This Sunday, March 10, Boulder will represent at one of the most unique food events in America. Blackbelly Catering’s Hosea Rosenberg and Cured’s Will Frischkorn will join a host of chefs, farmers, butchers, mixologists and more at the pork-centric traveling culinary competition and tasting event known as Cochon 555, which is making its Colorado appearance at the Four Seasons in Vail.
My first thought upon reading the press release for the event was how I wished my dad lived nearby so he could be my date. The man has been with pork long before pork was cool, and he’s stuck with it despite corporate agribusiness, the media, and his primary care physician’s best efforts to break them up. Be careful if you claim to know of “the best barbecue” in such-and-such city and then have the cojones to take him there; he was born and raised in the slow-smoked, tomato-sauced tradition of Kansas City ‘cue.
For the most part, I am my father’s daughter when it comes to food: we value both flavor and the craft of preparing a meal over convenience and calorie-counting. While our tastebuds may share the same genetic code, however, my own culinary-coming-of-age is happening in a unique point in time. Without traveling too far down a sociopolitical tangent, let’s just say that the United States doesn’t have the most healthy relationship with food–both in how it’s produced and how it’s consumed. However, in the past decade or so, a growing number of people–chefs, farmers, families–are demanding to know where their food comes from and are finding out that when they do, it usually tastes much better. These demands, and the resultant support of family farmers, have turned up the volume on the food conversation in America, and now you can’t flip through the newspaper or browse posts on FB without seeing the word food unaccompanied by local, sustainable, or seasonal.
Hence my second thought upon reading the press release for the Cochon 555 event in Vail this Sunday: hell yes! According to the official website, Cochon 555–celebrating its fifth anniversary–was “created to promote a national conversation around the sustainable farming of heritage-breed pigs.” Kicking off each winter in NYC, the tour then visits 14 cities, where five local chefs create a menu from the entirety of one 200 pound family-raised heritage breed of pig; as in, each chef gets his/her own hog to experiment with, snout to tail. Then, as they recover from multiple por(k)gasms, officials and guests will blissfully declare a winner who gets to compete at the Grand Cochon event at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.
Still not convinced? These are the chefs whose platefuls of pork I will consume: Jason Harrison (Flame at Four Seasons Vail), Alex Seidel (Fruition), Lon Symensma (ChoLon), Kelly Liken (Kelly Liken), and Boulder’s own Hosea Rosenberg (Blackbelly Catering). The piggies themselves grow up on farms throughout Colorado and Iowa; on Sunday, one lucky chef gets a Mulefoot from Erik Skokan’s Black Cat Farm! If you don’t eat pork for religious reasons, don’t despair! Attendees will also enjoy samples of five bourbons (Templeton Rye, Breckenridge Bourbon, High West, Buffalo Trace, and Four Roses) and access to the Perfect Mahattan Bar, as well as the Chupito Bar–“a mezcal tasting experience.” Will Frischkorn of Boulder’s Cured, will be slinging the dairy at The Craft Cheese Bar. Now are you gonna come? I promise, you can have some of my bacon.
Tickets still available for Sunday’s 5pm party in Vail: http://amusecochon.com/2013/vail/