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2018 Heritage Fire in Snowmass, Colorado. Courtesy of Max Flatow Photography for COCHON 555

No Ticket, No Problem: How to Do Aspen During the Food & Wine Classic

These open-to-the-public dinners and tasting parties are just as fabulous as the main event, which takes place June 14–16.

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There’s no culinary festival in Colorado more gourmet or glamorous than the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. (There also may be none more exclusive or expensive, with consumer passes selling for $1,600.) But there are ways to get a taste of the experience without forking out for the entire crosstown banquet, being held this year from June 14–16. Here are a few of our top picks.

d’Arenberg Cube at the Limelight Hotel

The South Australian Tourism Commission is hosting this daytime pop-up on June 14 and 15 in the Limelight Hotel’s courtyard. Come by from 9–10:45 a.m. for a light “Recovery Breakfast” of mimosas, coffee, pastries, and Berocca, Australia’s answer to Alka-Seltzer; stay for the “Recharge Lounge,” featuring an array of the region’s top wines. And don’t miss the chat with winemaker Chester Osborn, the renowned maverick behind McLaren Vale estate d’Arenberg, on Friday at 2:45 p.m. June 14 and 15, all day; free

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Chefs Club Aspen Presents Park90 + Chef Tom Coohill

Starting on June 14, be one of the first diners through the doors to the latest iteration of Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort: Tom and Diane Coohill of Denver’s own Coohills will take over the space for a seasonal concept that showcases Colorado ingredients within chef Tom’s Southern French framework. The menu abounds in meat and seafood boards, from chicken-liver pâté to loup de mer–salmon terrine, all with classic accoutrements; myriad small plates, like grilled, spiced artichoke hearts and escargot with asparagus and peas; and entrées like roast guinea hen with truffle mousse and local lamb loin with toasted quinoa and roasted radishes in nettle butter. But that’s not all: The husband-and-wife team are collaborating with Regent Singapore wine bar Park90 to offer guests an extensive list of collectors’ trophies from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Château Lafite Rothschild, Dominus, and more. For reservations, call 970-429-9581 or email info@chefsclub.com. June 14 through the summer, times vary; prices vary

Heitz Cellar Legacy Dinner

By contrast, this one will admittedly run you nearly as much a three-day pass to the Classic itself—but the memories will undoubtedly be priceless. On June 14, the Little Nell’s former wine director, master sommelier Carlton McCoy, is returning to his old stomping grounds as the President and CEO of legendary Napa estate Heitz Cellar to host a five-course dinner with winemaker Brittany Sherwood. They’ll be pouring not only eight of Heitz’s single-vineyard Cabernets—including a 1997 and a 2001 from the iconic Martha’s Vineyard—but also vintage Krug Champagne and Hennessy XO Cognac to pair with Element 47 chef Matt Zubrod’s luxury-laden menu—think lobster salad in caviar beurre blanc, blackberry-cured squab, Wagyu three ways, and truffles galore. Follow this link to book. June 14, 7 p.m.; $1,200 per person (not including tip and taxes)

Heritage Fire

Cochon555 returns to Snowmass Base Village on June 15 to throw its massive annual meat fest with the help of 20-plus chefs and butchers from around the country (but especially Colorado), who will be breaking down and cooking up everything from heritage cows and pigs to lambs and goats for sampling alongside El Tesoro Tequila cocktails. The talent includes ChoLon Restaurant Concepts’ Lon Symensma, who tells us his team is “going in an Indian direction with our goat dish. I’ve been inspired by Indian cuisine for a long time, but especially since returning from my trip there last year. Denver needs more Indian cuisine!” (Is that a clue to the prolific restaurateur’s next project?) For tickets, click here. June 15, 5 p.m.; $150 per person

Barbuto Pop-Up

Chef Jonathan Waxman’s New York City treasure Barbuto just closed its doors—but it’s reopening for one extra-special night in Aspen. The Little Nell will welcome the Barbuto team to recreate some of their favorite dishes for guests, paired with wines from California’s Kosta Browne. Though the menu remains under wraps, we hear Waxman’s famous pollo al forno is all but guaranteed. Click here to book. June 15, 7 p.m.; $250 per person

Andrew Carmellini and Kate Williams Collaboration Dinner

Star chefs Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde in New York City) and Kate Williams (Lady of the House in Detroit) are teaming up for a four-course dinner hosted by Food & Wine’s executive wine editor Ray Isle in the courtyard at the Hotel Jerome. Menu highlights include short-rib braciole over sweet-corn polenta with Château Monbousquet Saint-Émilion 2014 and potato doughnuts with chamomile cream alongside Château Cantegril Sauternes 2014. A cocktail reception in hotel restaurant Prospect kicks off the event; more info here. June 15, 7 p.m.; $250 per person

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Farewell Feast: Food & Wine Best New Restaurants

Just days ago, Food & Wine announced its Best New Restaurants 2019, and this walk-around tasting on Sunday morning at the Hotel Jerome is your chance to experience a number of them in one swoop. New York’s Frenchette will be there with boudin blanc on pretzel buns. Nightshade will come from Los Angeles bearing shrimp toast in Cantonese curry. Suerte is serving up confit brisket tacos straight out of Austin. And that’s just to name a few. Further details here. June 16, 11 a.m.; $150 per person

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