The ticket price is high by food festival standards (the average flat fee is US$1400), yet the event quickly sells out three months in advance. And for good reason too.
Aspen Food and Wine Classic continues to attract a blend of high profile chefs and major food fans each year. Organisers are well versed in taking care of the bon vivant’s wishes and whims, conjuring up a woozy weekend of eating, drinking and learning from celebrity cooks.
Past appearances have included Marcus Samuelsson, Thomas Keller, David Chang and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi. The event has a long history embracing the people who are leading the world of food and have continued to attract star talent as a result.
The experience for the committed foodie is further heightened when considering the setting. Aspen sits in a relatively isolated position at 2400 metres above sea level, surrounded by six 4300 metre peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Expect to be sipping fine wines all weekend long in a beautiful high-altitude setting, all the while sampling the creations of those known for their edible magic.
This is not an event for half-interested day-trippers, rather it’s for committed foodies who are prepared to base themselves in the mountains for a few nights and soak up the atmosphere that only ‘The Classic’ can muster.
WORDS OF WISDOM
- The most direct access is via Aspen Pitkin County Airport. A hotel shuttle or the Roaring Fork Transit bus service will then deliver passengers to downtown Aspen. For greater flight flexibility, fly into Denver International Airport, pick up a rental car and drive four hours from Denver to Aspen.
- Stay out at night. While day activities entail seminars, workshops and more focussed tastings, the evenings are known to offer plenty of fun in the form of parties, off-duty chefs and impromptu parties which last until the early hours.
- Venture out of the event tents. Spend a day hiking the Maroon Bells, found 16 kilometres out of town. Alternatively, Belly Up Aspen, the town’s best music venue, has a solid lineup of acts in and around The Classic.
- Stop by Pitkin County Dry Goods for style updates that are so very Aspen. Don’t be deceived by its rustic name, the store stocks designer labels L’Agence, Thakoon Addition, Elizabeth and James, Rag & Bone and Zegna.