served on a stick (reminiscent of the Minnesota State Fair's food-on-a-stick theme, but the taste was like nothing I had ever relished at a state fair).
The juxtaposed fresh mint and rich chocolate in the mint chocolate cupcakes by Batter Cupcakes were light and fluffy and utterly decadent.
And, oh my deliciousness with the selection of Rimini Gelato chocolate bonbons - tropical fruit, Sicilian pistachio, banana rum, Tahitian vanilla, raspberry caramel, salted caramel, hazelnut, single origin dark chocolate, and Italian espresso. I felt the luck of the Irish upon being sent home with a box sampling each flavor! But, alas, imagine who devoured these delicacies - the three Iverson boys awaiting our return!
What a way to end the weekend of culinary events and celebrate the calm before the back-to-school storm but never fear the school SPIRIT is alive and well in our Ski Town Life!