Archive for the '2012' Category

In Case You Missed It…A Recap of Our Fabulous Weekend!

The 2012 Sun Valley Harvest Festival, sponsored by Lyle Pearson Company of Boise, was a success before it began. Excitement was burgeoning in town for what has become Sun Valley’s signature food and wine festival; one that had completely sold out of two of its signature events (the kick-off Restaurant Walk and the swanky Martini and Caviar party). “We’re thrilled about our ticket sales…but…I want everyone to come! We’ll definitely be expanding next year,” says Heidi Ottley, co-owner of the Harvest Festival along with partner Ed Sinnott. The two started the Sun Valley Harvest Festival with the dream of making the Sun Valley area a destination for those seeking a weekend of epicurean indulgence. And, in its third year, it’s been appropriately nicknamed “Foodie Heaven.”

The positive vibes from the great turnout were tangible (or, should I say, palatable?) on Friday evening. Guests lined up and strategized for getting the most out of their Restaurant Walk experience; perhaps a necessity when trying to hit up 19 locations in two hours leaving about six minutes per restaurant for the only most dedicated. Boise Weekly writer Brian Furber described the event as similar to “trying to see all of Southeast Asia in a month or Europe in a week—a fool’s errand, but the opportunity to dine and dash is hard to resist since the smorgasbord is prepay ($35) and comes without repercussions.” Despite the instinct to rush in order to experience everything, some strolled aimlessly through the streets with old friends, met new ones along the way, and enjoyed the offerings of our creative local chefs. Some restaurants served their signature dishes like Dashi’s caramelized ribs with anise and B.’s Thai-style poke on a crisp wonton. Others stepped out of character for the evening, like Scott Mason at Ketchum Grill, who fired up his pizza truck and churned out crispy pies for the special occasion. Overall, the feedback was unanimous– great food, great drinks, and great company!

Saturday’s event layout was mellower than the frenetic rush of the Restaurant Walk. Throughout the day, Carol’s Dollar Lodge was host to five different demonstrations and presentations by nationally-recognized chefs and a sommelier. We were thrilled with the turn out and the talks given by Chef Jesus Gonzalez, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Chef John Tesar, Chef Jason Wilson, and Sommelier Jackie Quillen. Each brought to the table something different that expanded our knowledge and incited our culinary curiosities. The best part? The presentations each finished with a tasting and wine pairing, which was a perfect way to enjoy the fruits of the chef’s labors.  De-lish!

Meanwhile, the Harvest Marketplace was held indoors at Carol’s Dollar Lodge with local and regional artisans, producers, and kitchen gagetteers who peddled a variety of goods such as fresh produce and homemade salsas, honey, sauces, cheeses, and super duty Vita Mixers. It was also a great spot to purchase the books written by our presenters before the signings, which was a chance for guests to meet and greet the chefs and Jackie Quillen after their talks.

That evening, we hosted the Martini and Caviar party on the upper deck of Boca in downtown Ketchum. The weather was perfect as guests mingled and sipped artisanal cocktails with Square One organic spirits including the “Garden Gate,” with basil flavored vodka, strawberry balsamic jam and rhubarb simple syrup, garnished with rosemary. The other option was the “Summer’s End,” appropriately named with the fall chill approaching,  that featured Square One Botanical vodka, grapefruit and pomegranate juices, and a dash of peach bitters. The only things that could compete with the deliciously unique martinis were the imaginative Fish Breeder’s of Idaho sturgeon caviar canapés that were passed by the fantastic Boca staff.  A fun competition took place to name Square One’s Cucumber Vodka and ginger beer-based martini— and Cynthia Kearn’s winning choice,“La Cuke-aracha,” was rewarded with a bottle of the delicious organic spirits!

Sunday’s events culminated with a River Guide Cooking Demonstration beginning early in the morning. With a distinctly Sun Valley-esque Fall chill in the air, the three different river guide companies, Far-and-Away Adventures, Mackay Wilderness Journeys, and Idaho River Journeys fired up their grills and cast iron skillets to prepare “river food” with a gourmet flare. Between the sour cream coffee cake, “cast-n-blast” trout paella, and the chipotle shrimp skewers, you could say I had achieved Foodie Nirvana by the time we were ready to start our next event at noon.

The grand finale of the festival, appropriately named the “Grand Tasting,” was a benefit for the newly formed Sun Valley Culinary Institute. In Dollar Lodge’s great room, 24 different vendors presented tastings of local craft beers, distilled spirits, wines, and delicious foods. This event was a great opportunity for non-bricks-and-mortar businesses to share new dishes while interacting with both the local community and those who made the festival a weekend destination. Foodies gathered and mingled, and were afforded the chance to try these unique creations. What a great event!

“Overall, we were thrilled with the turnout of this year’s Sun Valley Harvest Festival” said co-founder Heidi Ottley. “We’re looking forward to making next year even bigger and better! Thank you to everyone who came out and supported us—we hope you had a great time in Foodie Heaven”


And the Bottle Makes Three: Our Featured SVHF Weekend Wines

Any foodie knows that memorable epicurean experiences are only complete when paired with wine. That’s why we are fortunate enough for Sun Valley Harvest Festival 2012 to receive sponsorships from six prestigious wineries that will be featured in our tastings throughout the weekend. The wines of Chateau St. Michelle, Col Solare, Erath Winery, Northstar, Spring Valley Vinyards, and Stags Leap Wine Cellars each represent different regions and varietals, which all bring uniquely delightful flavors to the table that are sure to please your palate!
Always curious to hear from our highly-adored sponsors, we were fortunate enough to talk to Josh St. Aubin, our “go-to wine guy,” to hear a few of his thoughts and experiences with the wine world…

If you could go to one wine region in the world where would that be and why?
I couldn’t name just one region…Tuscany in Italy, Rioja in Spain and Champagne in France would be a good place to start!

How has this hot / dry season impacted your vineyards?
Hot and dry is a good thing for wine grapes. The long growing season in Washington produces amazing wine grapes and the hot days followed by cool nights creates wines with great fruit character and high acidity for excellent balance. Our grapes are all irrigated so they are not dependant on rain for moisture.

What is your favorite unexpected pairing?
Favorite unexpected pairing has to be French fries or potato chips with Champagne or Sparkling wine. Try it, you’ll never want to have one without the other again!

Well Josh, you don’t have to tell us twice! Try for yourself this weekend in Foodie Heaven, along with infinite other pairings we’re offering at our various events. If you’re truly looking to boost your wine knowledge, don’t miss Jackie Quillen’s Wine Tasting Boot Camp on Saturday at 3:30 pm. Get your tickets here!

Come Stay at the Knob Hill Inn!

If you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway, a place to store your gear in between mountain biking and fishing Silver Creek, or in our case, having a place to rejuvenate between fun-filled foodie events, Knob Hill Inn is a fantastic option. The hotel provides both beautiful and unique accommodations for guests seeking a true Sun Valley experience, right in walking distance from downtown Ketchum.

I went to visit Knob Hill for the first time recently and was completely blown away by their seamless juxtaposition of tasteful modern décor along with the charming details of a Western chalet. Each guest room is incredibly spacious with newly renovated restrooms, and all tout balcony views of either the stunning Boulder Mountain range, or our famous Bald Mountain. To me, the most exciting element of the Inn was the in-house dining option, the Knob Hill Grill. But perhaps “in-house” does not accurately describe this restaurant, as its outdoor seating area is completely stunning. Surrounded by a waterfall and picturesque Austrian-inspired gardens, this is an ideal place to share a bottle of wine and small plates after experiencing a busy day in the Valley. This gorgeous Inn will be perfect during our Sun Valley Harvest Festival as we always experience beautiful autumn weather!

Click here to find out how to book a Sun Valley Harvest Festival package at Knob Hill Inn, which includes a two-night stay, two Epicurean (or all-access) passes, and a small plate for two at the wine bar. Cheers!

Sponsor Spotlight: Lyle Pearson

We are so thrilled not only that Lyle Pearson has chosen to be our title sponsor for the Harvest Festival this year, but also that they have offered to bring some beautiful new makes and models of the hottest new cars on their lot. Throughout the foodie weekend, attendees will have the opportunity to check out these cars on display at Town Square during the Restaurant Walk and at Dollar Lodge on Saturday and Sunday.
Our Harvest Festival staff got really excited about this, as the opportunity to drive brand-new, “extreme” luxury vehicles presented itself for the first time (even if it is only from Hailey to Ketchum).We asked Ted Hampson of this Boise car dealership to tell us a little bit more about our prospective new (temporary) rides…
What is the hottest luxury car in 2012?
We have a host of new products this year, the Porsche 991 has been redesigned as well as the Boxster. The Mercedes-Benz SL and ML are all new as well. Land Rover introduced the Evoque and a new Range Rover. Hard to pick one. Just kidding I would choose the Porsche 918 Spyder.
 Everyone is talking about hybrids and dual fuel. What does Lyle Pearson offer?
Porsche has two hybrids the Panamera and the Cayenne, Acura has just introduced the ILX hybrid. The 918 Spyder is a hybrid too!
What is the best luxury car for the Idaho Mountains and Sun Valley?
Can’t beat the Range Rover for off-road but I like the Porsche Cayenne all around sporty and all-wheel driving. It chews up the road over Galena Summit.
Tell us about the newest cool electronics that can be found in your cars…
Apps are the rage, streaming Pandora to your radio, checking weather conditions, having your stocks and the latest news display on your navigation screen… Log onto Facebook or even have the car make dinner reservations, for you.
Wow! Impressive…Give us one word to describe the: Acura -Advanced, Jaguar – Sexy, Mercedes-Benz – Luxury, Porsche- Engineered, Land Rover- Powerful and Volvo- Safe

Needless to say, we’re pretty amped about these new luxury vehicles coming to town (especially the prospect of driving one) and incredibly grateful of Lyle Pearson’s generosity for sponsoring the 2012 Sun Valley Harvest Festival!

Idaho’s Bounty: Farm, to Table, to the Sun Valley Harvest Festival

For the third year in a row, Idaho’s Bounty will be working with the Sun Valley Harvest Festival and will supply delicious, fresh, local foods for ingredients that will be part of the chef cooking demonstrations on Saturday, the 22nd. A Wood River Valley-based co-op, Idaho’s Bounty has been working tirelessly for the last six years to provide locals an easy service to purchase organic foods while simultaneously supporting and advocating for regional farmers.

The mission of this co-op is clear: Idaho’s Bounty supports all levels of food production, farm to table. We have been both fortunate and grateful to have them as a part of the Sun Valley Harvest Festival as this mission ties in with our own, foodie-centric desire to supply and promote the delicious bounty that Idaho has to offer, right from our backyard. By becoming a member, you can feed yourself and your family healthy, local foods while strengthening your community and supporting its surrounding farmers and farmlands.

To find out more about how to become a member of Idaho’s Bounty, click here. Also, find out where your dollar goes when you put it towards your membership, and how that supports and enriches your local economy!

Let’s Get it Started: The SVHF Restaurant Walk Kicks off a Weekend of Foodie Heaven!

Picture this: strolling around the quaint yet exciting town of Ketchum with friends and family on a Friday evening, wine glass in hand, and sampling delicious hors d’oeuvres and canapés from local restaurants serving only fresh, seasonal, and regional ingredients. Sound amazing? For only $35 you can enjoy this too-good-to-be-true event and experience Idaho’s finest epicurean delights on Friday, September 21st from 5-7 pm.

The 2012 Sun Valley Harvest Festival Restaurant Walk will feature 19 different restaurants, all of which will offer tastings of seasonal cuisine with local ingredients that will delight your taste buds and incite your culinary curiosities. Also, get a chance to imbibe some delicious wines and craft beers and experience how they play off different food pairings.

In addition to sipping and supping, one of the most fun and pleasantly surprising benefits of the Restaurant walk is meeting new people and making new friends. If you’re from out of town, make new connections with locals and fellow visitors. If you’re a local, get to know the familiar faces you see on a daily basis over your favorite glass of wine or beer.  Also, interacting with the chefs and restaurateurs of the local eateries is another great way to spend your time on this stroll. Learn more about their passions and culinary inspirations…or just find out what their favorite hike and mountain bike ride is!

Buy your tickets here for this not-to-be-missed event!

Foodies and the Idaho Wilderness: The Perfect Pairing

The Idaho wilderness is known for its scenic landscapes and miles and miles of whitewater right in our backyard. And, as any foodie familiar with backcountry river experiences knows, these rafting trips are the ultimate moveable feast! You’d be amazed what these seasoned guide/chefs can prepare with minimal prep-work and seasonal, fresh foods that results in tasty, gourmet fare!
As a partner of the Sun Valley Harvest Festival and a participant in the free River Guide Cooking Demonstration, we wanted to interview Steve Lentz of Far-and-Away Adventures  to get a little insight into the cooking culture of river rafters.

1. What is the best kind of food to prepare when on the river that’s both easiest and most satisfying after a long day of rafting?

We build our planning around Protein. You’re expending energy around paddling and the excitement of the rapids, so nutrition that has mouth watering character is at the forefront. As food lovers, we spend a great deal of time with our menu and who is supplying product. Far and Away Adventures’ assurance can be found here.

2. What three cookware items could you not live without on a rafting trip?

Dutch Ovens for baking, a grill with a lot of real estate, and a great flattop. That way you can cover all the components of the meal timely and effectively.

3. Sustainability must play a big part in how you plan your meals…How do you approach your need to pack out what you pack in?

Our whole approach to wilderness travel is through the practice of Leave No Trace. The information is also shared with our guests so they too become believers!

4. As foodies, we’re really into pairings…What kind of beverages do you like to bring along to wash down a delicious post-rafting meal?

We’re blessed with great wine suppliers in the Wood River Valley. They are always bringing something new and wonderful to our attention and yours! Our local brewers also play a role with what’s on tap… Yep that’s right… In the middle of the River of No Return Wilderness on the Middle Fork of the Salmon!

5. Any sneak-previews of what you plan to cook up during the River Guide Cooking Demo at the SVHF?

We will be preparing a cinnamon and currant breakfast bread plate, transitioning with a shrimp app on a stick followed with beef tender and corn pudding.

Click here to find out how to get planning your “American Safari!” with Far-and-Away Adventures. And, don’t miss the FREE River Guide Cooking Demo at the Sun Valley Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 23rd from 10:00am-12:00pm where Idaho River Journeys and Mackey Wilderness River Trips will also be throwing down some delicious river cooking!

Support Your Local Foodie: The ‘Grand Tasting’ Benefit for the Sun Valley Culinary Institute

On Sunday, September 23rd the Sun Valley Harvest Festival will culminate its weekend of food and friends with its finale, the Grand Tasting. From 12:00-3:00 pm, sample an eclectic variety of culinary creations provided by the Valley’s finest chefs and caterers, along with tasting local craft beers, distilled spirits, and our six featured wines from our sponsor wineriesWe’ll be serving everything from savory main dishes, side dishes, artisanal pizza, desserts, ice cream, hors d’oeuvres and much more. Wander through and chat with chefs as you sample their fare, learn about each of the wines and how to pair them with food, learn how to properly taste vodka and make the perfect martini.

Your ticket to the Grand Tasting doesn’t just get you an afternoon of epicurean indulgence; proceeds of this event directly benefit the development of Sun Valley Culinary Institute. By helping to financially support this newly formed institute, we hope to establish a world-class culinary offering that will build on the College of Southern Idaho’s existing culinary and hospitality programs, emphasize farm to table menus at local restaurants, and catalyze a budding “foodie culture” in the Valley. At the SVHF, we have a natural desire to help out a local organization that seeks to increase culinary knowledge and passion for all things gourmet!

Get your tickets for the Grand Tasting here and enjoy an afternoon celebrating and supporting foodies like you!

We also would like to thank Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Ketchum for sponsoring this benefit!

Demonstrations and Presentations: Don’t Miss Out!

The 2012 Sun Valley Harvest Festival offers the foodie a day long series of educational seminars presented by five nationally recognized chefs and sommeliers. This event, which will take place on Saturday, September 22nd, challenges the foodie to adapt to and respect the seasonality and locality of different ingredients while embracing new and old culinary techniques. And as we all know, no food seminar would be complete without sampling and tasting. We at the SVHF provide an abundance of those opportunities during the demonstrations, all while mingling with the hands-on chefs. But as any foodie will ask, “what about the wine”? Fret not! At the SVHF, we want you to not only taste the wine but examine it and learn about it and how pairs with different meals for a multi-faceted epicurean experience.
Here’s a sneak preview, or rather an “amuse bouche” to get you excited for what we have in store:

Chef Jesus Gonzalez, 9:30 am: “Healthy Cooking for a Healthy Lifestyle”
Chances are if you’re visiting Sun Valley you also have an appreciation for the great outdoors and possibly even an active lifestyle. Gonzalez, a private chef and the culinary director at Cups Culinary, San Diego’s premier cupcake lounge and cooking school, is known for his hands-on teaching techniques and passionate focus on quality, freshness, colors and deep, rich tastes. Co-Author of the cookbook “Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho de La Puerta,” Gonzalez grew up in Mexico and developed his culinary skills under the tutelage of his mother, who encouraged him to “cook with love” and take inspiration from ingredients right from their garden. Through the combination of delicious, fresh flavors and interesting textures, the Chef has truly mastered a craft of healthy cooking that does not compromise on taste but rather enhances it through the use of seasonal ingredients. The class will serve as a demonstration of how to combine healthy, fresh ingredients with bold flavors to keep you looking and feeling your best. You’ll also get some great insight into the art of adjusting and changing ingredients based on the seasons and ultimately become a better cook and less reliant on sticking to recipes.
The Fabulous Beekman BoysThe Beekman Boys, 11:00 am: “Seasonal Living”
Pioneers of the seasonal food movement, the Beekman Boys are taking the culinary world by storm. You may already be familiar with this hilarious chef-duo as they are the co-hosts of their own reality show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” and are authors to multiple cookbooks and books including Beekman 1802 and The Bucolic Plague. Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a retired New York ad man, and Dr. Brent Ridge, the vice president of Martha Stewart Healthy Living at Omnimedia , have learned about seasonal cooking through “experimental living” after they bought the 1802 Beekman farm in Sharon Springs, New York. The Beekman farm is now an institution of farming delights and home to llamas, goats (and their famous premium Blaak goat cheese. Yum!).
During their demonstration, Josh and Brent will provide some laughs, insight into their seasonal lifestyle, and some delicious dishes to create and sample that will make you never want to turn to the freezer aisle in your grocery store again. Known for their homemade cheeses, preserves, and other artisanal masterpieces, the two will be sure to surprise us with mouthwatering treats and tricks to make them from your own home.

Chef John Tesar: 12:Chef John Tesar30 pm – “Crafting Idaho Potato Gnocchi and the Art of Pressure Pot Cooking”
John Tesar’s resume is as long as your arm, touting impressive critical acclaims from Esquire, Food & Wine, New York Magazine, and The New York Times, and has appeared on The Today Show and The Early Show. In 2011, Tesar competed on the inaugural season on the Food Network’s Extreme Chef, beating out two other chefs for the title. Of his culinary talents, Anthony Bourdain says “Tesar was probably the single most talented cook I ever worked with—and the most inspiring…His food—even the simplest of things—made me care about cooking again. The ease with which he conjured up recipes, remembered old recipes …and threw things together was thrilling to me. And, in a very direct way, he was responsible for any success I had as a chef afterward…”
Known for his charismatic personality and stylish contemporary techniques, the chef will be teaching a demonstration using Idaho potato gnocchi and pressure cooking. The class, therefore, will combine traditional cooking methods with a classic dish and a modern flare that will leave you wanting more! Luckily, Chef Tesar will leave you with the skills to recreate this savory dish over and over.
Chef Jason Wilson: 2:00 pm – “Four Styles of Idaho Lamb: Chops and Legs, Sausages and Tartar”
The title of this demonstration alone is enough to make your mouth water and stomach growl. Jason Wilson, head chef and owner of Crush restaurant in Seattle, will present to us a quartet of lamb preparations. And, if you know anything about the Sun Valley history, our goal has always been to “Eat More Lamb; It’s Delicious”!
This demonstration is sure to be a crowd pleaser as Chef Wilson has been named “Best Chef Northwest 2010″ from the James Beard Foundation and one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs 2006.” He has studied and perfected his culinary craft while living around the world, yet prides himself on using local and organic ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. What better a fit than working with the Sun Valley Harvest Festival! Join us for Chef Wilson’s presentation and leave with the knowledge of how to prepare creative, flavorful, and aromatic versions of our favorite “other” red meat!

Jackie Quillen: 3:30 pm – “Wine Tasting Boot Camp”

This is an event not to be missed! Jackie Quillen, founder of Christie’s New York Wine Department and “the Nose” at Christie’s for over 15 years, is the author of The Magic of Wine. Touting one of the most impressive resumés in the wine industry, Quillen trained for years with Michael Broadbent in the discipline of critical tasting, which is knowledge she will impart during the presentation.

Ms. Quillen will teach us the “art” of tasting wine; and yes, I mean learning to understand and appreciate legs, bouquets, and noses (not just gulping!). Her boot camp will focus on educating even the most amateur of wine drinkers to feel comfortable with tasting wines. Additionally, Quillen will give students the tools to understand and enjoy the delightful complexities of wine flavor profiles.


We hope to see you there! Cheers!

Come stay at the Knob Hill Inn

Book Now! Come stay at the Knob Hill Inn, for the third annual Sun Valley Harvest Festival September 21 – 23 and indulge in three full days of food and wine heaven. With two Epicurean Passes you will have access to the entire line up of events including the Restaurant Walk, Cooking Demonstrations, the Martini & Caviar Party and the Grand Tasting. You’ll also receive the full VIP treatment, including VIP parking, VIP seating and access to the VIP room. In between events, relax at the Inn taking in beautiful Sun Valley views as you sip from The Grill’s extensive wine list and enjoy small plates at the wine bar. Package includes: Two-night stay, two Epicurean Passes to Sun Valley Harvest Festival, small plate for two at the wine bar. Valid for new bookings September 21 – 23, 2012. Two-night minimum stay required. Rates starting at $409 per night.*