What happens as a result of four days of nonstop eating and drinking? Well, in the case of Aspen's Food & Wine Classic, the answer isn't just limited to food comas and stomachaches (although we endured a few of those, too). After multiple meals and trips to the tasting tents, it became clear that there were themes among the many dishes we tasted. Here's what was hot at the Classic, and what you'll likely be seeing more of in the coming months.
Pork: it's what's for dessert. At the festival's premiere pig event, Grand Cochon, we eyed everything from pig liver crème caramel with roasted grapes and crispy bacon (shown here by Public chef Brad Farmerie) to bacon toffee topped with chocolate.
Piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris may be passé, but frozen drinks are back in a different way. Case in point: the pineapple slushies served up at DonQ's happening rum party, and the bourbon slushies (yes, you heard that right!) at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival booth.
Just because it's spicy doesn't mean it's a Bloody Mary! Everywhere we looked, barkeeps were serving up fruity, girly-looking drinks that had a serious kick. Case in point: Jim Meehan and Kate Krader served up a deceptively pink Porch Cobbler , and this Thatcher's Tres Chiles artisan liqueur with strawberries.
Say it with gusto: ¡Chicharrrrrrones! At the Best New Chefs dinner, these were on a third of the plates, from bacon-wrapped pork and meatloaf to porchetta crostini.
Everything tastes better on a stick, and chefs have finally caught on to this, serving beef heart, coconut chicken, and grilled shrimp satays.
Breakfast tacos. Beer with tacos. Top wines with tacos. Goat tacos. Beef tacos topped with potato and manchego crisps. The list goes on! The approachability, affordability, and portability of tacos made them irresistible Classic fare.
We first saw goat at the Classic three years ago, but this time around, it was abundant in everything. Andrew Zimmern hosted a "Goat Is Great" seminar, in which he famously remarked, "Goat is like soccer. It plays well with everywhere else in the world except here." We saw it in Stephanie Izard's award-winning goat sausage in XO broth, as well as shredded on tacos.
For the world being amidst such a huge tuna crisis, we sure did eat a lot of tuna. Raw tuna crudo and tuna tartare preparations abounded.
Sea urchin has finally hit the mainstream. Although this briny, slivering sea creature's eggs are definitely an acquired taste, we learned to appreciate uni in everything from Richard Blais's uni- and crab-studded black garlic spaghetti with horseradish to Carlo Mirarchi's sea urchin straciatella.
Grilled cheese is so hot right now! Laura Werlin gave a grilled cheese and wine pairing seminar. Richard Blais served up white cheddar and chutney sandwich squares, and zucchini, fontina, and pickle triangles made an appearance at a poolside Belvedere brunch.
Nothing could be more the rage than beef bone marrow, served at Richard Blais's lunch topped with clams and sprigs of parsley.
When it comes to pig parts, chefs and consumers alike had no fear. House-made country pâtés and terrines of all kinds were spotted in the tents, at the Best New Chefs dinner, and at Grand Cochon.
Croquettes — known as croquetas in Spain and korokke in Japan — were ubiquitous in the tents. The one pictured here was filled with béchamel and ham, then served with an aioli. Others we spotted were filled with mashed potatoes or salt cod.
Oxymoronic as they may sound, giant shrimp made a frequent appearance. We scored prawns with their heads and shells still on, whole shrimp satays, and bites of Portuguese shrimp alhinho.