Caramie Schnell

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July 17, 2012
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A Vail garden party gone gourmet

VAIL --The Gather in the Garden that took place at the Sonnenalp at the end of June turned into a Gather near the Garden dinner, but that didn't seem to phase the still-smiling attendees. With all the fires sparking in Colorado, including one that very night in Eagle, the rain felt like a blessing.

And really, who can be grouchy while holding a glass of Veuve Clicquot? The Sonnenalp staff quickly and efficiently moved the group into a large sun room that overlooks the garden and has a retractable roof that was opened as soon as the rain stopped falling.

Rayla Kundolf, the director of Masters Gallery and Galerie Zuger, both in Vail, attended the dinner with her husband, Taylor.

"I love it," she said. "I try to go to at least one of those dinners over there every season. It's probably one of the most mountain elegant, chic events I go to. I like that it's outside near the river --usually. And the camaraderie - you see a lot of the same people each year. It's very welcoming. You feel like you're at a friend's home."

For the dinner, Executive Chef Steve Topple used plenty of Colorado produce and protein, including arugula from Gypsum for a roasted beet and goat cheese salad; grilled whole striped bass from Alamosa served with ratatouille and steamed potatoes; and a Colorado peach tart made with peaches from Palisade and served with vanilla bourbon cream and sour cherry ice cream.

"I love that everything was indigenous to Colorado," Kundolf said. "And the dessert was so good it was just wrong. Such great, simple delicacies of Colorado."

On Thursday, the second in a series of three of the dinners will take place at the Sonnenalp. We've included the menu here, so you can take a look. The three-course, family style dinner will be paired with all certified organic wines.

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The VailDaily Updated Jul 17, 2012 05:43PM Published Jul 17, 2012 05:35PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.