POPSUGAR Celebrity

The Top Things We Ate (and Drank) in Aspen

Jun 20 2012 - 1:47pm

From the Grand Tasting [1] to this year's Best New Chefs [2] dishes, there was a lot of food and drink to be consumed at this year's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen [3] — most of it solid, some of it questionable, and a handful of it truly exceptional.

Which bites and sips from the weekend truly left a mark? Find out when you keep reading.

Elixir and Jimmy's Private Collection Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

This super-rare Four Roses bourbon, made exclusively by Jimmy Yeager of Jimmy's [4] in Aspen and H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir [5] in San Francisco, was the best thing I drank in Aspen, period. Its chocolate, vanilla bean, and caramel nose and lingering orange-tobacco on the palate meant sipping came way too easily.

Mangalitsa Popcorn

At Grand Cochon, Iron Chef Marc Forgione knew what's better than pork rinds: mangalitsa pork rinds. The curly-haired Hungarian hogs, originally bred as lard pigs, are known for their richly flavored meat and (obviously) their fat content, which made them ideal for this crunchy snack.

Chard-Wrapped Pork Rolls

Inspired by his trip to Southeast Asia, Boston-based chef Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa offered his take on a street food favorite, with pork marinated in ginger and lemongrass, then wrapped in Swiss chard leaves.

Pig's Head Croqueta

Miami-based Michelle Bernstein of Michy's created a "Pigging Out Croqueta" that took the term "snout to tail" to a different level. The fall-apart-tender croqueta was filled with pigs' heads, feet, ribs, legs, and tails and served with a tart-sweet tomato marmalade.

Ajax Tavern Burger

Gail Simmons urged us [6] try Ajax Tavern's take on the In-N-Out Double-Double. The creamy double cheeseburger at this local haunt did not disappoint.

Photo: Donna Lee

Rabbit "Cassoulet"

At the Lexus tent in the Grand Tasting, I enjoyed a dish of rabbit, braised beans, and breadcrumbs. It reminded me of a gamier cassoulet.

Kerrygold Cheese Platter

My new favorite pairing, I discovered, was Kerrygold's Cashel Blue with dried black mission figs.

Truffle Spread

I don't know if this condiment, Stefania Calugi White Tartufata Spread, is even distributed yet in the US. What I do know: if I ever manage to locate the white truffle spread, I'll be buying the entire lot of it. Its preparation (spread on white bread) couldn't have been simpler . . . or more addictive.


At the Stella Artois lunch, I savored every bite of chef Daniel Joly's gnocchi, made flavorful with Colorado lamb bacon bits and pungent goat cheese.

Rabbit Tacos

I didn't find out until later that Daniel Joly's tacos were made with braised rabbit. I loved the tender meat, the addition of baby corn, and the newfangled taco shell, made with a crepe instead of a tortilla.

Rib and Scallop

Food & Wine held a 30th anniversary concert that featured Elvis Costello & The Blue Beguilers. Beforehand, chefs Mario Batali [7], José Andrés, and Michel Nischan hosted a grillout. My favorite dish from that event was a rib and scallop pairing. Neither could've been more perfectly cooked.

Best New Chef Dish: Kale Ash-Coated Wagyu Short Rib

Catbird Seat chefs Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger prepared a wagyu short rib coated in kale ash and topped with a dollop of cold ramp vichyssoise.

Venison Tartare

Venison, right off the bone, nestled in a bed of spruce. This venison tartare with spruce combination was wildly delicious.

2008 Robert Sinskey Three Amigos Pinot Noir

I asked for two pours of this 2008 Robert Sinskey Three Amigos Pinot Noir. Its fruity, berry notes made this Pinot one of my favorites to date.

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