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Abundance, Smoke, and Sunshine Defined This Year’s Heritage Fire

Over 3,200 pounds of meat was cooked.

Fish, rabbits, cows, goats, pigs, and more were cooked on showcase spitfires and served to hundreds of attendees at Heritage Fire in Snowmass last weekend.

The event showcased over 30 notable chefs and butchers with a focus on Colorado talent, each grilling heritage-breed animals from area farms like Aspen Nature and Boulder Lamb, outdoors, at the base of the mountain. Participating chefs included Kelly Whitaker of Basta, Arik Markus of Fate Brewing Company, Linda Hampsten Fox of the upcoming Bindery, and Chicago chef John Manion of El Che. Dishes were paired with wines from producers like Kosta Browne, Cirq, and Silver Oak plus spirits from Breckenridge Distillery, Angostura, and Courvoisier.

Heritage Fire arrived to Colorado in a peculiar way. For five years, the FOOD & WINE Classic ended festivities with the separately ticketed event that is Grand Cochon. A national pig-centric cook-off, the event squeezed into the tail end of the three day festival and gathered 10 chefs who won their regional competitions plus revelers who were still standing after three days of gorging on great meals and plenty of drinks in the posh mountain town. In 2015, Grand Cochon (which this year will take place in Chicago) took its toys and moved to Snowmass, bringing along Heritage Fire, which returned for the third year last Saturday.

The Snowmass feast for the eye not just the belly was open to families with kids and it was much more accessible price-wise than its Aspen competitor. Chefs went all out on their grilling displays and shared the simplest yet most thoughtful dishes with guests who also got to witness a butchery demonstration from Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe. Other highlights were the ramen bar and the outlandish display of doughnuts from chef Ashley Jenkins of Viceroy Snowmass.

Eater photographer Jennifer Olson shared a visual tour.