Obsessive eaters, professional winos and star chefs commune in Aspen for the Food & Wine Classic

Starting today, the glitterati of the food world will descend upon Aspen, when that glitter gulch town uncorks the Food & Wine magazine Classic, four days of over-the-top gluttony overrun with super-star chefs and their wide-eyed Food Network groupies who fork over nearly $1,200 to catch a glimpse of Mario "Meatless Monday" Batali's unfashionable orange Crocs, which clung to him like EVOO on Rachel Ray during last year's blowout.

But it was last year's lamb roast, a shindig hosted by Spanish chef José Andrés, who never stopped cooking or chatting with guests, that was the Classic's tour de force. Andrés is returning this year, as are cohorts Jacques Pépin, David Chang, Giada De Laurentiis, Thomas Keller and Batali, along with newcomer, and local kitchen magician Alex Seidel, chef/owner of Fruition and a 2010 Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef winner.

Tickets to the Classic, which usually fly out the door faster than you can say "sticker shock," are still available at www.foodandwine.com/promo/classic-in-aspen.

But if you can't fork over the cash, I'll be serving up reports from the classic right here on Cafe Society as well as Twitter. Sign up at twitter.com/cafewestword if you don't want to miss a morsel.

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