Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

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So I’m not sure how I got this lucky but I had the opportunity to go to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this year. And you know what? It was absolutely, positively freaking amazing! Every single bite and every single sip was better than the last. And the weekend was full of so many different experiences that I will never forget. It was so damn cool.

The Aspen Food & Wine Classic is a huge event that’s gone on for over 30 years now. It’s an event that includes cooking demonstrations, seminars, panel discussions and tastings featuring noted sommeliers and star chefs. You can easily walk into any Aspen restaurant and have a delicious meal, but it’s even easier to find a tasting or class or party anytime throughout the weekend when you’re at the Classic. And I was lucky enough to get an invite by American Express to attend the event and see all that Aspen has to offer…other than the obvious – I mean, you drive in past the airport filled with hundred of private jets. (lots of emoji eye rolls here because it’s BEAUTIFUL up there)

When we first arrived in Aspen, we checked into the Molly Gibson Lodge which is right on Main St, in walking distance to all the restaurants and shops. It was such a convenient location, we only ever took a car when we were in heels and knew we couldn’t last long when trekking through the mountains. The Molly Gibson is a sister hotel to Hotel Aspen and is one of the more affordable yet comfortable hotels in Aspen. If you’ve ever been to Aspen, you know it’s one of the most expensive areas in the country and hotels are no exception. Some hotels can cost up to $1000/night depending on the time of year. But the Molly Gibson Lodge sits at around $200/night while serving you breakfast every morning and keeping you close to town. We had 4 ladies on the trip with 3 guys tagging along so we had adjoining rooms, one with a kitchen and living room which felt totally comfortable the entire weekend with our big group. And the breakfast was awesome. Every morning, I would wake up by 6am (because God forbid my body ever lets me sleep in), work on my blog then grab coffee and fruit before heading out to the Classic. And the staff was so incredibly friendly and welcoming, too!

OMG. Why do I talk so much? Ok. Back to the weekend. After checking into the hotel the first night, we headed out to a special dinner event with Glenlivit Scotch. They were serving scotch and water with orange for cocktails then we were presented with three glasses of scotch, all aged differently, to try with each course of our meal. I’ll be real here – I think scotch is one of the grossest tastes in the world. But I tried to put my poker face on and stay openminded to maybe enjoying expensive scotch. I did not. But I tried. Luckily, the meal was AWESOME! They served beef carpaccio, watermelon apple salad, salmon and quinoa, and the most beautiful cake. Since the cake wasn’t gluten free, I simply ate the thick chocolate shell that was wrapped around the cake. And it was wonderful.

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

The next morning, we headed straight to the American Express Platinum House. So I’ll try to give you the best visual I can. American Express rented this GIGANTIC mansion in the hills of Aspen to host an ongoing event throughout the weekend. Both mornings started off with Soul Cycle classes outside overlooking the mountains, followed by breakfast, meditation, treats and tastings by renowned Chef Stephanie Izard, cocktails, manicures, dry bar styling, and an amazing after-party! The house was always filled with people from all over – chefs, bloggers, and American Express cardholders. I even got to meet my FAVORITE food blogger/photographer Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. I totally geeked out and felt like a total toolbag.

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time
PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time
PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

 

American Express seriously crushed it when they chose Stephanie Izard and her amazing staff and chefs because they KILLED it. Everything she made was so incredibly tasty and the food never stopped coming. As soon as a tray ran out, a new one was placed down. She had breakfast served every morning which included scones, fruit, mini frittatas, bacon, sausage skewers, breakfast fried rice, and a ton of other items to choose from. Everything was so tasty, especially after a super sweaty Soul Cycle class. Think about how sweaty you get in a normal air conditioned class, then put yourself on a mountain at 10,000 feet where you can’t breathe and you’re a foot away from the sun. I am definitely sporting some cute sports bra tan lines after the weekend.

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

When I got the invite to this weekend event, I totally thought I would be riding solo like a did to the rewardStyle conference recently. I’m all about being an independent woman, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to when you’re going to events knowing no one. And that would have been a bummer. Luckily, a friend a grew up with across the street from reached out to me and told me she was going and had a group of friends going, as well. All bloggers! So I stayed with Abby of Denver Darling, Leah from Eat Pray Wear Love, and Lacey of My Boring Closet and all of them were so sweet and welcoming into their little girl group! And how damn cute are they?!

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

So when we weren’t taking a Soul Cycle class or getting our hair did (or constantly eating), we dropped in on some of the classes going on throughout the weekend. One event we accidentally wandered into ended up being a Wine & Sake tasting. We were starving when we walked in, which makes no sense since all we did was eat and drink, so I immediately ate the entire plate in front of me (minus the bread) but then had no food pairings to taste with the wine and sake. Aw well – food is still just as bomb without alcohol! With all the wine and sake in front of us, we also had spitters next to us to use if need be. Many people were using it but we stayed strong and just drank it all. The wine, that is. I actually loved the wine. The sake – no thank you. Too many sake bombs in my past life.

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

The last lunch I went to was a lunch put on by Amex Trade and Blackberry Farm. I took Abby with me as my +1 to this beautiful park by the river where they served small bites and a lunchbox of goodies! At this event, there were a ton of familiar faces, all people I’ve seen on the Food Network and The Today Show cooking up a storm for the hosts. It was pretty cool to see all those faces that you’ve seen on the Food Network a million times! The lunch was filled with pork bell bites, little sandwiches, the best bruschetta I’ve ever tastes (again, ate that without the bread) and lots and lots of Rosé. Rosé was definitely the drink of choice around most events throughout the weekend.

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

This entire weekend event gave me more than just an amazing experience and a couple extra pounds – it gave me new Colorado friends, which was pretty damn cool. All the bloggers I hung out with and their husbands and boyfriends were so fun to be around, plus everyone I met from American Express was amazing. It was such a cool experience and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another year that I get lucky enough to get an invite once again! And if you ever get the opportunity to make it up to Aspen, whether it’s for the Classic or just for fun, get up there. It’s absolutely stunning. And drive Independence Pass. It’s the most beautiful route ever!

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

But in the meantime and hopefully until next year, I’ll have all the memories through this blog post to look back on! And outfits, duh. Just in case you missed any of the looks I shared on instagram over the weekend, here’s a quick breakdown of all of them!

PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

Looks From The Event


PaleOMG - Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time

More Looks From The Event

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Huge thank you to American Express for inviting me to the Classic and letting me experience such an amazing weekend. And thank you to Molly Gibson Lodge for hosting us!

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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7 thoughts on “Going to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic for the First Time”

  1. 1. WTF was the deal with Adam’s doll A.J. on the Bachelorette? Can this be touched on in the next podcast?
    2. Please also talk about the Bachelor in Paradise scandal… and apparently it’s back on!
    3. I’m team Josiah.

  2. Oh, I’d also love to hear about/see how you organize your closet, and if/how you purge items. You seem to always be wearing new things, and I’m curious how that goes for your closet space, and how you select new or get rid of old items… I always seem to have a closet bursting at the seems but wear the same things over and over, or feel like I have nothing to wear.

  3. I would love to go to this next year and have a few questions. I’d be flying in from out of state… Is renting a car necessary or can you pretty much walk everywhere or Uber? Also, is there a weekend pass you purchase, or do you pay to get into each event? Or are the events free? The classic has been on my bucket list ever since I learned about it when I first started watching Top Chef… Reading about your experience pushed me over the edge… I’ve got to check it out!

    1. i honestly didn’t move my car the entire time! you can walk almost anywhere or just get an uber or taxi. and many of the events have a free car service going where i would just tip! and you definitely need to buy a pass ahead of time, the tickets sell out really fast. i’m not sure when they go on sale, but i do know that they run out quickly!

      1. Juli,
        I will be attending for the first time this summer. How did you receive your invite to the private American Express events? Are only bloggers and chefs invited or do we still have a chance if we are Amex card holders?

        Also, we are looking at staying at the St. Regis. Do you feel this is good pick? This is literally a bucket list item of mine and my husband surprised me with tickets for Christmas. We will spare no expense because this is a once in a lifetime event!!! Any insider knowledge you may offer me would be GREATLY appreciated!!

        Thank you

        1. i was invited by American Express to document the event. But i believe if you are a AMEX platinum cardholder, you can go to those events! and yes, i’ve heard the st regis is an amazing hotel in town! i haven’t been there myself but i’ve heard great things!

  4. This literally sounds like what blogger dreams are made of. I will proclaim that one day my blog, Essentially Healed, will make it there!

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