Snapshots from Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

By Camille Styles
Aspen Food & Wine

Last weekend we went to Aspen for the Food & Wine Classic, and though I say it every year (this was my third at the Classic), 2016 was the most fun ever. From the welcome party (I hugged Jacques Pépin!) to the inspiring demos (Marcus Samuelsson was my fave) almost every day held bucket list moments, and I highly encourage any of you fellow food and wine fanatics to check the experience off your list at some point in the near future. Click through the slides for my favorite snaps from the trip!

Aspen is one of the coolest towns in America, largely due to the fact that you can walk everywhere. Plus there are more incredible restaurants in a 1/2 mile radius than any other place I’ve experienced. This was the first year we’ve had two kids in tow, and it was fun to squeeze in ice cream dates and park visits between the festival events.

Jacques Pépin is one of my culinary idols and I’ve loved seeing his demos in years past — so I couldn’t have been more excited to spend a few minutes chatting with him at the first night’s welcome party. He’s every bit as charming, sweet, handsome, and perfectly French as you’d imagine.

On our first full day, we checked out the demos and headed to the Grand Tasting Pavilion where we sampled food (and so much wine) from incredible restaurants and vineyards around the world.

We took a break from eating to head up to the top of Aspen Mountain on the Silver Queen, the longest gondola in the world. The 3,267 vertical rise is a fun 14 minutes and definitely a huge hit for Henry and Phoebe.

Top of the summit family snap.

Back from the mountain, we party-hopped and sampled cocktails — this is the Garden Party Punch with Botanist Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, strawberry, cucumber, club soda, and fresh mint (I took notes so I could recreate it back at home!)

Poolside at The Little Nell, where I attended a dinner prepared by Tyler Florence. The menu was inspired by his Southern roots: an elevated take on fried chicken, cornbread, pulled pork, and the most incredible cake topped with tiny mountain strawberries.

So happy that one of my blogging besties Erin was also at the Classic. Since she’s based in San Francisco, it was a rare opportunity for us to hang out, and we caught up over wine at…

…my favorite lunch spot in Aspen, Casa Tua. I can (and did) sit on this patio with a glass of rosé and plate of burrata for an entire afternoon.

Speaking of burrata, we had the most standout dinner at The Wild Fig, and I cannot wait to make my own version of this fig, prosciutto, and burrata appetizer, drizzled with balsamic and served with thick slices of grilled bread.

Saturday, we headed to the Maroon Bells to enjoy a morning spent exploring and learning about foraging with Chef Cornelius Gallagher and the Celebrity Cruises team.

That view! It was beyond worth it to take the trip 30 minutes outside Aspen to see such a stunning vista.

Lunch prepared using ingredients foraged from the meadow (and Aspen Farmers Market) by Cornelius Gallagher.

Major cheese board inspiration to bring back home with me.

Henry was a trooper at the Aspen Farmer’s Market — and Adam got a major workout.

Phoebe was obsessed with the farmer’s market goats and alpacas!

The big takeaway: if you have to choose one culinary event to go to next year, make it this one. It’s such an incredible mix of inspiration, celebrity chefs, beautiful nature, delicious food, and wines from all over the world — there’s really nothing like it. Hope to see y’all at the Classic in 2017!

*this photo by nick tininenko/getty images for food & wine