There’s a lot to love about living in Santa Fe. Great food. Perfect weather about 90% of the time. Culture. Art. The lava lamps at the Cowgirl (for the uninitiated, that’s Pabst Blue Ribbon with swirled frozen margarita). Hiking (which I plan to take up any day now). Snow skiing.
And then there’s the Wine and Chile Festival. Just the name conjures up some great images, doesn’t it? Make your mouth water?
Starting next Wednesday, September 25, and running through Sunday, September 29, the Wine and Chile Festival is just what you’d expect – a festival celebrating two of my favorite things.
Each day has a full schedule of events, like Wednesday’s 10:30 to noon event where “James Beard Best Chef of the Southwest finalist, Martin Rios, will demonstrate his Progressive American recipes for Pan Seared Diver Scallop, Blue Corn Bread Sponge and Compressed Peach Salad with Dill Oil. Tastes will be served and paired with wines from Robert Mondavi Winery” at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
Or the Gruet Golf Classic, where “Gruet Winery features six of their wines in a golf scramble with nine of SFWC Fiesta’s great restaurants. A different sparkling wine is paired with food from a different restaurant at every third hole, including Anasazi, Tanti Luce 221,La Plazuela, Jinja, Quail Run, Red Sage, Izmi Sushi, The Ranch House,Santa Fe Capitol Grill and The Bistro at SF Courtyard Marriott.”
In addition to each day’s events, you can schedule dinner at a local restaurant where special menu items will be paired with wines being showcased in the festival. Last year I had an amazing meal at Cafe Cafe where each course was paired with an appropriate vintage. You can find the list of participating eateries here.
But the best event of all is the Grand Tasting at the Santa Fe Opera on Saturday from 1 – 4 p.m. the website describes it as “The Wine Event with All Those Great Restaurants beckons you to spend a glorious afternoon at The Santa Fe Opera, featuring tastes from 70 of Santa Fe’s finest restaurants and sips from 90 world-class wineries. The most fun you can have with a wine glass!”
I describe it as heaven. I tasted as many different wines and chile dishes as possible. I liked the wines. But I loved the food, from the La Boca tapas to the frito pie from the Tesuque Market to the sliders from Bobcat Bite to the green chile ices from, I think, Geronimo (honestly I can’t remember. It’s all a fuzzy blur.) I ate until I couldn’t hold another bite. I got to try food from places I’d only dreamed of visiting. And then I rested and went back for more.
If you’re looking for something uniquely New Mexican to do next weekend, you can’t go wrong with the Wine and Chile Festival. And when it’s all over, you can go to the Cowgirl for a lava lamp.