Summer – uncorked
Ah, summer, when a young woman’s fancy turns to thoughts of food …At least this young woman. Sure, it’s bikini season, but it’s also festival season, and to me, the food and wine events being held across the state are more delectable than spending hours in a dressing room trying on millions of bathing suits.From lobsters to peaches to a wellspring of wine, plus an alpine food extravaganza with top-name chefs, my plate is full of eating and drinking adventures.For starters, there’s the Chili Pepper & Brew Fest in Snowmass this weekend (Friday through Sunday), featuring live music, chili cookoffs and beer tastings. The International Chili Society holds its two regional chili competitions and tastings, while microbrewers will compete in a summer ale contest. There’s also a local cook-off and a home brew contest. Performers such as Medeski, Martin and Wood and Sean Costello will be rockin’ while people chug and chow down. With all the spicy food and brew, bring some back-up Maalox.One of the biggest and most renowned of all Colorado food festivals is just one weekend later: The Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, June 16-18. Foodies from across the nation flock to this annual event, featuring famous chefs such as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck, and top sommeliers imparting their knowledge of the vine. I’m excited – or should I say, wired – about the Starbucks coffee pairing event and I can’t wait to see what they cook up at the Best New Chefs dinner. And maybe I’ll meet Jamie Lynn Sigler (who plays Meadow on the Sopranos), who will supposedly be shaking martinis for Cointreau.The next weekend, June 22-25, brings another biggie, the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival. This year will bring a Special Reserve Tasting Program, poured and discussed by the people who made them. Some of the wines featured during the festival’s four Special Reserve Tastings are worth $400 or $500 a bottle, or more. Wine experts on hand at the festival include Richard Betts, master sommelier and wine director at Aspen’s Little Nell Hotel; Doug Frost, author and one of only three people in the world to become both master sommelier and master of wine; and sommelier Bobby Stuckey, from the award-winning Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder. And the cuisine is sure to match the wine – Vitaly Paley, recognized as best chef in the Northwest by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, will lead a cooking seminar on Friday afternoon, and Ana Sortun, recognized as best chef in the Northeast in 2005, will hold a cooking seminar on Saturday afternoon. Also on Saturday, there is a chocolate truffles and wine seminar (be still my heart!), and throughout the festival there are winemaker’s dinners and luncheons, featuring top chefs and outstanding wines. If you’re sticking around town June 23-24, chow down on fresh Maine lobster flown in from Maine at the famous Carbondale Music and Lobster Fest. It’s a rousing good time, featuring around 20 local bands and 30 solo performers during the event.The list of food and wine (and beer) festivals on tap for this summer goes on and on, from the Steamboat Wine Festival Aug. 3-6 to the 15th anniversary Colorado Mountain Winefest in Grand Junction, in September. And for a delicious end to the summer, the Taste of Denver goes on all Labor Day weekend.It’s impossible to list every event, much less attend every single one. So pick some of your favorites and experience Colorado through food. I’ve already got my fork in hand.Besides, I don’t need to spend any time in a dressing room. I’ve already got my bikini.Gabrielle Devenish is the food editor at the Post Independent. She can’t wait to meet Emeril Lagasse at the Aspen Food and Wine classic. Bam! Contact her at (970) 945-8515, ext. 535, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Eat, drink and be merryA few of the food, wine and beer events being held this summer:- Chili Pepper & Brew Fest, June 9-11, Snowmass, http://www.snowmasschiliandbrew.com- Taste of Fort Collins, June 10, Fort Collins, http://www.tasteoffortcollins.com- Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, June 16-18, Aspen, http://www.foodandwine.com/ext/classic- 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25, Telluride, http://www.telluridewinefestival.com- 13th annual Colorado BBQ Challenge, June 23-24, Frisco, http://www.townoffrisco.com- Carbondale Music and Lobster Fest, June 23-24, Carbondale, http://www.carbondale.com- Beaver Creek and Bon Appetit Outdoor Culinary Festival, June 24-25, Beaver Creek, http://www.beavercreek.com- Castle Rock Wine Fest, Castle Rock, July 21-22, http://www.castlerockwinefest.com- Breckenridge Brew Festival, July 22-23, Breckenridge, http://www.breckenridgesnow.com- Steamboat Wine Festival, Aug. 3-6, Steamboat Springs, http://www.mtn-resorts.com/2006-winefest- Olathe Sweet Corn Festival, Aug. 4-5, Olathe, http://www.olathesweetcornfest.com- Bluegrass and Beer Festival, Aug. 5, Keystone – 20th Annual Rocky Mountain Wine, Beer & Food Festival, Aug. 5, Winter Park, (970) 726-4118, http://www.skiwinterpark.com- Crested Butte Wild Mushroom Festival, Aug. 17-20, Crested Butte, cbmushfest.com- Palisade Peach Festival, Aug. 18-19, Palisade, http://www.palisadepeachfest.com- Wine, Jazz & Art Festival, Aug. 26-27, Keystone- Taste of Colorado, Denver, Sept. 1-4 (Labor Day weekend), http://www.atasteofcolorado.com- Oktoberfest, Breckenridge, Sept. 15-17, http://www.breckenridge.snow.com- 15th annual Colorado Mountain Wine Festival, Sept. 20-22, Grand Junction/Palisade, http://www.coloradowinefest.com- And look for the 17th annual Taste of Vail in spring 2007Chicken breasts with garlic and parsleyThis recipe, by Jacques Pépin, was featured at the 2005 Food and Wine Classic.3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound, 6 ounces), cut into 1- to 1-1/2-inch cubes 2 tablespoons Wondra flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons good olive oil 1 tablespoons chopped garlic 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 lemon, quartered Dry the chicken cubes with paper towels and toss them with the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat the oil in a12-inch skillet until very hot but not smoking. Add the chicken cubes and cook in one layer turning occasionally, for about 3 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the butter and the parsley mixture to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute longer, shaking the skillet occasionally to coat the chicken. Divide among 4 plates, add a wedge of lemon to each plate and serve within 15 minutes.Serves 4.- Jacques Pépin
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Loud shots from a shiny revolver serenaded the surrounding rocks and mesas as Alex Crawford cautiously approached a group of guys doing target practice at Hubbard Mesa.