Vail lifestyle on the table in April |

Vail lifestyle on the table in April

Daily Staff Report

VAIL – Organizers of the Taste of Vail have released the dates of Vail Valley’s culinary and wine festival for 2006: April 5-8. Now in its 16th year and with an annual operating budget of more than half a million dollars, the Taste of Vail celebrates the Vail Valley’s rich lifestyle – the fine dining, art galleries, shops and skiing that have made Vail a world-class, year-round resort. The festival was created in 1990 by a group of Vail Valley restaurateurs as a marketing event to showcase the resort’s restaurants. Now the community boasts more than 20 Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants – the most of any resort community in the United States.This year, more than 6,000 attendees and volunteers are expected to participate in the 16th annual Taste of Vail, with chefs from three dozen local restaurants and winemakers and/or owners of 54 wineries from all over the world participating. The festival has expanded its guest chef program to include three – Rick Moonen of rm restaurant at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas; Martial Noguiere of one sixtyblue in Chicago; and Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja in Denver – each of whom will host his or her own Chef Showcase Dinner at a valley restaurant during the festival. The Colorado Lamb Cook-Off, meanwhile, is back April 5 on Gore Creek Drive in Vail Village. Hosted in conjunction with the American Lamb Board, the second annual cook-off will feature samples of lamb dishes courtesy of some of the Vail Valley’s finest chefs, as well as a number of Taste of Vail’s participating wineries showcasing some of their finest to complement the lamb dishes.The Après-Ski Tasting, “Life Beyond Chardonnay, Cabernet & Merlot,” is April 6 and features a selection of varietals, including Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Riesling, Zinfandel and more. The Cigar Seminar, also April 6m is a cigar- and spirit-tasting affair sponsored by Cigar Aficionado magazine. The Mountaintop Gourmet Picnic April 7, at 10,350 feet above sea level at the top of Vail Mountain at Eagles Nest, is the festival’s signature event. Other events Friday include the Chocolate Seminar at Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa and the Cocktail “Mix-Off,” in which the spotlight is shifted from the Vail Valley’s chefs to its bartenders.The 16th annual Taste of Vail concludesApril 8 with the Grand Tasting, Dance and Auction at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa, a tasting featuring restaurants, wineries and all three guest chefs.In the past 15 years, the festival has contributed more than $300,000 to Vail Valley Charities; and in 2005, in conjunction with Ritz-Carlton, the Taste of Vail donated $13,000 to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund.For more information or to purchase tickets, visit visit, Colorado

Support Local Journalism