Wondering where to go this winter? I must recommend you add Vail, Colorado to your list. Better yet, book your visit for April 3rd-6th, 2019. Elevate your palate and head to The Taste of Vail. This is my absolute favorite alpine food & wine festival, and trust me I’ve been to many. There are many reasons why this one gets my five star review….
Situated in the beautiful Vail Valley, here you will be able to indulge all your senses. Whether on the slopes, strolling around the Vail Village, Lionshead or in the finest restaurants and hotels. There is something for everyone in Vail and at this festival.
At the Taste of Vail you will get a great taste of local cuisine paired with vino from around the world. You will also get a fantastic taste of everything Vail has to offer. If you are an avid skier then you can take full advantage of Vail’s world famous slopes. If you don’t ski, I promise you will have plenty to do! The shopping in Vail is world famous too, so are the spas and the whole scene.
The Food & Wine
Be prepared to feast on cuisine from Vail’s top restaurants and finest chef’s throughout the festival. There is something for everyone. Here’s a list of the participating restaurants so you can get a great idea of what to look forward to. Wine vendors come from around the world so you can sample wines from well know labels and also discover new ones. The list of wineries is VERY well curated. The chef’s in Vail have been trained and have worked around the world, so there is no shortage of global influence with every morsel you bite into.
I always think you should try the best of everything & this is the way to do it! There are four signature events at this festival and you have a few options when you sign up. I suggest you go with the Signature Four Pass for $449. This includes: The Debut of Rosé, The American Lamb Cook-Off, The Mountain Top Tasting and The Grand Tasting. You can also buy each event as a single ticket. As you can see from my photos, the weather can change quickly in the mountains, so always keep your eye on the forecast and pack layers!
The Debut of Rosé is the perfect way to kick things off, it takes place during happy hour on Wednesday evening. If you are traveling alone, as a couple or with friends, I guarantee you will make a few new buddies at this fun & tasty event.
The American Lamb Cook-Off, this is the ULTIMATE Aprés Ski event. Wander around the Vail Village with wine in hand and taste local chef’s creations all including American Lamb as the signature ingredient. This is a judged event, so be sure to cast your votes. I’ve been a judge for this in 2017 & 2018 and I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we have tasting all the delish creations. It’s always very hard to choose the winners!
The Mountain Top Tasting Here you will get the BIGGEST views of the Rocky Mountain’s Gore Range. Located at 10,350 feet above sea level you will feel like you can touch the heavens. I always ski to this party, but you can also get a walking pass and access it easily from the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead. Make sure you are plenty hungry and thirsty (as with all of the events) because here you will enjoy even more gourmet food, beer, wine, and spirits. Make sure you bring your sunglasses and wear layers. Snow or shine this event will go on. I’ve been there on the sunniest days where I’ve stripped down to a tee shirt and the snowiest days where not one layer is coming off. It’s so fun no matter what!
The Reserve Grand Tasting and Auction Bring your cocktail dresses and suits to this event (but don’t worry if you want to stay casual, that’s perfectly OK too) This party is the grand dame of the TOV. This event is decadent and features all of the TOV’s wineries and restaurants, they will also feature an auction. The event will take place this year at the Marriot Mountain Resort.
Where to Stay
I stayed at the lovely Arrabelle at Vail Square. This hotel is located super close to the Eagle Bahn Gondola This hotel is very luxurious, but at the same time very inviting. Old world elegance meets modern amenities. They even have pet friendly rooms which made my stay extra special as I was able to bring Moose & Bo. They love to travel with their mom when they can. I booked my room under their Pampered Pet program. When we arrived my pups were well outfitted and of course pampered. They were provided their own water bowls, beds and homemade doggie treats. Ask and you shall receive…if your pooch needs a walk during festivities you can ask to have them walked by the kind Arrabelle staff.
Some more convenient and great hotel options to consider:
- The Four Seasons Vail (see my post on this favorite hotel here)
- The Sonnanalp
- The Lodge at Vail
Shopping in Vail
As you know, shopping is always an important part of my travels! Some of my all time favorite boutiques are in Vail including Gorsuch, Axels, Kemosabe and Perch. You must check them out if you go, all of these are located in the Vail Village pedestrian area.
Can’t get enough of The Taste of Vail? Then you must visit in the autumn too for the Fall Wine and Food Classic! They have another super fun weekend event September 20th & 21st, 2019 when the aspen leaves are bright golden. While there for the weekend, you also have to check out the Farmer’s Market and Art Show in the Vail Village on Sunday. It’s a great way to take in the fresh air, mountain views, mingle with new and old friends and shop for local art, crafts and more food & drink! Also look for their Farm to Table Dinners.