Three’s a pair?

Unique food festivals hit Boulder County this weekend

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Handmade cigars. Tabacalera de Garcia Factory. Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic.
Mstyslav Chernov/WIkimedia Commons

Gelato, cigars and peaches. What do those three things have in common? Boulder County, as it turns out.

In the next two weekends, three food festivals will hit Boulder County (or just outside) that confirm we indeed have a curious and eclectic culinary base. The Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, Gelato Festival Boulder and Lafayette Peach Festival bring the top flight of three disparate culinary pursuits to Boulder County.

Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival
Aug. 25, Noon-6 p.m., Omni Interlocken Resort, Broomfield.

It’s not often that we talk about cigars in the culinary space, and certainly not in health-conscious Boulder County. But the 2018 Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival seeks to change that by bringing in the world’s best premium cigars, pairing them with craft beer and food, and highlighting the breadth and versatility cigars bring to dining experiences.

Guests to the event at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield will rub elbows with the world’s best cigar producers and the top cigar aficionados. More than 2,500 cigar buffs are expected to attend.

Guests will sample cigars from classic producers like Montecristo, Macanudo, Julius Caeser and Romeo Y Julieto, as well as dozens from local and international small producers. Unbeknownst to many in the culinary scene, cigars have undergone a quiet renaissance in the last few decades, and craft cigars are liable to shock those of us who only smoke cigars after babies are born or on company golf outings.

The list of brewers attending includes some familiar names: Upslope, City Star, Oskar Blues, Grossen Bart and more. And because cigars tend to attract spirits, festival organizers have invited Breckenridge Distillery, Laws Whiskey House, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery and others.

There’ll also be lunch provided and live music.

If cigars aren’t your bag, we get it. But if you’re looking for a primer on the state of craft cigars, this is your chance. If for no other reason, go because stepping into a humidor is a pleasant and unique olfactory sensation, and this’ll be like stepping into the world’s greatest. Tickets range from $30-$50, with an extra VIP hour starting at 11 a.m. Get tickets and more info at rmcigarfestival.com/the-event/location/

Gelato Festival Boulder
Aug. 18-19, noon- 7 p.m., Twenty Ninth Street Mall, Boulder.

The world’s best gelato makers are coming to the Twenty Ninth Street Mall for two days of frozen competition. After a hiatus from the U.S., the organizers of the Gelato Festival are returning to the States with several stages of their gelato-off, with one staged right here in Boulder.

Here’s how it works: over the next three years, 5,000 gelato chefs from around the globe are competing for a chance to participate in the grand finals in Italy in 2021. Only the best 26 gelato purveyors get invited to the finals.

The 10 chefs selected for the Boulder competition have already gone through competitions to get to this point. The winner of this year’s event will gain entry to the American finals, and the winner of that will move onto the world finals.

So, yes, Boulder: We get a chance to not only taste 10 of the world’s best gelato flavors, but we get to have a say in determining the best in the world.

Gelato, by the way, is milk, eggs, cream and some sort of flavor, usually fruit, nuts, herbs or chocolate. Gelato has less fat than ice cream, but feels silkier because it uses more milk than cream.

Here are the chefs and flavors on display at the Boulder event: Traditional pistachio and figs from Niccolò Poposi of London; Strawberry and fresh basil from Cinzi Orti of Florence; Cannolo Siciliano from Santi Palazzolo of Cinsi, Italy; Panna cotto with strawberry from Walter Bergamaschi of Mesa, Arizona; Blackcurrant from Sukaina Rajani of Houston; Chocolate and caramel sauce from Emily Hopkins of Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Fresh milk and dark chocolate from Josh Collier of Houston; Green apple from Gianlugi Dell’Accio of Washington D.C.; Traditional Italian hazelnut from Annalisa Libralato of Agna, Italy; and Salted B.C. Cherry Cheesecake from Eric Dorval of Vancouver, Canada.

The festival includes a “gelato university,” where patrons can see local fruit transformed into frozen treats. The live demo is followed, of course, by a tasting. There’s a kids’ tasting, which probably won’t be a tough sell for Boulder County’s youngsters, and there’s a gelato-eating contest, where 10 contestants will down five cups of gelato and endure the worst brain freeze of their lives.

For more information visit gelatofestivalamerica.com.

Lafayette Peach Festival
Aug. 18, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Downtown Lafayette.

Is there any fruit better than the Palisade peach? We think not. And the City of Lafayette does us all a favor by bringing thousands of the fruits to its streets every year.

The 19th annual Lafayette Peach Festival allows patrons to shop for Palisade peaches directly from peach growers, and puts on a pedestal peach pies, cobblers and smoothies. More than 30,000 pounds of certified organic peaches from Morton’s Orchards, Red Fox Run and Tate Orchards will be available along Public Road.

You do have to get there while supplies last, although supplies are ample: Five hundred peach pies, 100 cobblers and 2,500 smoothies.

There’ll be other food vendors there as well as crafters, antique dealers and artists. Free face painting and balloon sculpting will be available all day. Stop by Old Town Lafayette to join in. lafayettecolorado.com