The Mind Game of Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

STANDING ON the cool, slick surface of a gray-speckled white rock in an alpine grotto, I sink into reflection. A breeze tickles my bare arms, sun warms my face, and I wonder where the water trickling into this sapphire pool originates. I inhale deeply and taste minerals on my tongue. What’s on the other side of these stone boulders? How did I get here? How long will I stay here? 

When I open my eyes moments later, however, I’m in another wonderland: the open-air SO Café on the rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum. Sunlight streams through Shigeru Ban’s basket-weave wooden ceiling onto the table I share with three other women. We’ve just taken our first, glorious sips of sparkling blush rosé. I smirk, intoxicated already

“The best way to prepare your palate is to connect to breath, it opens your olfactory system,” says Marisa Hallsted, sommelier, yogi and founder of the Mindful Vine, which fuses those two worlds though pairing events. “When we receive something into the body, the olfactory system is the fastest way to send messages to our nervous system. It influences the entire experience.”
Upon Hallsted’s urging, I describe my fleeting journey aloud

“I was on a rock, too!” Jayne Gottlieb and Lisa Cohen exclaim in succession. Hallsted is leading us through an “intuitive tasting” in an effort to cultivate mindfulness—a practice that Gottlieb, yogi and founder of Aspen Shakti, and Cohen, a nutritionist, health coach and fitness expert, understand intimately

“I create experiences so that people can immerse themselves in the present moment through the vehicle of food and wine,” Hallsted explains. “It’s about enjoyment and connection—more deeply to yourself and to each other.”

I’ve come here to lunch with these ladies and explore the gazillion- dollar question: Is it possible to enjoy a more mindful Food & Wine Classic?

From the incredible writings of Amanda Rae Busch The Aspen Times from lunch discussing the MIND GAME of FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen

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