Mountains of food and wine at the Taste of Vail

You know that spring has sprung when the crest of Vail Mountain morphs from a skier's powdered paradise into an al fresco grazing ground for foodniks and oenophiles, a transformation that takes place every year during the Taste of Vail, a three-day gastronomic romp that begins today.

This year's gustatory blowout, which continues through Saturday, includes a seminar on umami, an aphrodisiac program, wine-and-spirits seminars, après-ski tastings, beer lunches, a Colorado lamb cook-off, food demonstrations and a high-altitude mountaintop picnic.

Several guest chefs, cookbook authors and wine geeks, including the always flamboyant Josh Wesson and local kitchen genius Jennifer Jasinski, chef/owner of Rioja and Bistro Vendome, are all part of the culinary lineup, which concludes with a gut-swelling grand tasting, followed by live music and dancing to shake off all those calories. Tickets and passes to the Taste of Vail, the proceeds of which benefit Vail Valley charities, can be purchased at www.tasteofvail.com.

For information on dozens of culinary events around town, visit our online Food & Drink listings.

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