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Callier food column: A taste of the Roaring Fork Valley’s Italian connection

Buon cibo is “good food” in Italian. To Italians, it can also mean so much more. While Italy feels so far away from us here in the Roaring Fork Valley, To Italians, it can also mean so much more.

While Italy feels so far away from us here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we are still deeply connected. Northern Italians were among the first wave of migrants who tamed this land.There were no highways, and railroads were considered state-of-the-art travel, but these settlers persevered and established themselves for generations. Their culture, work ethic and cuisine have helped create our local identity.

I am one of their descendants. My great-great-grandparents, Jeremie and Cecile Gerbaz, brought their eight children to Woody Creek from Detroit.The couple originally immigrated from a tiny village in northern Italy called Doues.They settled near Aspen and put their boys to work on their new ranch.Life was surely difficult for them, but they thrived there. Their children would go on to be county commissioners and successful ranchers.They even have a road named after them in Woody Creek.During the hard times and the good, they used food to bring the family together.
Like many large families, there were certain rivalries between siblings, but these could be put aside over wine and the breaking of bread. The winters were difficult, but the summer could be bountiful.They raised potatoes and other crops that would sustain them during the long, cold months. Polenta was a staple that I even ate while growing up.
I have always been told that northern Italians loved it so much here, because it reminded them of home. I never knew this to be true until I visited their old village, Doues, in Italy.The village is in a valley called Valle d’Aosta, which is an alpine paradise. It is nestled in the Alps and is close to Switzerland and France.The valley is heavily influenced by French, Italian and Swiss cultures. One can see these influences everywhere, from language, clothing, architecture and cuisine.
The cuisine of the region is known best for its strong and rich ingredients of polenta, potatoes, cheese, meat and more meat. Did I mention cheese? The region also produces fontina which is a creamy cow’s milk cheese, with a mild, earthy flavor with a touch of honey sweetness.It is delicious and great for melting. Fontina makes wonderful fondue, which is a regional speciality.They also have the best pizzas served in remote huts and shanties. I have been lucky enough to visit Val d’Aosta.I have distant relatives there who have stayed in touch with the American family, and they graciously invited me to their home in Doues. The area is idyllic like a pastoral dream.

Ancient villages line the valley all the way to Switzerland. The back of the Mater Horn presides over the area, and the Alps rise at impossible angles.Not only is the landscape indelible, but the food is sublime.Eating dinner is an act of grace and communion and always taken seriously.Every meal is intimate and can last hours. Supper usually begins with a light salad and several strong aperitifs.From there, it progresses to a soup, first course, second course and dessert. Wine is mandatory throughout, and a digestif and espresso are served with dessert.It is considered rude to refuse food or not clean a plate. I never had that issue, but I did cry once in a bathroom, because I feared I couldn’t eat or drink anymore.We must not forget our ancestral connections and how they still shape us.

Recipes tell tales of our struggles and triumphs, and these are my family’s stories.All recipes accompany this story.Apple Fritters(Serves four people)These are served as an appetizer.The apples must be cut small enough to cook quickly and evenly, while the breading browns. After flipping them in the frying pan, make sure to gently press down with spatula.They are slightly sweet, so they can also make a light dessert.Ingredients1 egg1/2 cup milk1/2 cup beer1 cup flour1 teaspoon sugar3 apples, sliced or cubedpinch of lemon peel, gratedpinch of saltoil for fryingDirections1.In a medium bowl, stir together egg, milk, beer, flour and salt into a smooth batter.2.
Add apples to batter and stir until coated. Let mixture stand for about 30 minutes.3. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat.Drop spoonfuls of mixture and fry until both sides are golden. Serve immediately.
La Favo(Serves four people)This is a classic pasta, tomato sauce and white bean dish. You can also use fresh fava beans, but they require extra prep time.

They are ideal with short cut pasta such as ditalini, but I had a hard time finding that type. Instead, I used the “Italian Trottole” that I like so much.To experiment, you could add a splash of red wine, garlic or other kinds of creamy cheeses for different flavor possibilities. Ingredients16 ounces short cut pasta1 can northern beans6 ripe tomatoes, crushed1 can tomatoes, crushed1 shallot4 slices Italian Bread, cubed1/4 cup butter4 tablespoons butter1/2 cup Fontina cheese, sliced thinlyDirections1.Drain beans and save liquid separately. 2.Cut shallots into pieces and melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and cook until shallots are soft and transparent.
Add crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer.3. Cook the pasta in water and drained liquid from beans until pasta is al dente.4. Drain pasta and add to the tomato sauce, and stir in the beans.

Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.5.Fry the cubed bread in a pan with butter until bread is golden and crispy. 6.Stir fontina cheese into pasta until melted. Top with toasted bread cubes and serve immediately.
Frecacha(Serves four people)Frecacha is a fancy way of seeing meat and potatoes. Be sure not to over boil the potatoes, as they need to hold up while you simmer all ingredients together for an hour.The cinnamon and nutmeg make this more exotic than average mean and potatoes dishes. Use those with caution.Cooking time can vary, depending on how soupy you prefer. Ingredients2 large white onions2 large potatoes, boiled and cold14 ounces beef round steak2 tablespoons butter1 tablespoon salt4 cups beef stockpinch of pepper, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon powder Directions 1.Boil potatoes in a large pot for 25 minutes. Remove from water and cool.2. Slice the onions and cook in butter over medium-high heat until they are soft and transparent.3. Cut beef and potatoes into slices and add to the pot of onions.Sauté over medium-high heat for about five minutes.4.Stir in beef stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on a low heat for about an hour.Stir in salt and spices. Add more to taste, as needed.Serve after fluid has browned and reduced. EntertainmentDeVotchKa goes back to its roots at The TemporaryMarch 21, 2019Buon cibo is “good food” in Italian.To Italians, it can also mean so much more. While Italy feels so far away from us here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we are still deeply connected.

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Arts Alive ready to honor donors as it shows off new digs, new artists

As a thank you for support received throughout 2018, the Summit County Arts Council nonprofit group will be hosting a reception honoring donors, …
The reception will be at the gallery inside the La Cima Mall, 500 S.Main St. from 5-8 p.m. March 9.
Anyone who remembers the Arts Alive Gallery before the redo won’t have to look hard to find it now, as Arts Alive hasn’t moved. Instead, the council scaled back the size of the gallery.The Summit County Arts Council says the new compact space does not sacrifice quality or variety, but frees up valuable funds to support the group’s efforts of improving lives through art.And Arts Alive has a few new artists, too.Deb Evans works mostly with moderate sized canvases and enjoys painting mountains, lakes and rivers. Meanwhile, Teri Z.Hendrix, who started painting at a young age, retired from teaching in 2010 and now has the time to chase her creative passions.The other artist is Stephen Johnson, a multi-generational Colorado native who got his first Kodak Brownie Camera in the 1950s.In the mid-70s he upgraded to a SLR camera, and was asked to participate in a Kodak Focus group in 2000, which provided an entry point into digital photography. Johnson now shoots with professional cameras and various lenses, as he chases wildlife photography with an emphasis on raptors and birds-in-flight, as well as shots of the landscape, sunsets and sunrises.His work is often featured in the Summit Daily News.For more, go to Summit or find for the Arts Alive Gallery on .Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.If you don’t follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.Top Jobs Stay Winter ParkHOA Manager, Office Manager, Front Desk/Guest Service, Guest Services Manager Stay Winter Park is growing and needs you to join our team! HOA Manager & Office Manager The Lodge at Breckenridge Shuttle, Cook, Maintenance Tech$200 Signing Bonus Shuttle PT Cook FT/PT Maintenance Tech FT Competitive Pay, Great Benefits and City of Aspen Job Opportunities with the City of Aspennone COLORADO MOUNTAIN PROPERTY MANAGERCOLORADO MOUNTAIN PROPERTY MANAGER House, property and gardening duties.FT. Up to $25/hour.Lift 60Atlantic Aviation- ASECustomer Service Rep + Line Technicians Atlantic Aviation – ASE F/T positions for Aircraft Refueler/ Line Service Tech to park, tow Heartwood Custom Cabinet Makers Heartwood Custom Wood works in Eagle, CO, is seeking a cabinet maker with shop-based cabinet making Summit Paint & Decorating Paint Store Summit Paint in Basalt is looking for a store clerk. Must be able to lift Heartwood Custom Cabinet Maker Heartwood Custom Wood works in Eagle, CO, is seeking a cabinet maker with shop-based cabinet making Green Dragon Sales Associate Sales Associate Come join the Green Dragon – Breckenridge Team! FT & PT positions, Must Green Dragon Sales Associate Sales Associate Come join the Green Dragon -Aspen Team! FT/PT/Management positions, MED badge req.Send Keystone Science School Customer Experience Specialis tCustomer Experience Specialist Competitive hourly wage, health/welfare benefits, & generous sick/vacation /holiday time. Family member CMP Enterprises, LLC Administrative AssistantAdministrative Assistant Temp to Perm long term position in Aspen for right person.
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