Denver’s unique mix of natural surroundings and urban attractions make it one of the top destinations in the Rockies. Visitors will fall in love with the Highland Neighborhood, which features beautiful Victorian-era homes and buildings, art galleries, and some of the best restaurants in the city. Whether you're playing the day away with your family at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park or catching a Rockies game Coors Field, Denver has something for everyone.
The Denver Food and Wine Festival is Denver's premier epicurean and oenophile gathering. The event takes place September 5-10 at the locations across Downtown Denver. The Grand Tasting will feature more than 40 of Colorado’s top restaurants, 700 wines, beers, and spirits, and the opportunity to meet many of the state’s top culinary minds. Rise and Dine will treat attendees to some of the city’s top breakfast food and mimosas, and will also include the World’s Largest Bloody Mary Bar. The Shakedown will feature celebrity bartenders competing to see who has the Best Cocktail, and celebrity chefs will battle for the title of Best Bite. All of the proceeds from the event will go to charitable organizations including Denver Post Community Foundation, Kroenke Sports Charities, and Colorado ProStart. We got the opportunity to interview Chelsea Coe, a representative for the event, to learn more about this food and wine tasting experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
CC: The Denver Food + Wine Festival (DF+WF) began in 2004 here in the Mile High City. The very first DF+WF was a one-day ticketed event, its signature draw, The Grand Tasting.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
CC: The multi-day festivities draw more than 6,000 attendees.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
CC: There is an event for everyone at DF + WF. For couples, Dinner Under the Stars offers a romantic evening of al fresco dining. Grab a group of friends for The ShakeDown, a cocktail and bites competition featuring live music. The Grand Tasting features bites from the best Colorado has to offer and more than 800 different pours of wine and spirits. The kids will love Rise + Dine, with yummy breakfast options from the state’s hottest brunch joints (and the world’s largest Bloody Mary bar for mom and dad, boasting more than 65 toppings).
RAL: What makes this event unique?
CC: The DF+WF is the only food and wine festival of which all proceeds directly benefit charities. This year, all proceeds from the DF+WF benefit three non-profit community partners: The Denver Post Community Foundation; Kroenke Sports Charities; and Colorado ProStart, operated by the Colorado Restaurant Association. Currently serving more than 900 students from 27 high schools across the state, the Colorado ProStart program is a restaurant and hospitality management, culinary arts and business economics curriculum that provide high school and college academic credit, scholarships and paid work experience opportunities for students. Past graduates from Colorado ProStart include local chefs Andrea Knight of The Noshery and Matthew Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
CC: DF+WF’s Grand Tasting unites the region’s culinary leaders – award winning chefs, mixologists and wine professionals – for a day of exploring and celebrating Colorado’s food and beverage traditions. The all-inclusive layout allows guests to explore creations from more than 40 top restaurants and more than 700 different pours from wine and spirit professionals. Additionally, the Grand Tasting will feature the 5280 Home VIP Lounge, where specialty wines selected by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Master Sommeliers will be paired with 12 upscale restaurants for an exclusive experience. Celebrity, award-winning chefs will offer demonstrations on the Wolf Specialty Appliance Culinary Stage and guests can participate in a silent auction.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
CC: Don’t miss a demonstration by nationally acclaimed pastry chef Gale Gand, a two-time James Beard Award winner, Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame inductee, and co-founder of renowned Chicago restaurant, TRU. For eight years, Gand was the host of “Sweet Dreams,” Food Network’s first program devoted to desserts. She continues to regularly appear on television’s more popular shows, including Top Chef, Iron Chef, Oprah, Martha Stewart, the Rachael Ray Show, and more.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
CC: The 2017 DF+WF has an exclusive partnership with SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown, which is offering overnight guests of the festival a special rate of $179 per night.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
CC: Yes, it allows guests to experience the best in Colorado and Denver’s culinary scene while supporting the future of the industry.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
CC: For the first time, the 2017 DF+WF – presented by co-sponsors, the Colorado Restaurant Association and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Colorado – has curated a group of lauded Denver chefs, acting as consultants to oversee the festival’s development. Participating chefs include Tom Coohill of Coohills Restaurant, Spencer White and Alex Figura of Dio Mio, and Jenna Johansen of Epicurean Culinary Group. Various DF+WF events feature the best in Colorado’s restaurants paired with the finest wine and spirits, dinners, tastings and culminating with the festival’s signature event, The Grand Tasting. Each event highlights the impact of the hospitality industry and celebrates Denver as a culinary destination.
For more information about the Denver Food and Wine Festival, please visit the event website.