There are some outstanding dining options in the Roaring Fork Valley, but it is difficult to find a better one than the combination of charms found on a summer afternoon by the poolside patio of Element 47, the signature restaurant of The Little Nell hotel. The marriage of fine cuisine, the world’s most significant wines and a setting that is highlighted by the Living Wall of floral color created by Arabella of Busy Beavers Gardening is sublime. It is one reason why gourmands and oenophiles the world over regard Aspen as a world-class dining destination.카지노사이트
The month of September debuted with a gathering on that patio, dubbed as a Sommelier Lunch, which took the entire experience to another level. Under a shining sun, a crowd of 60 or so wine and food afficionados dined on cuisine created by New York City based, Michelin two-starred chef Gabriel Kreuther and private executive chef and cookbook author Bernard Guillas. The two chefs were here as part of the 2022 Little Nell Culinary Fest, which brings together chefs from the Relais & Châteaux global network of hotels and restaurants. Each of the dishes in the four-course (five if you include the sweet bites – and you must) was expertly paired with a selection of fine wines personally chosen by local master sommelier and director of Matsuhisa Aspen’s wine program, Jay Fletcher.
The Little Nell Culinary Fest was originally conceived last year by the Nell’s culinary director Matthew Zubrod as a way to work with some of the outstanding talent that being a part of the Relais & Châteaux brings.
“Four times a year the chefs from Relais & Châteaux get together on a call to share notes,” Zubrod said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to invite some of these great chefs to Aspen to cook and create some camaraderie?’ I love going to events and cooking with other chefs, and I just thought it would be great for our kitchen to get some other chefs in here for a weekend.”
That first year, 2021, the event took place during the June weekend that would have normally hosted the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, which was postponed until September due to the pandemic. It provided a welcome and elegant event in the June window. So, the plan was to keep the tradition alive, and the event provided a perfect coda to the summer dining season.
In addition to chef Kreuther, who came from his namesake restaurant in New York, and chef Guillas, the Culinary Fest welcomed Krista Garcia, executive chef at Hotel Wailea in Maui, two-Michelin-star chef de cuisine Richard Lee, and culinary director Paul Chung from Saison in San Francisco. They were joined in the kitchen by Oscar Carrasco, executive chef at The Little Nell and Meghan McGarvey, pastry chef at The Little Nell. It was an extraordinary lineup for the three-day celebration of food and wine.
Working with the team in the kitchen at Element 47, chefs Kreuther and Guillas created menus that reflected both their respective cuisine and the best of the season at hand. Having shared their plans for the dishes to be served, Fletcher expertly began to pair wines that reflected both the heritage of the chefs and the dynamics of the dishes.
“It’s a fun challenge,” said Fletcher about selecting the wines. “I knew chef Kreuther would be preparing a foie gras dish and wanted to pair a wine that would work well with it.”
His choice? A 2020 Weiser-Künstler Enkircher Ellergrub Spätlese Riesling from the Mosel region of Germany.
As we all admired the small ball of foie gras terrine rolled in marcona almond praline with an adjacent banana pain d’epices, chef Kreuther told us that he was raised in Alsace in eastern France and that the dish was a homage to the region. His restaurant, Gabriel, in mid-town Manhattan, is regarded as one of the best Alsatian restaurants in the world and just this year received the prestigious Grand Award from Wine Spectator for its prodigious wine list.
As Fletcher introduced the wine, he transported the entire patio on a trip to the Mosel.
“This wine is grown on slopes that are terraced with slate and are so steep that each vine has a pole where vineyard workers can hold onto, so they don’t fall down the mountain. It’s steeper than Aspen Mountain,” he explained.
His passion for not just this wine, but also the story behind it, captured the diners, who paused, glasses in hand, contemplating just what the Mosel must be like. It is these moments that amplify the joy of wine.바카라사이트
The entire lunch continued in that fashion. Chef Guillas prepared a diver scallop from Maine with local Olathe corn and fresh chanterelle mushrooms that Fletcher paired with a white Burgundy. Guillas was positively giddy as he thanked those in attendance.
“We are having so much fun in the kitchen,” he exclaimed as the scallops were being served. “I just want to thank you for letting us cook for you.”
Fletcher again took us on a virtual wine journey as he talked about the Premier Cru Drouhin “Clos des Mouches” Blanc 2019 that he had selected to pair with the scallops.
“This vineyard in the southern part of Beaune near Pommard is where the Drouhin family will take you if you are a guest. Clos is a walled vineyard, and ‘de Mouches’ means ‘of the flies,’ but it really refers to the bees,” Fletcher explained. “One hundred percent Chardonnay, 100 percent biodynamic, from one of the oldest Drouhin family vineyards, this wine is a great example of what white Burgundy can be.”
The pairing continued through two surf and turf main courses, including chef Kreuther’s chorizo-crusted Atlantic cod, which Fletcher paired with a Les Clans rosé from legendary winemaker Sacha Lichine’s vibrant vineyards at Château d’Esclans in Provence, France. The final entree was a wattle-seed-dusted elk loin with Palisade tart cherries from Colorado’s Grand Mesa.
For this, Fletcher offered the only red wine of the day, and, to me, it was the highlight of the wines — a Renee Rostaing Côte-Rôtie Cuvee “Ampodium” 2018. A big and bold Syrah from the Rhone, it was earthy and genuine — a perfect capper to an extraordinary luncheon.
As the diners ooh-ed and ah-ed over the splendid selection of desserts prepared by McGarvey and her pastry team at the Nell (and paired by Fletcher with a Tokaj from Hungary, naturally) the chefs came out in unison from the kitchen for a final toast. There were smiles all around as those in attendance rose to both honor and thank the chefs with an ovation. It seemed to me that no one was happier than chef Zubrod.
It is great when a plan comes together. Let’s make The Little Nell Culinary Fest an annual occasion.온라인카지노