Parents and concert-goers know the truth: If you snooze, you lose when it comes to summer camps and Red Rocks shows. The same is true for Colorado’s growing menu of stellar summer food-related festivals and classes. If you wait until June you’ll miss out on some of the best opportunities to upgrade your food savvy. Now is the time to update your culinary calendar.
Get to the market for overwintered spinach
The Boulder County Farmers Market opens for the season April 1, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. in Boulder and Longmont. The Wednesday markets debut May 3.
Fill out your BOB ballot
Every time the Best of Boulder restaurant awards are published I get whiny comments from folks who didn’t vote about which eateries won. My answer: Not voting has repercussions. You have until March 31 to fill out your ballot for restaurants and other things in the 21st Annual Best of Boulder.
Give a little to feed your neighbors
Our Boulder County neighbors dealing with hunger and food insecurity get lots of guilt-ridden attention from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but the problem is year round. Community Food Share needs help restocking its shelves April 7 to 9. Donate food at grocery stores in Louisville and Lafayette.
Learn to save the bees and the honey
Make truly local honey after taking beekeeping classes in Boulder and planting a pollinator-friendly garden. Before you order any bees, take the “Beginning Beekeeping is NOT for Dummies” classes April 8 and 22 through Boulder’s Beehave.
Finally grow your own
If you are serious about growing veggies and flowers this summer, take the Spring Gardening Intensive April 8 and 9 at the Lyons Farmette.
Become a queso master
Learn how to make brie and Camembert cheeses April 22 at Longmont’s Art of Cheese. The class includes a sampling tour of Haystack Mountain Cheese’s creamery. You go home with a baby brie to ripen until soft and gooey.
Understanding the wild mousse
Boulder’s Piece, Love & Chocolate offers technical chocolatier workshops, fun truffle classes and serious one-subject events for obsessives including The Art and Zen of Mousse, May 28.
Looking beyond the rack
If you eat chops, racks or loins you should learn where they come from. The Boulder Butchery Guild offers a Whole Lamb Butchery Class, April 8 at Cure Organic Farm.
Turn your kids into cooks
Why send the kids off to learn crafts and sing songs at camp when they can study how to make you pasta, foccacia, ricotta, gnocchi, eggplant Parmesan and butter cookies? Enroll them in Italian cooking camp, mornings May 30-June 2, Boulder’s Food Lab.
The ultimate American cheese tasting
Don’t miss the one-time-only Festival of Cheese July 29 in Denver featuring 1,800 cheeses and accompaniments including craft beer, cider, charcuterie, chocolate and crackers. The annual American Cheese Society convention is July 26-29.
Have a fine local wine time
Colorado Natural Wine Week, April 17-22, includes wine tastings, dinners, wine dive bar takeovers and the Grand Showcase, pouring more than 200 wines April 19 in Denver. The Boulder Natural Wine Crawl, April 18, offers food, wine and winemakers, stopping at Arcana, Oak at Fourteenth, and PMG wines.
Wines around Colorado
Tastings offered at over 30 Colorado wineries over two weekends for one price: April 22-23, May 6-7.
Lose your coffee cupping virginity
Boulder’s Ozo Coffee has a professional training facility that also offers workshops such as Fundamental Barista Skills (April 29). Check for public classes like Introduction to Coffee (including “cupping”).
Fish while you farm
Denver’s GrowHaus hosts classes in aquaponics, growing fish and vegetables in a recirculating home system.
Know your oolong from your lapsang souchong
The annual Rocky Mountain Tea Festival including seminars, a tea dinner and children’s tea parties at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, July 29-30.
Learn to be a cannabis cook
Chef Torrin Panico teaches a hands-on Introductory Cooking with Cannabis class in a Denver industrial kitchen space so attendees can sample as they learn.
Dining Out For Life: More than 250 restaurants and breweries donate 25 percent of sales April 27 to Project Angel Heart, which delivers meals to those recovering from illness.
Slow Food Nations: A national event featuring workshops, seminars, dinners, tours, dining and a taste marketplace. July 14-17, Denver.
Telluride Wine Festival: June 22-25, Telluride
Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival: July 26-30, Crested Butte
Olathe Sweet Corn Festival: Aug. 5, Olathe
Colorado Mountain Winefest: Sept. 16, Palisade
Chile & Frijoles Festival: Sept .22-24, Pueblo
We know we’ve missed some events: Suggest other local summer food opportunities: email@example.com
Local Food News
Samples World Bistro in Longmont was named recently as Colorado’s representative in the Best Beer Bars in America list voted on by craftbeer.com readers. … Decadent Saint, producer of wine-based mixers used for sangria and craft cocktails, has opened an 1,800-square-foot tasting room at 1501 Lee Hill Road in Boulder.
Number of the Week
According to Datassential MenuTrends research, use of the word “street” on menus is up 40 percent from four years ago. More than 60 percent of American consumers say they would dine on ethnic food from a truck.
Taste of the Week
I knew it was spring when stouts, porters, barleywines and other heavy brews stopped looking tasty and started feeling heavy, viscous and overbearing. It was time to lighten up so I finally stopped in at the recently opened St. Vrain Cidery tucked away in the old Longmont Times-Call building. The cidery is just beginning to craft brew their own ciders in quantity but has 24 taps pouring ciders from across Colorado. I went with a sampler of four ciders on the dry side including Stem Cider’s delicious Real Dry and le Chene. (These will be produced in Lafayette next year when Stem opens its new production facility and tasting room.) My favorites: Colorado Cider Pearsnickety and New Avalon Pale Cider. Like other Colorado tasting rooms, the cidery doesn’t serve food. I recommend stopping first at Longmont’s Cheese Importers Warehouse to stroll through the giant refrigerator and pick up a couple of soft-ripened cheeses and a baguette to pair with the ciders.
Word to Chew On
“You will eat, bye and bye/In that glorious land above the sky/Work and pray, live on hay/You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.” — From a 1910 song by Joe Hill.
John Lehndorff hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, kgnu.org).