Folks around the state are talking about the great meals served last week at Downtown Colorado Inc.s 12th Annual Statewide Downtown Revitalization Conference, thanks in part to Strater Hotel and 1887 Catering executive chef Dave Cuntz.
Durango Area Tourism Offices Sarah McLean said Cuntz wowed the crowd of nearly 150 with an awesome pork loin roulade featuring apricots and habañeros, an apple tarte Tatin, squash gratin and a feta-topped green salad, created from produce grown and products raised exclusively in La Plata County.
Cuntz was responsible for two conference dinners, including one served at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train Museum, a venue that also impressed Erik Wolf, the president of the International Culinary Tourism Association based in Portland, Ore.
Wolf emphasized to conference attendees that the seeds of cuisine are in agriculture. He debunked myths about culinary tourism, including the perception that its all about high-end cuisine. Ninety-one percent of consumers just want good food and drink. Less than nine percent want the highest-end experience gourmet tourism, he repeated in a phone interview. Wolf urged attendees to refocus on what was unique in their own communities and to recognize and preserve local culinary culture.
One session of the conference had Sean Devereax of Guidos Favorite Foods leading folks on a walking tour where they were treated to yak at the Himalayan Kitchen, buffalo sliders, sweet potato fries and ceviche at the Lost Dog Bar & Lounge and gourmet cheeses and Prosecco at Guidos.
Another session had beer-lovers hopping aboard the Durango trolley to Ska Brewing Co., where the local Bootleggers Society, craft brewers from Steamworks, Carvers, Durango Brewing companies and Ska told our local story about craft beers.
Being the intolerant Italian that I am, there was no way I was going to miss Wednesdays grand opening of the Intolerant Italian and Wildflour Bakery at Namaste Health Center, where they are turning out gluten-free pasta, meatballs, focaccia and baked goods. Right now the beneficiaries are patients at Namaste, but they are working to expand to serve all of Durangos gluten intolerant. Stay tuned. In the meantime, visit their website: www.intolerantitalian.com.
Karen Brucoli Anesi