Unless you’ve been trapped in a dead zone on I-70, you know that the biggest food event of the year—Slow Food Nations—is taking place from July 14 to 16 right here in Denver. We’re not just blowing smoke: This all-weekend festival is the South by Southwest of the culinary world.

Slow Food, an Italian-born organization dedicated to “good, clean, and fair food” for all, biannually celebrates its mission in Turin at the Terra Madre conference. This year, for the first time, the United States is hosting its own rendition: Slow Food Nations. Of all the cities in the land, Denver was chosen to be its home—for 2017 and the foreseeable future—thanks to our collaborative, creative food community and booming dining scene.

How can you join the more than 10,000 chefs, writers, farmers, educators, policymakers, and die-hard foodies flooding our city? Here’s a short list of some of the best talks, tastings, and events; some are ticketed, many are free. For more information, visit slowfoodnations.org.

Metropolitan State University Hospitality Learning Center

Watch & Taste: Salmon Curing with Rosenberg’s Bagels

Joshua Pollack, owner of Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen, shows you how to cure, smoke, and slice your way to bagel nirvana. July 15, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., $52

Watch & Taste: Heritage Breed Pig Butchering Demo

Look on as Blackbelly Market’s Hosea Rosenberg and Nate Singer compare Old and New World approaches (porky bites included). July 15, 1:30 to 3 p.m., $52

Learn: Gardens Galore

Chez Panisse founder and activist Alice Waters, the “Gangsta Gardener” Ron Finley, and the Kitchen Community co-founder Kimbal Musk discuss school and community gardens. July 16, 12:30 to 2 p.m., $15

Slow foods illo
Illustration by Michael Byers

Union Station

Learn & Drink: The Art of Day Drinking

Soak up wisdom about low-octane cocktails from local mixologist Chad Michael George (the Way Back) before crafting—and quaffing—a custom Pimm’s Cup. July 15 and 16, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., $52

Shop: Farmers’ Market

Not just on Sunday this weekend. Peruse local foods from more than 40 Colorado farmers and producers. July 15 and 16, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Talk & Taste: The Ark of Taste

Meet sustainable producers from around the globe, hear stories about the endangered foods they grow, and try samples. July 15 and 16, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Larimer Square

Taste: Colorado-Made Block Party

Mingle with local chefs (think Jeffrey Wall and Paul C. Reilly), ranchers, farmers, and artisans at this interactive tasting-style fiesta. July 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., $69

Watch: Celebrity Cook-Off

Cheer on singer-songwriter Jack Johnson and University of Colorado alum and Hawaii chef-restaurateur Ed Kenney as they take to the outdoor demo stage for a culinary battle against local chef Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja) and Michel Nischan, the celebrity chef founder of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that works to increase access to healthy, fresh food. Kids will judge the creations and declare the winning team. July 15, 2 p.m.

Learn & Taste: Grainiacs Block Party

Discuss the importance of heritage grains while tasting the difference they make in all manner of whole-grain deliciousness with Basta’s Kelly Whitaker (see page 68), Glenn Roberts (Anson Mills), and John Hinman (Hinman’s Bakery). July 15, 3 to 5 p.m., $69

This article was originally published in 5280 July 2017.
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.