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Photo by Galdones Photography

The white tents that take over Aspen this time of year mean summer has officially arrived and the Aspen Food & Wine Classic—the country’s premier culinary event—is underway. The 31st annual festival (June 14–16) features more than 80 cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and panel discussions led by chefs, vintners and up-and-coming talent. Tickets this year were the toughest yet; the classic sold out in March, the earliest in five years. Even so, here are some highlights, a few with tickets still available.

Food & Wine Best New Chefs

A pass is required for entry, but the Grand Tasting Pavilion in Wagner Park is the heart of the festival. Don’t miss the Best New Chefs station, where the class of 2013 will present signature dishes. We have the exclusive on the menu—here is a sampling:

  • Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese Food (New York)
    Hokkaido scallop, Genovese pesto, country ham, rye
  • Justin Cogley, Aubergine (Carmel, California)
    Poulard, liver, seaweed vinegar, coastal herbs
  • Matthew Gaudet, West Bridge (Boston)
    Warm baby carrot salad with picked, raw and braised carrots, savory granola, fresh cheese
  • Michael Voltaggio, Ink (Los Angeles)
    Egg-yolk gnocchi, golden trout roe, smoked crème fraîche
  • Jamie Malone, Sea Change (Minneapolis)
    Abalone, asparagus, bone marrow, yuzu, chili

Last Bite Dessert Party

Tickets ($125) to this salute to the sweet tooth (June 14, 10 p.m.) are still available. Held at the historic Hotel Jerome and hosted by culinary personality Gail Simmons, the Art Deco–themed evening features desserts by pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini and local notables. “Last year, this party was my favorite moment,” says Simmons, “but there’s just something about the mountains, the chefs—the whole spirit of the weekend that is undeniably magical.”

Tac au Vin: Best Wines for Tacos

Twenty-five wine seminars (limited to pass holders) will cover regions from around the world. Our pick is this program (June 15, 3:45 p.m.), where Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer and John Ragan will pair wines with tacos by chef Floyd Cardoz of New York’s North End Grill.

Reserve Tastings

Tickets (from $175) are still available for one of these tastings, featuring rare varietals and hosted by winemakers and sommeliers. Try “A Piedmont Superstar: The Wines of Angelo Gaja” or “Two Legendary Rioja Vintages: 1994 & 1995.”

June 14–16; for official festival coverage, follow @fwmag #fwclassic;


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