Friday, October 14, 2011

Gourmet Tour of Denver- A TASTY post

I have such a FUN post to share with you today if you like food! Its gonna be long.... but hopefully you'll bear with me! Every Christmas on my side of the family we draw names between my brothers and sisters families and we just get presents for the familys name we drew. Abbey and Jake had us this year and they got us our gift early- a Denver Gourmet Food Tour. We met Chelly (the owner and guide) at the Riverfront by Platte River and began our tour with 14 others. Chelly was a very enthusiastic, professional, knowledgeable and stylish guide throughout our journey. It was SO neat to meet with the shop owners and chefs and hear the "story" behind their business and their inspirations!

{STOP #1} The first stop was the EVOO Marketplace. The owner Mick and his wife met us and guided us through the fascinating world of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrettes with finesse.  
We started with the balsamic vinegars which were out of this world! We were served vanilla ice cream and asked to choose a vinegar to pour over top. I know, it sounds weird but it was AMAZING!!! Mark chose a Dark Chocolate Balsamic and I chose a Cranberry Pear Balsamic. The sour and sweet were perfect together. I am seriously thinking of adding this combo to my dessert diet. 
We also mixed balsamic vinegars with their fine selection of EVOO. They import almost all their EVOOs from Italy and have many different infused and fused varieties. 
My favorite EVOO was a Blood Orange flavor. It was great with the fruity balsamic vinegars.

 Micks wife was SO knowledgeable with which EVOOS worked best with which vinegars.
She paired a Natural Butter EVOO with a Blueberry balsamic vinegar and said her grandkids eat this over waffles and pancakes- and its tremendously healthy- way better for you than syrup. Pretty cool and VERY tasty! I could not beleive how sweet these balsamic vinegars were- and its all natural sugars. 

 This was definitely one of my favorite stops of the day. The downtown shop has only been open for 2 years. And the best news is that they are opening another shop in Littleton about 10 minutes from my house! I think these would make GREAT Christmas gifts! Looking forward to going back soon!

{STOP #2} Brava Pizza with chef David Bravdica. This was Marks Fav stop of the day and right up there at the top for me! Located on the 16th St Mall,  Dave whips up some amazing pizza pie in his mobile wood burning stove right out on the street and let me tell you its delicious! Dave just spent 9 months in Italy learning from Italian chefs the secrets to true Italian Pizza and he nailed it here in Denver!
I just love that he uses locally grown ingredients in all his pies. He made a Margarita pizza with fresh tomatoes, basil and freshly pulled mozzerella. It was so light and flavorful! The crust was thin and cooked to perfection. he uses a wood burning stove and places the pie right up next to the coals... pretty cool! It was ready in about 6 minutes! 

 We also tried this amazing pizza with atrichoke hearts, kalamata olives and feta cheese.
We tried a pepperoni pizza and then my fav.. the Fun-Guy pizza (get it? fun-guy aka schrooms)
it was drizzled with some Black Truffle EVOO from the shop we had just visited.
All his pies, he serves hot out of the stove and then drizzles EVOO right on top before serving. 

Brava Pizza has been ranked as the top pizza in Denver! Pretty impressive!
We will be back for sure!

{STOP #3} GiGis cupcakes- These cupcakes are very yummy! We have a shop right by us at Aspen Grove so we have had them before. They are awfully pretty too! We started talking to a couple on the tour with us and they are expecting their first children-twins- so it was fun to talk to them about twin life! 
GiGis also has a Pink cupcake trailer that rides around the city selling cupcakes- such a cute idea! 

I chose the Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcake- my favorite part was the sea salt sprinkled on top of the chocolate- YUM! Mark got the Midnight Magic cupcake- LOTS of chocolate! 

{STOP #4} Denver Beer Co.  Now, let me preface this by saying that I do not enjoy beer at all. I have tasted it on several occasions and in my opinion, it just is not very good. Wine, on the other hand, I like a lot! But since this was our last stop I at least sampled them. It was very interesting to me learning how beer is made. It has 4 ingredients- barley, water, hopps, and yeast. The owners of this brewery walked us through and showed us their beer making process. They have only been open 8 weeks and have already won awards for their brew. 

They make their own beer according to the seasons. So, they had 7 or 8 "fall" brews. They do not bottle it or ship it anywhere (yet) so once they make a batch and its gone.. its basically gone forever. We sampled an Autumns Amber - a beer that had a nutty, caramel smell. Also the Pueblo Chile Beer which was really light in color and smelled like chili peppers and then a Fall About Stout beer which was REALLY dark and tasted like coffee and chocolate. 

And that concluded our tour. It was such a fantastic experience! Chelly recommended stopping by Savory Spice Shop right on Platte street so we stopped by on our way to the car. They have a shop in Littleton that I have visited and LOVED. You can buy spices by the oz. and they have any spice you have ever dreamed of! I bought some Mulberry Spices to make some spiced apple cider or spiced wine. It smelled so good!

We had SUCH a wonderful time as we sampled the best that Denver has to offer!
Special thanks to Abbey and Jake for such a FUN Christmas gift!
It was the perfect date!


~Abbey~ said...


Chelly said...

Hi Chastity - I'm so happy you enjoyed the tour. You are a terrific photographer! It was great meeting you both and I hope you will join me again soon!

Michelle said...

I just read this post now (a little late, I know...learning how to care for 2 kids under 2 isn't should know!) BUT that food tour looked like a BLAST!! Mike and I LOVE LOVE doing stuff like that! It's given me inspiration to search for something like that in our area. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures. I think I could even TASTE everything at one point...haha!