If you haven’t already heard, the 31st Anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic is this weekend. But should you be shut out of the tents or preferred not to shell out the money for the full weekend pass, hope is not lost for regional foodies.
This Father’s Day, bring your favorite bacon-lovin’ father, dad, son, boyfriend, et al, to the ultimate pork competition in the country—the Grand Cochon in Aspen. Held Sunday, June 16, at 3 p.m., this finale event, which takes place at the gorgeous Hotel Jerome (330 E. Main St.) , is the culmination of a 10-city regional competition where savvy chefs take a whole heritage-breed hog and create a pork-centric menu. Think Food & Wine Classic Grand Tasting – reserve wines, top chefs, artisan cocktails, regional beers, butcher demos—but smaller, cheaper (tickets start at $125) and all focused on pork, including pig-infused desserts. Is it not every man’s dream?
While the event is known for its party atmosphere and truly virtuosic dishes, the story behind Cochon is even more inspiring. According to Brady Lowe, founder of regional Cochon555, and the finale event in Aspen, Grand Cochon, the focus of this competition is to promote heritage pigs and breed diversity in local and national communities. It’s the only heritage breed pig culinary competition in the country.
“The main thing is,” he says, “it’s for a good cause. It speaks to local food and inspires to keep eating in the right direction.”
Each competing chef sources his or her own adolescent whole pig or a mature split hog, which provides a great opportunity for attendees to try pork from around the country and learn the nuances of how they were raised, what they were fed and they taste. Many of the chefs also bring the regional pig farmers along for the Grand Cochon ride.
“The success of Cochon 555 and Grand Cochon is attributed to one thing—flavor,” says Lowe. “(When the competition began), we set out on a mission to create a national conversation around heritage pigs and responsible agriculture, and today we celebrate with the greatest culinary event in the country – the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. It’s an honor to be there, and an honor to feed the foodies, the influencers, educators, and celebrated icons of our national food community.”
At the end of the night the judge’s panel of food expert and culinary stars, along with the audience, choose a winner. So who shall be crowned this year’s “King or Queen of Porc”? Only time, and many, many pork dishes, will tell.
Tickets for Grand Cochon are $150 per person for general admission and are available online. VIP tickets for $200 include early access to the floor. Attendees do not need a Food &Wine Classic in Aspen pass to attend Grand Cochon. This event is open to the public consumers with a Grand Cochon ticket.