Aspen Food & Wine Festival has been known to be one of the best food festivals in the world. I have heard about it for years and was beyond ecstatic to have the opportunity to go this year.
Firstly, I want to thank American Express for making my weekend perfection! Amex invited me to spend the weekend at the Amex Platinum House. Truthfully, I could’ve stayed there the entire time. Every meal was made by the famous Chef Stephanie Izard. We enjoyed everything from American classics to delectable Asian cuisine. I enjoyed many afternoons and evenings with friends out on the green rooftop patio eating, drinking and listening to music.
I kicked off the weekend on Friday morning with Soul Cycle at the Amex House and then was treated to a blowout from Dry Bar and a mani from Olive & June. I also ended up with tons of goodies from Glossier, S’well and Rouge. Amex couldn’t have made the experience any more enjoyable. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!
When I did step out of the Amex House, it was either for a Food & Wine seminar or a Grand Tasting. Seminars I attended included “Exotic Mediterranean” with Chef Daniel Boulud, “Bubbles & Bites” with Lexus’ Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy and “American Raw Milk Cheeses” with cheese connoisseur Laura Werlin. I learned so much from the seminars. They were absolutely incredible! While the grand tastings are enjoyable, they are much more of a boozy fest than an educational experience, so I recommend doing a good mix of both the seminars and tastings to ensure you are learning a little too.
While I loved every seminar I attended, I learned the most in the “Bubbles & Bites” seminar hosted by my friend sommelier Carlton McCoy. Carlton happens to be the sommelier who chose the wines for my upcoming wedding. Carlton’s seminar was all about champagne and caviar. How much better can it get?! To read all about what I learned regarding champagnes and proseccos from this seminar, please reference this week’s “Obsession” on the blog. You won’t regret it!
Grand Tastings are what most people think of when they think of Food & Wine Festivals. These tastings include hundreds of vendors in both the food and wine industries that will give you unlimited tastings of whatever they have to offer. It is incredibly fun, but also a bit hectic. It usually leads to tons of drunk people running around everywhere, but if you do take the time to listen to the vendors you can learn a lot. It is also a great way to compare types of wines. I must have tried 20 different roses!
My favorite food vendors at the Grand Tastings included New York’s Milk Bar “Cereal & Milk” ice cream and “Bagel Balls”, Patron boozy pop-cycles, Aria‘s french toast and Urbani’s truffle gnocchi. My favorite drinks included Barre to Bar‘s “Releve Rose” which was a mixed drink of Prairie organic vodka, sparkling rose, lychee juice, lemon juice and goji berry green tea. I will definitely be making this drink at home! I also loved Benovia La Pommeraie Pinot Noir and Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol Rose. Both of these wines were new to me. One of the best things about Food & Wine is that you discover so many new things!
I enjoyed the weekend with family and friends which is the best way to do a Food & Wine Festival. I recommend having a few people sign up with you because not everyone will want to do everything, but sharing each experience with at least one other person makes it even better. Also, do not miss out on late night parties! Amex House hosted one on Saturday night that was a blast, but there were many others all around town. It is a great way to check out local Aspen spots.
I can officially say that Food & Wine is one of the best weekends of the year in Aspen. I would tell anyone I know to try it out. Hope to see you there next year!
*Fashion: White Top & Black Top – Noble 31