Sep 12, 2022 - News

Our favorite bites from the Denver Food and Wine Festival

The "Grandpa's Banana" cocktail featured at the Denver Food and Wine Festival's Shake + Brake Showdown. Photo: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

The foodie extravaganza known as the Denver Food and Wine Festival ended Saturday with a grand tasting of the city's best eats.

Here are our favorite bites and sips from the four-day event that returned after a pandemic hiatus.

John's pick: The premier event of the week — the decadent, five-course Dinner Under the Stars fundraiser — offered too many delicious dishes to recount.

  • The one I'm still talking about is the 20-ish layer lasagna from Tavernetta executive chef Cody Cheetham. Rich, but silky smooth with beautiful thin ribbons of pasta, it was divine.
  • Next favorite was a Grand Tasting bite of chocolate hazelnut babka from Getright's Bakery, opening soon in Wheat Ridge.

Esteban’s pick: It was hard to keep track of all the dishes, but Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs’ rattlesnake gumbo — and yes, it was real rattlesnake meat — was the perfect, savory start to the Grand Tasting.

  • And I have to give a nod to the grilled octopus tacos served personally by chef Jose Avila of La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal. They were delightful.

Alayna's pick: At the Shake + Brake Showdown, the festival's hottest new event, I was wooed by the "Grandpa's Banana" cocktail from Neon Gold bartender Benjamin Janarelli, featuring Makers 46, Luxardo Fernet, orange liqueur, chocolate bitters, fresh orange juice and homemade banana purée (and I am not a banana fan).

  • What really sold me was the chocolate rim topped with chili lime sea salt and a blend of five (!) different dehydrated chilis straight from Janarelli's garden.

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