Vail Today: Taste of Vail’s Lamb Cook-off hits the streets of Vail (video) |

Vail Today: Taste of Vail’s Lamb Cook-off hits the streets of Vail (video)

By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today
The 27th annual Taste of Vail continued with the American Lamb Cook-off and Apres Ski Tasting held on the streets of Vail on Thursday. This outdoor après ski party was also a competition. The lamb cook-off, sponsored by the American Lamb Board, showcased 25 of the area’s finest chefs preparing diverse dishes featuring Colorado leg of lamb. “Leg of lamb was prepared in an array of creative dishes that highlighted flavors from around the world – from empanadas to tamales to gyros,” said Megan Wortman, executive director of the Denver-based American Lamb Board. “Even after 13 years, we are always amazed by the innovative ways these Vail Valley chefs utilize lamb.” A team of judges sampled each of the lamb dishes and Sweet Basil was crowned this year’s winner. Chef Christopher Schmidt of Sweet Basil and his team won for their Spring Reuben Sandwich with House Sauerkraut and Green Harissa Mayo. Second place went to Beano’s Cabin and third place went to La Tour Restaurant. Beano’s Cabin was also awarded the People’s Choice award. “As a chef team, we really love Reuben sandwiches,” said Schmidt. “We wanted a light spring version of the sandwich to showcase lamb, using herbaceous harissa versus a heavier classic thousand island dressing.” The lamb bites were complimented by samples from participating wineries. In the Taste of Vail’s theme of “Life Beyond Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot” participating wineries poured a wide array of varietals that included sauvignon blanc, pino noir, shiraz and zinfandel. Some wineries brought out specialty labels and varietals not easily found just for this event. The Taste of Vail wraps up on Saturday with seminars on Riesling wine at Matsuhisa and Portuguese wine at The Sebastian before the Grand Tasting and Auction at the Vail Marriott. For more information visit

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