We’ve crafted the ultimate French-themed itinerary. All you have to do is say "oui."

By Justin Chapple
Updated June 07, 2019
Jacques and Claudine Pepin
Credit: Abby Hocking

The annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen kicks off Friday, June 14, and with dozens of immersive workshops, seminars, and tastings—all set against the stunning backdrop of Aspen Mountain—there are endless ways to navigate the weekend. Every day is packed with cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, luncheons, tastings, book signings, and late-night shindigs, so it might be hard deciding what to do. Our solution? Pick a theme, make a plan, and then work it. For a little inspiration, we’ve curated a very special itinerary in honor of one of our favorite culinary regions: France. Here are seven entrees to experiencing the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen the French way.

Start with Champagne

Shayn Bjornholm’s seminar, "What a year! The Best of Vintage Champagne," will feature some of the most delicious—and expensive—Champagne of the entire festival. Shayn wasn’t named a “Most Trustworthy Sommelier in the United States” by GQ magazine for nothing. He’s served as wine director for the world-class Canlis restaurant in Seattle, education director for the Washington State Wine Commission, and is now the examination director for the Court of Master Sommeliers-Americas. This seminar is sure to be a bubbly good time.

Watch Jacques and Claudine Pépin prepare a meal from Provence

For many people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch internationally renowned chef Jacques Pépin and his daughter, Claudine, as they demonstrate a classic meal from the French region of Provence. Among other dishes, Jacques and Claudine will adapt France's famous fish stew to make a chicken bouillabaisse with a classic rouille.

Experience Bordeaux in Aspen

In his seminar, Kevin Zraly—acclaimed wine educator, best-selling author, and James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner—will guide you through a tasting of outstanding wines from the Bordeaux region of southwest France, one of the greatest wine regions on Earth.

Hit up all things French in the Grand Tasting Pavilion

The Grand Tasting Pavilion offers attendees the chance to taste wine, spirits, and food products from some of the world’s best purveyors, including many from and inspired by France. Whether you sip Champagne from Taittinger or rosé from Château Gassier, there’s no shortage of French wines. For a nibble, pop by the table of Aspen’s Home Team BBQ to try their brisket-based riff on French rillettes, or head to Jimmy John’s booth for a bite of their newest sandwich, the Frenchie. Food and drinks aren’t they only way to get a taste of France in the tents. Le Creuset will be showcasing their premium French cookware. Plus, Butterfield & Robinson, who specialize in curating custom journeys around the world, will be onsite and can offer the details of their legendary biking trips throughout France.

The pavilion will be open for tastings five times: at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, and at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday. For a full list of exhibitors, study the pavilion map, which can be found at the front entrance or on the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen mobile app.

Wake up in the Loire Valley

Master Sommelier David Keck was named one of Food & Wine’s Sommeliers of the Year in 2016. In his Saturday morning seminar, David will take you beyond Sancerre—one of the Loire Valley’s most famous wine region—and guide you through a tasting of some of the most delicious wines from central France. Arrive thirsty.

Boulangerie Brunch

Chefs Ludo Lefebvre and Nina Compton have teamed up with Lexus to curate an epic French brunch with wine pairings by Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy. Lefebvre and Compton will demonstrate elevated classic dishes that will not only impress attendees but also inspire them to recreate their own beautiful boulangerie brunch at home.

Understand White Burgundy

White Burgundies can range from powerful and rich to light and crisp. What better way to understand them better than from Master Sommelier and Wine Enthusiast’s 2018 Sommelier of the Year, June Rodil. In her seminar, June will break down the character, taste, and price differences of this iconic wine.

Here's to a fantastic 2019 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen—make sure to tag us @foodandwine in your Instagram photos for a chance to be featured on our Instagram. We'll see you in Aspen!