Grand cuisine at Grand Tasting

Find out what the chefs will be serving at Epicurean Adventure's final event of the weekend

The Grand Tasting at Spruce Saddle is part of the inaugural Epicurean Adventure food, wine and spirits festival at Beaver Creek on Saturday.
Kelsey Knight for Unsplash

The inaugural Epicurean Adventure food, wine and spirits event at Beaver Creek culminates with the Grand Tasting on Saturday night. Elevate your taste buds at a new venue, Spruce Saddle, that will be utilized to house Beaver Creek restaurants and caterers from around the region. The Centennial Express (No. 6) lift will be your mode of transportation on Saturday night to get you to this mid-mountain location. The event starts at 6 p.m., so there will still be enough daylight that you can see the views from the gondola and the emerging fall colors on your ride up to Spruce Saddle.

The chefs have been working hard crafting their menus for this event. Anthony Beltracchi of Fireside Grill at the Osprey Hotel in Beaver Creek is excited to showcase his dish, braised beef short rib with creamy polenta, at his first ever Grand Tasting.

“Events like this gives guests a chance to see some of the variety of food the chefs are showcasing and as a chef, I get to see and hear instant feedback on dishes being showcased and it allows me to try out something that might be coming to the Fireside’s menu soon,” Beltracchi said.

Santosh Koradi, executive chef at 8100 Restaurant at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, is going to make a berry jalapeno and mint splash, which is a crispy puff filled with flavorful berry and mint and jalapeno water.

“The staff and I take pride and joy in participating in these types of events. Plus, it helps in showcasing our culinary skills, meeting new people and learning new things in terms of new products and culinary skills from other food partners,” Koradi said.

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George Washington Pincay, executive chef at the Golden Eagle Restaurant in Beaver Creek agrees with Koradi.

“As a chef I feel that these events are important to maintain cohesiveness within our industry in the Vail Valley,” Pincay said. “It keeps us on our toes as chefs and keeps the thinking wheel turning to come up with fun, new and exciting ideas. As chefs we never stop learning, it’s the process.”

Pincay will be serving The Golden Eagle’s version of elk tartare, also known as elk in the forest.

“This will be a representation of the Colorado terroir. Cured Elk loin, mesquite cream, preserved wild mushrooms, allium oil and micro shiso from Peak Organics, a local company in the valley,” Pincay said.

Spruce Saddle is known as a popular lunch spot during the winters and summers but it will host area restaurants and caterers during the Grand Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday night.
Beaver Creek Resort/Courtesy photo

There will also be a few sweets to satisfy the palate. Carol Mele and Paul Norton of Lucky Mary’s Baking and Sweets Company will feature French macaroons. The Golden, CO-based dessert hot spot is excited to be a part of this event.

“My husband, Paul Norton, grew up in Eagle so it’s like going home for him,” Mele said. “My staff is so excited for this because we get to work alongside other great chefs and it’s always fun to see what other chefs are doing.”

Angela Tarigradean and her husband, Tim, will be representing their new-ish company, Dang Sweets, a Vail Valley-based business that specializes in pastries, cakes and wedding cakes. They are making apple caramel cheesecake.

“As a chef it is important to participate in these events since it is our way to have a direct interaction with guests,” Tarigradean said. “We are always excited to be part of events in our community, especially with a nice view!”

Wine and spirits will also be a part of the experience. Pouring partners like Patric Matysiewski, winemaker and co-founder of Sauvage Spectrum Estate Winery and Vineyard, will be serving several varietals that will pair well with what the chefs are serving.

“Having a booth at the Vail Farmers Market has allowed us to study the consumer who visits the area for the past year. We have narrowed down the offerings based upon what they might enjoy but also what’s available locally through our partner retailers,” Matysiewski said.

“The feedback we get from the consumer has a huge impact for me as the winemaker. I am less persuaded by my own thoughts or even someone with credentials in the wine world than I am with the end consumer. You normally receive an honest opinion within the first couple of seconds,” Matysiewski said.

Whiskey has been trending high lately and Chelsea Noble of Barrell Craft Spirits is bringing what she calls their Evergreen Lineup.

“We bring the Evergreen Lineup because we are frequently sharing our whiskeys with consumers and guests for the first time. While these whiskeys tend to be our most well-known and highest awarded, they are also accessible and available in most markets,” Noble said.

Like the chefs, Noble says the one-on-one time with the guests is what means the most to her.

“Being able to discuss what makes our whiskeys special and seeing people try them-often for the first time- is something I absolutely love. I have the opportunity to hear from our fans about why they love Barrell, how they found Barrell, their favorite whiskeys from Barrell. They often pull out their phones and show off their collections to me!” Noble said.

For Barrell Craft Spirits, this is their first food, wine and spirits event at Beaver Creek. It will also be the first event for Minturn-based distillery, Eagle River Whisky — note there is no “e” in the spelling of the spirit because it is made using the Scottish style and spelling. Spence and Steph Neubauer will be showcasing their two scotch-style whisky expressions, the Dowds and the Gilman.  

Minturn’s Eagle River Whisky will be offering tastings of two of its whiskys and a signature cocktail at the Grand Tasting at Spruce Saddle in Beaver Creek as part of the inaugural Epicurean Adventure.
Eagle River Whisky/Courtesy photo

They will also be serving the Boulevardier cocktail made with Dowds whisky, Campari and vermouth with a lemon twist.  

“It’s a classy little cocktail supposedly created in the 1920’s for Erskine Gwynne who was a writer who founded the Paris literary magazine called the “Boulevardier,” which is perfect for this event. And it really tastes clean and sharp with the Dowds in there,” Neubauer said. “We’ll also be serving the cocktails out of a little tabletop mini speakeasy.”

There is a Roaring 20s Speakeasy theme, so wear era-appropriate attire if you’ve got it, otherwise suggested dress is mountain cocktail. Keep in mind the temperatures will be a bit cooler at the elevation of Spruce Saddle and there is a short walk from the lift to the restaurant, so consider that when selecting your shoes, but wear your dancing shoes, the Royal Street Ramblers will be playing music throughout the evening, which wraps up at 9 p.m.

For more information and to get tickets, so go

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