Aspen Food & Wine Classic wraps up

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This is part of NRN's special coverage of the 2012 Food & Wine Classic held in Aspen, Colo., June 15-17. Follow all of our coverage at NRN's 'Aspen Food & Wine Classic' section.

Some 5,000 people attended the sold out, 30th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., where they sat in on wine seminars, watched cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and sampled wine and spirits from across the globe.

The 500 or so chefs, restaurateurs, food and beverage directors, and other foodservice industry members not only attended a series of panel discussions by industry experts on how to better conduct business, but were also invited to private, trade-only sessions in the Grand Tasting tent, where wines and spirits from across the world and food provided by the festival’s various sponsors were available for sampling.

The Grand Tasting was also where Food & Wine magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs of the year dished up their food.

Previously, recipients of that recognition were fêted at a separate celebration during the Classic, most recently on the Saturday night of the festival, although the schedule has changed over the years.

This year, Food & Wine instead celebrated the Classic’s 30th year with a special fundraiser and tasting by chefs José Andrés, Mario Batali and Michel Nischan, followed by a special musical performance by Elvis Costello and the Blue Beguilers.

Other parties ranged from intimate afternoon events, where guests sampled Portuguese wine and dined on jamón Iberico de bellota — a Spanish ham made from free-range hogs fed on acorns — to late-night blow-outs where the only drink available was straight tequila.

Take a look at highlights from the weekend.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary