Ahoy from the gorgeous/historic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs (just minutes from BoardingArea Headquarters!) where I’ll be reporting live from the inaugural Taste & Savor event all weekend. Food Festivals are a dime a dozen these days — well, actually more like $150 each on average — but the Broadmoor has taken the idea of a food festival and turned it into an educational weekend full of seminars with great chefs, themed dinners, a pre-Prohibition era cocktail brunch, and a grand tasting to unite all the talent in for the weekend in one place. I, for one, am extremely excited and very thankful to the Broadmoor for bringing me out and hosting me for the weekend in snowy Colorado.
The caliber of chefs and beverage experts here is pretty remarkable and it’s important to note that both local Colorado talent is featured alongside national names. Curtis Duffy from Grace in Chicago just earned three stars from the Michelin Guide while Jessica Koslow of LA’s SQIRL has been garnering rave reviews and massive coverage in magazines like Bon Appetit. Top Chef Master contestant Suzanne Tracht and Top Chef contestant Kelly Liken are both here as well as Shawn McClain, who won Esquire’s Restaurant of the Year award with Spring in Chicago (and now Las Vegas, too).
On the liquid side of things, local bar hero Sean Kenyon of Denver’s award-winning Williams and Graham is here after winning the Bartender of the Year award along with TV staple Tony Abou-Ganim, who’s constructing the cocktails for that boozy brunch on Sunday. Christina Perozzi, one of the famed “Beer Chicks,” is hosting a Colorado Microbrew dinner tonight, and every one of the invited chefs and beverage pros are leading seminars throughout today and tomorrow that range from throwing the perfect cocktail party to making sheep’s milk cheese for pasta to turning vegetables into the stars of any meal.
While most food festivals that I attend seem to focus on one grand tasting where every chef/mixologist prepares a small plate version of one of their signature dishes, I love how the Broadmoor has turned the idea of a food festival into a food weekend-long event. I’m going to take those classes, go to those themed dinners (I’m scheduled for a Southern Heritage Dinner starring my good friend Maker’s Mark tonight), and definitely hit up the grand tasting. Instead of just one big gut-buster of a night, I’m going to learn something this weekend and that makes me really excited.
Last night, we kicked things off in the Broadmoor’s upscale New American restaurant Summit where I stuffed my face with housemade charcuterie, cheeses, Caesar salad, and a breakfast-for-dinner appetizer that I turned into a main course that combined a poached egg with thick-cut bacon and grits. For dessert, I opted for the ice creams made, of course, in-house: my choices were sea salt caramel and cream cheese (!), which combined for a pseudo-caramel cheesecake experience and I couldn’t have been happier. Take a look at all the tastiness below.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a caviar seminar to attend… at 9am in the morning.
To get a run-down of the entire weekend, check out the microsite here and make sure to check back with Fly&Dine all weekend long for more coverage of what promises to be a delicious march towards Sunday.