Eating Adventures

The Best Slow Food Nations Events Through This Weekend

Slow Food Nations will bring food cultures from around North America to Denver this summer.
Slow Food Nations will bring food cultures from around North America to Denver this summer. Courtesy of Slow Food USA
Slow Food is coming to Denver this weekend with a three-day festival called Slow Food Nations. The Events page of the Slow Food Nations website presents a mind-boggling barrage of lectures, tours, demos, tastings, dinners and outdoor markets; the opening night festivities will land at tonight's Big Eat. Events are already starting to sell out, but there are many great ones still left. Here are our picks for some of the more entertaining and tasty things to do for a weekend of Slow Food.
click to enlarge Chef Jeffrey Wall knows his way around a pig. - WESTWORD
Chef Jeffrey Wall knows his way around a pig.
Thursday, July 13

Whole Beast Feast
Hearth & Dram
1801 Wewatta Street

The Whole Beast Feast is a five-course collaborative dinner between Hearth & Dram executive chef Jeffrey Wall, chef Jason Zygmont of the Treehouse Nashville, Bob Perry of the University of Kentucky Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Working Group, and Kevin Nashan of the Sidney Street Cafe in Saint Louis. Each will create a dish from a different section of a whole pig for a pre-dinner reception at 7 p.m., as well as for the main dinner at 8 p.m. Beverage pairings are also included in the $150 ticket price. The pork will be sourced from Corner Post Meats in Colorado Springs, while produce will be provided by Woodland Gardens, an organic grower in Athens, Georgia. Tickets are still available on the Slow Food Nations website, and a portion of proceeds will go to Slow Food Denver.

click to enlarge Slow Food Nations is a great excuse to check out Annette and the Stanley Marketplace. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Slow Food Nations is a great excuse to check out Annette and the Stanley Marketplace.
Danielle Lirette
Seasonal Food, Community Table
2501 Dallas Street, Aurora

If you haven't ventured to the Stanley Marketplace yet, tonight offers a great excuse to get there. Annette, a specialist in wood-fired cooking, is serving a four-course dinner prepared with seasonal ingredients "inspired by the ethos of Slow Food" and served at the charming restaurant's community table. For $65 per person (or $120 for two), guests will enjoy butter lettuce and tarragon salad with pickled onions, candied sunflower seeds and ricotta salata; grilled miso green beans with sesame and garlic; pork belly with cherry agrodolce, kale, onion butter and millet; and roasted chicken with Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar, spring onions and dandelion greens.
The price also includes one mezcal cocktail, and a separate wine pairing can be added for $30. Seatings are at 5:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and are limited to ten customrs per seating. Call the restaurant to see if any seats remain.

click to enlarge Join the Blue Bear for lunch on Friday, July 14. - JEFF TURNER AT FLICKR
Join the Blue Bear for lunch on Friday, July 14.
Jeff Turner at Flickr
Friday, July 14

Downtown Urban Farm Tour and Lunch

Blue Bear Farm at the Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street

You've seen the giant Blue Bear statue peering into the window of the Colorado Convention Center, but did you know that the big guy (or gal, perhaps) has its own urban farm? You can experience Blue Bear Farm, an urban farm located behind the Denver Center for Performing Arts, at 11 a.m. with a tour and lunch made with ingredients fresh from the dirt. Blue Bear is managed by Produce Denver, which bills itself as an "edible landscaping company dedicated to increasing and ensuring access to fresh, local, organic food." The three-course lunch, prepared by chef Bryan Zimmerman many different vegetable from the garden: Fairytale eggplant (a petite purple-and-white variety), tomatoes, arugula, dragon tongue beans, garbanzos, carrots and basil, to name a few. Tickets are thirty dollars each and there will also be a cash bar.

Colorado-Made Block Party
Larimer Square (Larimer Street Between 14th and 15th)
Slow Food Nations has teamed up with the Colorado Tourism Office to bring the Colorado-Made Block Party to Larimer Square. The Block Party celebrates Colorado farmers, ranchers, producers and chefs with a range of Colorado food demonstrations and tastings. There will also be a bar with beer, wine and spirits produced in the Centennial State. Tickets are $69 per person for the event, which runs from 6:30 to 8.30 p.m. on Friday, July 14.

click to enlarge The signs are already down at McCormick's, which served New Year's Eve dinner before closing. - MARK ANTONATION
The signs are already down at McCormick's, which served New Year's Eve dinner before closing.
Mark Antonation
Saturday, July 15

Slow Food Nations Film Cafe
Urban Farmer
1659 Wazee Street
Urban Farmer is a soon-to-open restaurant at the Oxford Hotel that is dedicating its space to the best short films from the first four years of the Flatirons Food Film Festival. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for movies, snacks and drinks. See the event's web page for a complete list of the films being screened — all of which are free.

Love the Earth, Defend the Future: Taking Action to Protect Our Food
Larimer Square (Larimer Street Between 14th and 15th)

Here's a chance to find out what you can do to help protect the future of slow food, from the leaders who have helped shape the movement for several decades. From 10 to 11 a.m., enjoy a discussion from Carlo Petrini, founder and president of Slow Food International; Alice Waters chef, author and founder of Chez Panisse; Ron Finley, known as the “the gangsta gardener”; Michel Nischan, chef, author and advocate for sustainable food systems and social equity through food; and Jack Johnson, musician and proponent for sustainable local food systems.

click to enlarge Slurp and swallow at Jax. - JAX FISH HOUSE
Slurp and swallow at Jax.
Jax Fish House
Oyster 101 Workshop
Jax Fish House
1539 17th Street

If you didn't make it to the Oyster & Shrimp Throwdown on Wednesday, catch Jax executive chef Sheila Lucero along with Nacio and Deckman back at Jax for the Slow Foods Oyster 101 Workshop on Saturday, July 15 at 11 a.m. You'll learn about oysters from three regions: Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Virginia. The $40 tickets (which include tastes of signature dishes from all three presenters) are still available for the workshop. You can pick up your ticket on the Slow Food Nations website.

Graniacs! An Ancient Grains Block Party
Larimer Square (Larimer Street Between 14th and 15th)

Several stations will be set up on Larimer Square from 3 to 5 p.m., where prominent bakers, including chef Kelly Whitaker of Basta in Boulder, will be cooking up grain-based specialties and giving demonstrations on kneading, milling and cooking. Tastings will include regional American breads made with flour from Eataly in New York City, as well as grilled flatbreads from the participating chefs. As a bonus, you'll get to mill and take home your own flour, along with recipes from the chefs. Tickets are $69 each; you can purchase them on the event website and see a list of other participants.

click to enlarge Drink smart, not hard at the Cooper Lounge on Sunday. - WESTWORD
Drink smart, not hard at the Cooper Lounge on Sunday.
Sunday, July 16

The Art of Day Drinking
Cooper Lounge at Union Station
1701 Wynkoop Street
"There’s not much better than being just a little buzzed on a beautiful and sunny day," say the organizers of this delightful offering. Learn the art of buzz maintenance (sometimes called philosophical drinking — meaning you never get too drunk to discuss philosophy) from Chad Michael George, 2016 Food & Wine Best New Mixologist, certified sommelier and co-owner of the Way Back and American Grind. This intimate cocktail-making workshop and "spirituous strategy session" will cover low-alcohol aperitifs and beer and wine cocktails. Then you'll get to make your own signature Pimm’s Cup. Forty bucks gets you in the door at 9:30 a.m for the one-hour session — just make sure to arrange transportation for the trip home, or hang out for other Slow Food events and keep your buzz going.

click to enlarge Jeffrey Wall (second from right) will guide you through a mushroom-cooking class. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Jeffrey Wall (second from right) will guide you through a mushroom-cooking class.
Danielle Lirette
Cooking Perfect Mushrooms
The Gallery Bar at Union Station
1701 Wynkoop Street

After filling up on naturally raised Colorado pork at Hearth & Dram on Thursday night, you'll want something a little lighter when next you see chef Jeffrey Wall. On Sunday, July 16, Wall will lead Cooking Perfect Mushrooms from 1 to 2:30 p.m., so you can learn how and where to buy mushrooms, as well as five simple steps to perfectly prepared them. The demonstration and tasting will include: roasted chanterelles, leeks and corn with butter and preserved lemon; hen of the woods with celeriac and aged vinegar; and glazed shiitake with bacon and potatoes Tickets are $40 each on the Slow Food Nations website. Don't go back to Hearth & Dram for this one; the chef will be leading the class at the Gallery bar at Union Station.

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