Taste of Vail returns for four delicious days of world-class tastings and pairings
Check out signature events, contests and seminars this weekend at the annual food and wine event
It’s time for the Taste of Vail, the annual rite of spring that has been happening on the slopes and in the streets of Vail for over three decades. This foodie and wine event has been recognized by Forbes, Travel+Leisure and USA Today as one of the top food and wine festivals in the country. Maybe it’s because they invite dozens of winemakers and owners to pour their wines and mix and mingle with event-goers. Maybe it’s because they invite guest chefs to show their culinary talents alongside our Vail Valley all-star chefs. Or maybe it’s because the Rocky Mountains provide the perfect backdrop while you’re imbibing and noshing.
The Debut of Rosé took place on Wednesday but there are still plenty of events to enjoy between now and when the multi-day event wraps up on Saturday night. After skiing and snowboarding all day on Thursday, come down to Vail Village and come hungry – and thirsty. The Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Après Tasting is happening from 3 to 6 p.m.
Josh Marshall, executive chef of the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail will be defending his Best Pork Shoulder and Best in Show titles at this year’s competition. At the event, ticket holders will be able to taste over 22 local and guest chefs’ pork creations along with samples from over 55 wineries, distilleries and beer companies.
The Taste of Vail is all about trying something new and learning more about food and wine, so in the vein of “Life Beyond Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot” the Taste of Vail’s participating wineries during the Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Après Tasting will be showcasing wines that you may not think about such as riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, shiraz, and zinfandel.
New this year, the Taste of Vail will host four world-class guest chefs at its signature events, three from Mexico and one from Denver. This is a new collaboration that will also send some Vail Valley chefs to Festival Gourmet in Puerto Vallarta Nov. 9-19, 2023.
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“After seeing first-hand the quality and passion from these amazing chefs, we wanted to find a way to showcase their talent at the Taste of Vail,” said Angela Mueller, executive director of Taste of Vail, in a press release. “The collaboration between chefs gives participants and attendees alike a fresh take on culinary offerings and brings an exciting new element to the event. We are thrilled to welcome Chef Leal, Chef Leyva, Chef Meraz and Chef Benavidez to Taste of Vail this year.”
You may have heard of Chef Orlando Benavidez. He now runs Bits and Pieces in Denver, but he was with the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek and he’s worked under Denver chefs Kevin Taylor and Richard Sandoval.
Chef Héctor Leyva is with Hector’s Kitchen, Punta Mita, Mexico. Chef Leyva brings flavors from different regions to Mexican cuisine, including fresh fish and locally sourced produce from the Pacific coast.
Chef Mauricio Leal, of ICÚ, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico adds an innovative touch to traditional Mexican cuisine. In 2021 and 2022, ICÚ was included in the Mexican Culinary Guide and rated among the top 250 Restaurants of Mexico.
Chef Fabiola Meraz, is the executive chef and co-owner of MUXA Cocina del Alma and Los Tonales Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She is also the founder of the Ellas se Juntan Initiative, created to help achieve greater recognition for Puerto Vallarta’s female chefs, mixologists and sommeliers.
In addition to signature events like the Niman Ranch Mountaintop Tasting at the top of Eagle’s Nest on Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. and the Grand Tasting at The Hythe on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., there are several seminars and other offerings where you can learn about wine, spirits and other culinary matters.
Wine Spectator and Whisky Advocate have teamed up to bring you the Battle of the Bartenders Cocktail MixOff on Thursday at Vendetta’s (downstairs) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Whiskey will be the liquor of choice and the creativity will be literally flowing as the valley’s top bartenders execute their twist on Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, high balls, sours and more. There will be a Critics Choice winner and a People’s Choice winner, so be sure to cast your vote.
Find out why caviar and wine go so well together at the Sturia and Wine seminar on Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Grand View Room at the top of the Lionshead parking structure. Here you’ll try four types of Sturia Caviar perfectly paired with wines from Left Coast Estate, Margerum Wine Company and Pinea Wines.
Other offerings include Colorado wines, winemaker dinners, a hog butchering 201 class, Kettle One Vodka and Penta Tequila tastings and more. For a full list of seminars, information on signature events and to get tickets, go to TasteOfVail.com.