Best Bites: Idiazabal Cheese
A recent trip to the Truffle Cheese Shop on Sixth Avenue led to the discovery of a new favorite: Idiazabal. This smoked Spanish cheese from Basque country tastes vaguely reminiscent of Parmesan, though it’s richer and smoother. In addition to enjoying hunks on crunchy Nita Crisps, we found Idiazabal also paired beautifully with fig jam or honey. Bonus: Instead of scribbling the names of cheeses on packages, the Truffle prints out labels that are easy to read—and keep. For future reference, we tape ours to the inside the front cover of the expert Laurel Werlin‘s new book Cheese Essentials. 2906 E. Sixth Ave., 303-322-7363,

Treats: Cupcake Bake Sale
On Thursday, December 13, there’s a cupcake showdown planned in the lobby of 1670 Broadway. From 11 a.m.–4 p.m., local pastry chefs from spots such as Gateaux Bakery, Happy Cakes Bakeshop, and Yum Yums, will showcase their trendiest cupcake—and see how it stands up to the competition. A panel of local “cupcake aficionados” (including Denver Post food editor Kristen Browing-Blas and CW2‘s morning show co-host Natalie Tysdale) will judge the creations on presentation, design, hip factor, and taste. The public can judge for themselves—and purchase the goodies. Money raised from the bake sale will benefit Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline Colorado, a local non-profit program teaching at-risk kids and their families how to make nutritious low-cost meals.

Industry Buzz: Denver Restaurant Week 2008
Friday, December 15, marks the deadline for restaurants wanting to register for Denver Restaurant Week 2008. The annual celebration of the local culinary scene takes place February 23–29, with participating eateries offering a multicourse dinner for $52.80 (for two). We’re happy to see that 100-some restaurants—including Bistro Vendôme, Duo, Solera, and Vesta Dipping Grill—have already signed up.
Last year 119,200 diners participated in Restaurant Week, which was more than double the 54,000 who dined out the previous year. And visits to the website nearly tripled with 103,943 unique visitors (versus 34,069 in 2006) with browsers viewing an average of 21 restaurant menus. Clearly there’s reason to expect another great turnout as the event continues to gain recognition and popularity. General information and registration forms are available at

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.