Fun for Foodies in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado

Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado (PRWEB) July 08, 2014

Colorado’s Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley not only is an outdoor recreation mecca, it’s a paradise for people who love savoring incredible meals, sampling local spirits and brews, attending culinary events and farmers’ markets, and checking out new restaurants and coffee houses.

Culinary Events

Tour de Forks, the delectable annual gourmet dining series presented by Center for the Arts Crested Butte, runs from late June through Sept. 5. Food and architectural enthusiasts can select from 20 events, visiting a variety of private homes and dining on epicurean delights prepared by accomplished chefs. One evening may feature a private concert with folk trio Red Molly or up-and-coming country music group Due West. A luxurious brunch finds participants up the Ohio Creek Valley, and another day is reserved for adventure with a hike through private lands to the ruins of Cloud City with regional historian Duane Vandenbusche and a gourmet lunch served al fresco in the aspen forests.

Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival returns this summer better than ever on July 10 – 13 with several wine seminars, a Celebrity Chef Tour dinner with the James Beard Foundation at Uley’s Cabin (featuring host chef Kate Ladoulis and guest chefs Troy Guard, Lon Symensma and Eric Jaeger), a winemaker dinner and dessert extravaganza at private residences, wine hike and gourmet picnic lunch, and an outdoor grand tasting. From “Man Enough to Drink Pink” to “Thin-Skinned Red Wines,” there are topics to please most anyone during six wine seminars and a mixology session held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the “Bursting with Bubbles Champagne Brunch” at Crested Butte’s new Bonez restaurant spotlights champagnes from around the world and includes a sabering demonstration.

Get into the spirit of autumn with the annual Mt. Crested Butte Chili & Beer Festival held on Sept. 6 at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area. Heat up by sampling great chili prepared by area cook-off contestants, cool off with beers poured by more than 25 microbreweries and savor live music all afternoon. Tickets are $25 for early-bird purchases and $30 at the door. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., beer starts being poured at noon and the festival wraps up at 4 p.m.

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets in downtown Gunnison and Crested Butte are favorite places to shop for fresh regional produce, preserves, baked goods, meat, cheese, arts and crafts, and other delicious treats on summer and fall weekends. The Gunnison Farmers’ Market also offers kids’ activities and takes place on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. from now through Oct. 4, before moving indoors at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center from Oct. 11 – Nov. 1. On Sundays, from now through Oct. 12, Crested Butte Farmers’ Market runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and is held next to Artist of the West Elk’s AWEfest on nine weekends.

What’s New

There are several new culinary options in the valley, including a market that sells only local and Colorado items. Gunnison’s newest restaurant is Blue Mesa Grill, located adjacent to the newly remodeled The Inn at Tomichi Village. Chef Michael Vidals has created a menu featuring coastal-inspired seafood dishes, fresh sushi, mouthwatering steaks and in-house ground burgers complemented by a carefully selected wine list. The restaurant is open daily for dinner throughout the summer.

The Sunflower – A Communal Kitchen is a unique way for three culinary businesses/owners to share one dining space and kitchen at 214 Elk Ave. The location that originally was only The Sunflower Deli has been renamed and now coffee and pastries are served in the morning, then transitions into the deli for lunch and then changes again to a farm-to-table dinner spot.

Kyleena Falzone created a winner with The Secret Stash in Crested Butte, which moved to a much larger space at 303 Elk Ave. last summer. Falzone transitioned the downstairs LoBar into The Red Room Gallery, a funky yet classy space featuring creative northern Italian cuisine served as small dishes. Hand crafted cocktails and fine wines also are on the menu. Two blocks away in the historic powerhouse building at 130 Elk Ave., BONEZ opened in June and specializes in tequila and tacos.

First Ascent Coffee Roasters, Mountain Oven Organic Bakery and Sol Space & Light have joined forces to open the Guild, a collaborative caf located at 21 Elk Ave. The Guild offers organic coffees, espresso, steampunk drinks, traditional and specialty sourdough breads, sweet and savory pastries, seasonal breakfast and lunch menus, a daily toast bar and weekend brunch menu.

Local rancher and former state representative Kathleen Curry opened The Local Market at 111 North Main St. in Gunnison last December. The downtown store is focused entirely on local and Colorado products, including Tomichi Creek Natural Beef that is 100 percent grass-fed on her family’s ranch, located east of Gunnison.

Microbreweries & Distilleries

Named Craft Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute in 2013 and one of the Top 10 American Craft Rum Brands by The Spirit Business, Montanya Distillers produces two types of rum sold in their tasting room in downtown Crested Butte and 34 states. The tasting room has a menu of extremely creative cocktails featuring rum as the only spirit, a tasty selection of appetizers and unique items for purchase, including rum confections.

The Eldo Brewery & Taproom, located on the second story of a downtown Crested Butte building and quickly identified by the sign “A Sunny Place for Shady People” has an outdoor deck overlooking Elk Avenue and has been serving up libations, food and live entertainment since 1998. Beers are brewed using a small, seven-barrel system and sold by the glass, growler and keg.

Gunnison Brewery, located on Main Street in Gunnison, opened in 2003 and has been selling pub food, salads, burgers, sandwiches and creatively designed beer ever since. Local ingredients are used to make beer whenever available, with a West Slope series of beers brewed in the fall featuring ingredients sourced within a 100-mile radius. All beef and chicken served are natural and free-range from nearby Salida. The brewery’s patio is a popular place to socialize during fair weather.

Unique Ways to Sip, Taste & Spa

Enjoy the area’s only dinner cruise, Rocky Mountain style! Start out at Three Rivers Resort in Almont by 4 p.m. and enjoy a 10-mile scenic float trip on the Gunnison River to Garlic Mike’s Restaurant for a delicious Italian dinner. The total time required is approximately three hours. The trip is available seven nights a week during the summer with at least 24 hours notice and a minimum of four people. Call Three Rivers Resort to book at (888) 761-3474. One fee includes the float trip, vehicle shuttle and a voucher for Garlic Mike’s.

Bacchanale, specializing in modest Italian cuisine in Crested Butte, is offering Tasting Tuesdays at 5 p.m. to explore wines and food from Italy in a fun and informative format and family-style dinners on Sunday at a flat price of $20 per person for three or four courses that highlight new dishes and variations on Italian classics and the best seasonal ingredients available.