Taste of Vail pairs Southern Hemisphere food and wine with the Vail lifestyle this weekend | VailDaily.com

Taste of Vail pairs Southern Hemisphere food and wine with the Vail lifestyle this weekend

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily
Mark Truszkowski of Game Creek Restaurant plates lamb and Foie Gras sausage sliders during The Fall Wine & Food Classic Grand Tasting last year in Vaill.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

Vail Valley foodies always look forward to the annual Taste of Vail weekend every spring and now in its third year, the Taste of Vail Fall Wine & Food Classic is returning to town today and Saturday, right in time to celebrate the changing season.

The event exclusively features wines and cuisine from the Southern Hemisphere.

More than 50 wineries and 30 local guest chefs, restaurateurs and sommeliers will participate in the event.

But aside from the food and drink, the event also offers opportunities for recreation and mountain sports in between tastings.

“I think the focus on the Vail lifestyle and how it ties into food and wine is what makes this event unique and special,” said Paul Anders, executive chef and owner of the Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard restaurants.

“The opportunity to go on a hike, or bike ride down Vail Pass, or fly-fishing in a world-class trout stream and then have that activity end with an amazing brunch or lunch, is not something you find at most food and wine events.”

Anders said the focus of food and wine from the Southern Hemisphere also provides an interesting angle to experience.

“It is a great chance to open minds and palates to all of the great cuisines and wines from around the world,” he said. “It is very different from the often-local perspective.”

Anders said that in the past, both his restaurants have prepared dishes from Brazil, Australia and parts of Africa.

“We are lucky to have a diverse staff and people from many cultures,” he said.

That diverse staff has helped the restaurants compose their offerings this year. Mountain Standard will serve a variation on the South African favorite chicken dish piri piri. The dish is also part of Portuguese cuisine, but spice and vibrancy is typical of the African version, and those flavors will be prominent in Mountain Standard’s dish. Sweet Basil will serve a Fijian fish dish that resembles ceviche.

“This is a really fun opportunity to experiment with cuisines and flavors that are not in our normal wheelhouse,” Anders said.

Today, restaurants throughout the Vail Valley will offer wine pop-ups and dinners featuring wineries from the Southern Hemisphere. Daytime activities on Saturday will include hiking, yoga and fly-fishing followed by brunch.

The classic will culminate with a Grand Tasting event Saturday evening at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

During the Grand Tasting, guests will enjoy a picnic-style event on the grass with south of the equator music from Ginga, a Brazilian band, while taking in the gorgeous Vail scenery and fall colors.

For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.tasteofvail.com.