by Bernard Sun
[Bernie is an engaging and experienced sommelier in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s group of New York restaurants. After he’d turned me on to great bargains at Matsugen, ABC Kitchen, and Jean-Georges, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to blog about. Turned out he was leaving town for a couple of events … and here’s his report. - mb]
The Food and Wine Classic in Aspen sees several thousand attendees descend onto the tiny (and tony) town (altitude, 8,000 ft.) to hobnob with a legion of familiar names and faces from worlds of food and wine. There are 30-plus seminars on cooking over the course of four days, and no fewer than 26 different seminars about wine, beer, and spirits, including a few “reserved” tastings.
Some of the best events, however, were not on the official program listing. I was invited to – actually I stumbled upon – one of these, simply by being at the right place at the right time (this happened to be 2 a.m., while I was still adjusting not only to the drinking but to the altitude). This was an impromptu brown bag blind tasting challenge in the basement with about a dozen people including my friends Aldo Sohm, Paul Greco, Brett Zimmerman, Paolo Domeneghetti, Brad Groper, Allison Domeneghetti, and Jose Andres, who had just finished carving a leg of Iberico ham for the crowd. This is a pretty serious group of tasters in broad daylight, but how good are you long after midnight after working all day and drinking for hours?