With the holiday shopping in full swing, Eater surveyed the most attractive Denver options that are rooted in the restaurant and dining community. For the food and restaurant fanatic in your life, skip the gift certificate and kitchen gadgets and consider these five ideas.
Favorite treats from local chefs.
Some of the highlights include the newly launched peach-wood smoked bacon made by chef Justin Brunson's Denver Bacon Company, available now at Masterpiece Deli, the Red Pepper Jelly made by Frasca's Lachlan Mackinnon-Pattersonusing a family recipe, the Hot Chocolate created by James Beard nominee pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom of Spuntino, and the French macarons baked fresh daily at EDGE Restaurant's by pastry chef Christopher Jordan.
There are several food and wine events that will unfold in Colorado in the next six months. Among them, three stand out. On January 30, Frasca Food and Wine is hosting chef Mathew Accarrino and sommelier Shelly Lindgren of SPQR for a special dinner that costs $150 per person. Cochon 555 is coming to Vail on Sunday, March 10 and features chef Kelly Liken. Taste of Vail, a beloved spring food and wine festival showcasing the finest chefs in Vail and the nation's top vintners is scheduled for April 4- 6, 2013. And then there is the big daddy of them all, a bucket-list item for many food lovers, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, which will take place June 14-16, 2013.
The EatDenver deck.
For $50, get a deck of cards with $520 worth of dining deals at restaurants in Denver. This deal is put together by Eat Denver, an association of restaurants organized to promote the value of independent dining in our community. The dining deck features 52 dining cards for $10 off food at independently-owned restaurants like Olivea, Mizuna, Coohills Linger, Vesta Dipping Grill, TAG, Luca d' Italia, Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendome, Phat Thai, and Jonesy's Eat Bar. The cards can be used from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. The decks can be purchased on the Eat Denver website or at all three Tattered Cover locations.
The Wine Locker.
A newly launched program available at al Lado to please the wine geek. For $100 customers can get three carefully selected bottles of wine, picked by sommelier Kelly Berger, and stored in a private locker for three months. Wine choices include the Jordan Cabernet which is on the al Lado wine menu priced at $80 for a single bottle. Owners of the locker can come in and drink the bottles with dinner or send friends, clients or colleagues in, tell them "just ask for my private stock." This can be purchased online or at al Lado.
Classes and Cook Books
A highlight of cooking classes is SLICED, the sushi-making class at Izakaya Den, where guests learn to create all styles of sushi rolls and nigiri sushi. Other classes to keep an eye open for are spirit classes at Williams & Graham and butchery classes by Mark DeNittis at Cook's Street Cooking School. The local cookbook that keeps up with the times is the Luca d'Italia electronic cookbook from Frank Bonanno, an easy download from the internet. Other local cookbooks include Vesta's Beyond the Sauce by chef Matt Selby, The Perfect Bite from Rioja's chef and co-owner Jen Jasinski, and the Colorado Organic cookbook, a collection of recipes by several chefs from Hugo Matheson, Patrick DuPays, and Teri Rippeto, among others.