I’m not sure where February went, but this month looks like it’s going to go just as fast with stints in Aspen, Estes Park, Vail, Denver and Palm Springs.On Sunday, I’m headed to the Four Seasons Resort Vail for the ultimate culinary competition that is Cochon 555.
After experiencing its Colorado debut at the Ritz-Carlton, Denver in 2011 and the Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in 2012, I have yet to experience a foodie feast that compares. It’s a one-of-a-kind traveling culinary circus that stops in ten cities (i.e. New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles) where pigs take center ring. A panel of judges, which also takes guest votes into consideration, selects the winning chef in each city who then descend upon Aspen to compete for the coveted title of “Prince or Princess of Porc” during the Classic.
It is the tour’s 5th anniversary this year, but the number five is always the theme. And as for “cochon,” it means “pig” in French.
Five chefs: This year’s lineup will showcase meat miracle workers Lon Symensma of Denver’s ChoLon, Alex Seidel of Denver’s Fruition Restaurant, Hosea Rosenberg of Boulder’s Blackbelly Catering, Jason Harrison of Vail’s Flame Restaurant and Kelly Liken of Vail’s Restaurant Kelly Liken.
Five pigs: Tender Belly, a locally based meat company, will supply each chef with his or her own heritage-breed pig from small farms in Iowa and Colorado. Above and beyond general gluttony, Cochon 555 does in fact have a purpose: to support responsible family farming. Since its inception in 2009, 35,000 people have tasted heritage pigs – more than at any other event in the country, charities have received more than $270,000 and more than $400,000 has gone directly to local, sustainable farmers across the country.
Five dishes: Each chef will slaughter and present all 200 lbs of meat to 400 expected guests, creating a complete menu.
The result? One serious celebration of swine (and wine, and whiskey). The spread will be paired with varieties from five small family-owned wineries. To celebrate five years, Cochon 555 has also added five bourbons to the lineup. Guests will sample the barrels of Templeton Rye, Breckenridge Bourbon, High West, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses. The addition of the “Perfect Manhattan Bar” showcasing Hudson Whiskey, Eagle Rare, Luxardo and Camparo Antica should successfully send us all over the edge.
Tickets are still available ($200 VIP; $125 general admission) and snow is on the way, so take a last minute weekend jaunt to the mountains. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for the trip.
*Vegetarians/vegans/pescatarians…you might want to sit this one out.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
4:00 pm (VIP); 5:00 pm (general admission)
Four Seasons Resort Vail
One Vail Road
Vail, CO 81657