VAIL - A few scattered clouds floated through the azure sky Friday afternoon as hundreds of people wandered from tent to tent at the Taste of Vail Mountaintop Picnic. Local chefs served up taste-sized samples of everything from deviled eggs and short-rib sliders to brownie cupcakes and strawberry parfaits.
The weather cooperated, and many of the guests strolled about in ski boots and tank tops, lapping up wine, beer and spirits along with the sunshine.
"It's a beautiful day for it," said Elaine Stokes, a first-year volunteer with the Taste of Vail.
Stokes said she didn't have an accurate guess on the number of attendees but that one chef had said he brought 150 more samples than what was recommended, and halfway through the event, he was already running low.
With the overwhelming variety of lip-smacking food available, it was hard to choose the best item, but some were able to narrow it down.
Kerry Muhrenberg, of Vail, said his favorite morsel was a chorizo slider from Beano's Cabin.
"He's been talking about it all day," said Micheal Hodges, another Vailite.
Hodges, a six-year veteran of the Moutaintop Picnic, raved about the slightly spicy, bacon-wrapped turkey from Moe's. And he wasn't the only one.
Vanessa Cinti, another local, said Moe's served up one of her favorite food items at the picnic, too. Cinti, a sommelier, also recommended a sauvignon blanc from O'Shaughnessy Winery to complete the picture.
Sean Capiaux, the winemaker for O'Shaughnessy, said the sauvignon blanc was a new item from the winery -- 100 cases of the stuff were bottled just last week.
The combination of good eats, refreshing beverages and sunny skies lulled many into food comas as the day waned. One of the most popular events of the Taste of Vail, the Mountaintop Picnic left a crowd of happy, satisfied guests at Eagle's Nest.
"It's a great end-of-season event for locals, tourists and people in the industry," Cinti said. "It's a chance for people to see that the valley is really in to food and wine."