Culinary festival has tasty finale |

Culinary festival has tasty finale

Carolyn Pope
Carolyn Pope/Special to the Daily Erik and Tamara Sale with Bobby Head.

The Marriott Mountain Hotel Resort and Spa was jammed recently for the popular Grand Tasting, Auction and Dance – the finale of the Taste of Vail festival in which guests spent several days worshipping Bacchus.

Bacchus, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the happy gent, was the Roman god of wine and intoxication. Fortunately, tempering the effects of too much vino was some exceptional cuisine.

After informative lectures, wine dinners, educational sessions and getting snowed on at the Mountaintop picnic, guests had the opportunity to sample entrees and desserts made by chefs from the valley and around the country – paired, of course, with equally outstanding wines.

Guest Chefs Jody Adams of Rialto in Cambridge, Mass., and Jacques Haeringer of L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, Va., highlighted the event. This year, the battle was of the seared fois gras Ð with several restaurants, including Grouse Mountain Grill and The Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa vying for the best. The winners, though, were the guests.

Other highlights included the gazpacho served by the Ritz Carlton – the entire bar was carved of ice and each dollop was served in its own solid ice shot glass. Other crowd favorites including the vegetarian sushi from the French Press and the pastries from Splendido’s that disappeared even before the entrees were done.

The silent auction included magnums of wine, gift certificates for dinner and golf, and cooking classes at the Savory Inn, among other things. Top items included in a 3-liter bottle of Veuve Cliquot, valued at almost $1,400; an Eberle cabernet sauvignon, estimated at $1,100; a 2000 Far Niente cabernet, estimated at $1,000; and a dinner for eight at the Bachelor Gulch home of Sherri and George Mittleman.

Organizer Mickey Werner handled the auction.

The auction benefited many local charities, which have, in the past, included the Resource Center, The Shaw Regional Cancer Center, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and many others.

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