For more than 3 decades the event has attracted international visitors and locals to the Colorado Mountain Town

By Eileen Ogintz

Denverite David Talon was on the lookout at the Taste of Vail. He was looking for old friends from his years living in this Colorado mountain community.

“This is one of my favorite events. I bump into people I haven’t seen in 20 years,” he said.

East Coasters Katie Upton from Boston and Stephanie Burns from New Haven CT, meanwhile, chose the multi-day event, now in its 32ndyear, for a girls’ getaway. The two aren’t skiers but love wine and good food. “This was a way to try a lot of what’s here,” Upton said.

The streets of Vail Village were crowded with families, couples, strollers, and dogs during the first week in April. They were sampling delectable bites from local and visiting chefs and nearly 100 top wineries at the Après in the Streets Event.

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“Great people watching,” said Frances Perla who lives in Vail.

During the Nose to Tail Chef Challenge an elite group of 16 Vail and guest chefs went head-to-head in a culinary face-off featuring Colorado’s premier Fitch Ranch grass-fed, humanely raised beef. Chefs were given an unknown cut of beef and used their skills to create inventive and delectable dishes. Winners were selected by an expert judging panel.

Alongside the chef challenge were nearly 100 top wineries from across the country including Buffalo Trace Bourbon at its own ice bar. New this year at the Après Event was the Port Wine Fest that featured Port and other wines from over 40 Portuguese producers, authentic fare from top Portuguese Chefs Telmo Faria of Uma Casa and Ishmael de Souza of Reunion Bread and music from Portugal. 

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1st Place went to 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill and YouthPower 365, Juniper Berries and Sambuca Sirloin Gravlax with Potato Waffles, Yuzu Caviar and Micro Greens

2nd Place to Leonora, Tongue & Cheek Salsa Verde, Lime Crema, Pickled Onions, Salsa Roja and Cilantro.

“Après in the Streets event was elevated to a new level of culinary excellence. Not only do we have amazing local talent in the Vail Valley participating, we also introduced an exciting element with guest chefs from across the U.S. and Mexico to showcase their culinary prowess,” said Angela Mueller, executive director of Taste of Vail.

Thousands come to Vail for this event which includes seminars (we even got a lesson in French caviar) wine-pairing dinners (six courses!) and of course spring skiing at one of the nation’s premier resorts.

At one seminar on Island wines, wine expert Alder Yarrow, publisher of the highly rated Vinography, reassured the attendees that they shouldn’t worry about correct wine and food pairing. “Drink whatever you want with whatever you want to eat. Cheers to that,” he said

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Kudos to the Lodge at Vail where we stayed for welcoming us and our pooch and serving up an excellent breakfast buffet.

“ Not only can guests enjoy the majestic backdrop of our beloved town but also experience new tastes, flavors, and education from our world-class wine

and culinary stars,” said Angela Mueller. She noted there were guest chefs from Montana, South Carolina , Mexico, and Portugal. (The distinctive and delicious Portuguese custard tarts (Pasteis de Nata) were very popular at the Après event.

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Chefs were also showing off their prowess at the Debut of Rose event where guests were sampling over 100 Rose varietals. (I especially loved the lobster rolls!)

Held at 10,350 feet above sea level, the food and beverage tastings continued at the Mountain Top Tasting; The Grand Tasting enabled Vail Chefs to display their most creative fare alongside wineries. 5is event offers

Taste of Vail has partnered with CHOW, an organization that supports wellness within the

hospitality industry and improves the lives of our community through shared stories, skills,

and resources. CHOW representatives will be on-site at all Taste of Vail signature events

where attendees can learn more about how they are working to make impactful changes

to support workers and veterans in the food, beverage, and hospitality community.

There was one young, disappointed eventgoer. While Scott Evans was enjoying himself, his eight-year-old son was sorry there were no turkey legs.