Aspen has the tendency of being a little bit behind the curve when it comes to cultural trends. Whether its music, fashion, art, or drinking (even the home of the Food & Wine Classic was a bit slow on the mixology uptake), you can pretty much guarantee that your friends in cities like San Francisco and New York have heard it, worn it, appreciated it and drank it all months if not years before you.
But there’s one trend where living in a tiny Colorado town tucked into the Rocky Mountains really pays off: the locavore movement. The plethora of farms, gardens, and spectacular scenery right here in our own valley to Delta, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Crawford and beyond, and the accompanying acute awareness of man’s impact on the natural environment, has led to many in the Roaring Fork Valley to be early adopters of the local food movement.
Edible Aspen, a quarterly magazine that celebrates the abundance of local foods in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond, has been around since 2007. And organizations like Slow Food Roaring Fork have been around for years with a mission of promoting pure food that is local, seasonal and organically grown.
So it was no surprise when an email touting Aspen’s Eat Drink Local Week landed in my inbox. The event, running Aug. 24-30, is an invitation to Aspen’s denizens and visitors to head out to restaurants all week and connect with local farmers and food and beverage artisans, all while celebrating the bounty of local produce, dairy, meat, beer, wine and spirits. Each of the participating restaurants will feature one or more food dish or drink for sale during the week that are primarily made of identified, locally sourced ingredients.
Interested diners need only make a reservation at one of the participating restaurants, and ask for the Eat Drink Local special while there. The kick-off to the Edible Aspen-sponsored week will be at the Limelight Lodge on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 3-5:30 p.m. Join chefs and restaurants for a variety of gourmet pizzas made with locally sourced ingredients, as well as local meets, cheese, and drinks. Admission is free and open to the public.
Participating restaurants include Chef’s Club inside the St. Regis, Ajax Tavern, Prospect inside the Jerome, Aspen Brewing Company, Jimmy’s, Pine Creek Cookhouse, Element 47, 39 Degrees, Plato’s, 520 Grill, Aspen Emporium and Flying Circus, Louis Swiss Pastry, Poppycock’s, Rustique, Cache Cache, Roxy’ Market, Ute City Bar and Grill, Syzygy, Justice Snow’s, Hickory House, and L’Hostoria. The most updated list of restaurants is available at www.ediblecommnities.com , along with Eat Drink Local menu items that have already been submitted.
The week-long event offers an excellent opportunity to try out a new restaurant or return to an old favorite, both armed with the knowledge that the food you’re eating came from within a couple hundred miles of the dinner table.