With 13″ on Aspen mountain and the winter season rapidly approaching, our incredible culinary team is busy fine-tuning our seasonal menus to provide guests with an unforgettable dining experience. Sabato Sagaria, Director of Food & Beverage, traveled to Spain and Switzerland for a tapas-eating and sherry-drinking good time, only to be reminded that the same could be found in his own backyard.
Earlier this month, I spent 10 days traveling through Europe and visiting hospitality schools in Spain and Switzerland. This has become an annual pilgrimage (3 years running!) to recruit students from around the world to join our team at The Little Nell.
Prior to our first day of work, I decided to work through my jetlag by spending a weekend in Jerez de La Fronterra ~ home to the uniquely delicious beverage we all know as sherry. As I indulged in tapas bars and ate my way through the south of Spain (sipping the Spanish elixir along the way), the one thing that echoed in my head was how focused and decisively regional each establishment was. Over the last several thousand years, the Spaniards have created a cuisine and dining culture centered around the diverse array of wines that they make. Here I was, snacking on seafood raised in the very waters I was over looking… grazing on amazing Iberican hams raised on the surrounding farms… and washing it down with delicious wine made at estates just a stone’s throw away.
Why would anyone ever want to leave?
As I replayed that night, I asked myself why we couldn’t pull off the same thing at The Little Nell? And then it struck me, we practically are. We utilize local ingredients raised on Executive Chef Ryan Hardy’s Rendezvous Farm; AND we have a great selection of wines from around the world (20,000 bottles in our cellar) ~ all we were missing was a menu built for grazing.
Upon my return, Chef Ryan and I began talking about Montagna Bar menus for the winter, and it was almost as if Ryan had read my mind. The menu features amazing house-cured hams ~ even the delicious Iberico hams I had experienced in Spain! There are assorted small, Italian-inspired bites including: poached farm egg with porcini and black truffles, crostini with whipped ricotta and broccoli raab and Ryan’s world famous chicken liver pate. All are sharable snacks that are designed to go with great wines and inspire grazing.
So, the next time you’re in the neighborhood, do stop in… escape the real world… treat yourself to a bite… sip on some great wines… After all, who is more deserving than you!!!