From “rugged” red wines to not-so-red bloody Marys, Elway’s sommelier Jim Lay is going drink crazy this weekend for the inaugural FEAST! culinary festival in Vail.
Lay will lead four seminars this weekend: two today and two tomorrow. This morning he’ll lead the Summer Sparklers session at Solaris, where he’ll discuss sparkling wines while attendees sip different styles and nibble on cheese.
“There will be some prosecco, and we’re going to have California sparkling wines,” he said. “The focus is on inexpensive, lighter styles ... Just some nice, easy-going sparkling wines.”
Then after lunch, he’ll lead a session dubbed “Rugged Reds,” where attendees get to taste Cabernet and red blends from the West Coast.
“These will be good barbecue wines,” Lay said.
Then on Sunday, Lay turns his attention to spirits, serving up a yellow tomato bloody mary made with Goat vodka from Palisade (the “Contrary Mary”) for the morning session and a cucumber jalapeno margarita in the afternoon. Visit this story online for the bloody recipe.
But a feast isn’t anything without the food, and this weekend isn’t all about booze. Vail marketing consultant Adam Sutner describes FEAST! Vail as a culinary offering, catered to high-end tastes. Which is to say there’s plenty of yummy food being served, like fondue courtesy of Sonnenalp’s executive pastry chef Bernie Oswald. Paul Anders from Sweet Basil will show attendees how to get economical cuts of meat.
Here’s a look at the full FEAST!:
• 9-10:30 a.m.: Yoga for a Cause, Gore Creek Promenade, donation requested. Donations benefit Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties and Africa Yoga Project.
• 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Belay & Brunch, Vail Vitality Center and Terra Bistro; $45 per person with climbing or $30 per person brunch only.
• 11 to 11:45 a.m.: Sides, session 1 various Vail locations; $20 per person per event.
• 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.: Sides, session 2
Choose from: Desert Fondue, Swiss Chalet, Sonnenalp Hotel —a hands-on tasting with executive pastry chef Bernie Oswald, with personal recipes from decadent chocolate fondue to healthy yogurt based fondue. Includes a drink.
Pizza & Craft Beer, Vail Blue Moose — Enjoy hand-crafted pizza inspired by local, seasonal ingredients sourced by chef Jay McCarthy. Tasting includes craft beer flights.
Make the Most of Your Grill with Rubs, Brines and Marinades, Sweet Basil — This demonstration shows you how to take more economical cuts of meat and improve flavor and texture via the rubs, brines and marinades.
Summer Sparklers, Solaris Plaza (only available session 1) — Raise a glass to sunshine in the mountains with wines guaranteed to sparkle Lay hosts the event, showcasing a variety of sparkling wine crafted from different grapes and in different styles, paired with cheeses.
Rugged Reds, Solaris Plaza (only available session 2) — Lay has curated an adventurous tasting of wines from rugged wine producing regions. Includes a cheese tasting.
• 4 to 6 p.m.: Pins & Pours, Bol. Retro cocktails, bites and bowling. Admission free.
• 8:30-11:30 a.m.: Trail Mix, Tavern on the Square, Lionshead; $45 per person with hike or $30 per person brunch only. Brunch is from 10 to 11:30 a.m. — Another day of culinary action starts with hike up Vail Mountain. You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view and a delicious brunch at Tavern on the Square, which includes signature bacon bloody Marys and mimosas.
• 9-10:30 a.m.: Casting Clinic, Gore Creek Promenade, presented by Fly Fishing Outfitters; $35 per person — A fly fishing clinic with Chef Kelly Liken, other chefs and local professional anglers. Fly rods and food provided.
• 11-11:45 a.m.: Sides, session 1; $20 per person per event
• 12:30-1:15 p.m.: Sides, session 2; $20 per person per event
Best in Show, Steak & Bourbon, Vail Chophouse — Chef Jay McCarthy showcases the perfect steak with hand-crafted bourbon from Woodford Reserve.
Chill, Wines with Attitude, Solaris Plaza (session 1 only) — Celebrate wines with attitude that stand out in the crowd. Winemaker Kevin Furtado hosts.
Farm to Glass, Elway’s — Elway’s sommelier Jim Lay is committed to sourcing fresh ingredients locally, and introducing inspired specialty cocktails on a weekly basis. He shares his passion for farm to cocktail culture.
Barbecue-Friendly Wines, Solaris Plaza (session 2 only) — The FEAST! team has talked to the pros and put together top picks for the grill or fire pit.