Aspen Insider: 2016 Food and Wine Classic
Today marks the opening day for the 2016 Aspen Food and Wine Classic brimming with cooking demos, seminars and grand tastings, not to mention rubbing elbows with some of the most respected names in the industry. In it’s 31st year, the Classic is a cherished event, bringing the culinary world together to learn and to celebrate within Aspen’s intimate, distinctive hamlet.
What makes us expect that this year’s Food and Wine Classic has inspired an exceptional weekend beyond any other? While the general recipe of the Classic remains preserved from year to year, this year introduces some major and minor tweaks to the usual formula.
The Big Cheese
One of the most notable changes in 2016 is the passing of the wand to a new Food and Wine Magazine and the Classic torchbearer. After her 21 year run, Food and Wine editor, Dana Cowin has moved on as Chief Creative Officer for Chefs Club International.
Aspen Sojourner recently had a chance to chat with the longtime Food & Wine editor-in-chief, getting the skinny on her 21-year experience presiding over the event. Her advice to Classic first-timers:
Look at the entire program at once and make your choices. Don’t pick section by section each day, because you might realize later that the chef you really wanted to see only did one demo. For wine seminars, pick something you think you’d never be interested in. One of the great things about the Classic is discovery, and it’s a perfect opportunity to learn.
Cowin’s successor, Nilou Motamed, takes a down-to-earth approach to all things culinary, which includes the Classic. Based on a recent Aspen Times article, Motamed’s drive for culinary excellence started early on.
Growing up in Iran in a culture that’s all about food and family gatherings around food — I think there’s a similarity looking at Italian culture or Israeli culture or Iranian culture — the focus of our gatherings is celebrating and feeding each other, often overfeeding. That has made me realize how important food — and whole food — is and how valuable it is to have a connection to the food that you serve your family.
We welcome Motamed’s energy to this well attended Aspen event!
The Classic Experience
We love the tips offered in this Forbes blog posting, especially inside info on not-to-be-missed reserve tastings and seminars. It inspired us to create our own list of things to think about as you plan your experience.
Keep the Pace – High altitude and “thin air” can have an adverse effect on many even when not consuming alcohol. Be sure to drink lots of water and watch how much you imbibe.
Emphasize comfort – In between seminars and seated events, be sure you have chosen shoes for lots of walking around in grassy areas and along the tricky brick pedestrian mall. Dress in layers that can keep you warm in the brisk evening air preceded by hot sunny days.
Choose Local Eateries – Aspen is host to a great selection of locally celebrated culinary artists. Make reservations early to enjoy the talents of our best since town is reportedly at 100% capacity.
Come Early/Stay Longer – For a great selection of luxury rental options for your stay, consider a luxury rental from Palladium Properties. We are eager to make your stay memorable and convenient.
Added Special Events
Pop up and ticketed events are becoming the norm at the Classic. Consider Houston’s Justin Yu, Blackberry Farm’s Southern Supper, or a charity 5K. If you haven’t secured a ticket but find yourself in the area during the event, you can consider filtering into several of these options, provided by Aspen Sojourner.
This year, Palladium Properties is a proud sponsor of the VIP Party Aspen Chefs House, a private home event featuring with Susie Jimenez & Scott Leysath.
One of the top culinary events nationwide, Food and Wine Classic at Aspen is a great way to experience what we love about the Aspen lifestyle. Contact our professionals to start planning for your Classic, or summer or winter visit for 2017!