Cochon 555—a celebration of heritage pigs and snout-to-tail dining—is experiencing a golden birthday of sorts. 2013 marks the fifth anniversary of the coast-to-coast culinary competition and tasting tour as well as the event's first appearance in Vail. At the heart of the affair are five local chefs, five heritage pigs, and five winemakers—hence the "555" namesake.
The chefs—Alex Seidel of Denver’s Fruition Restaurant, Hosea Rosenberg of Boulder’s Blackbelly Catering, Jason Harrison of Vail’s Flame Restaurant, Kelly Liken of Vail’s Restaurant Kelly Liken, and Lon Symensma of LoDo’s ChoLon Modern Bistro—are each challenged to create a menu from the entirety of a 200-pound, family-raised, heritage-breed pig. Attendees are able to sample the chef’s snout-to-tail creations and cast a vote—alongside official judges—for the “best bite of the day," thus determining who will be crowned the “Prince (or Princess) of Porc.” The crowned chef will compete against other city's Cochon 555 victors at this summer's Grand Cochon event at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.
To round out a pork-filled evening, guests can indulge in caviar and sustainable oysters from the raw bar or snack on cheese curated by Will Frischkorn of Cured, Boulder's cheese and meats shop. These extras, plus wines from Napa Valley’s Antica winery, and an official cocktail competition—featuring bourbons from Templeton Rye, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Distillery, and more—push Cochon beyond your standard tasting event, into the category of must-attend.
When: Sunday, March 10th, 5 p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Vail
Fun Facts: Cochon means “pig” in French. Tender Belly will supply American Berkshire, Red Wattle, Large Black, and Mulefoot heritage-breed pigs for the competition.
Home Chef: You can find heritage-breed pork in Denver at Marczyk Fine Foods.