This was our first trip to Sun Valley and we were excited knowing that it was a World Class Resort Area. We knew that this was the perfect time to go as The Sun Valley Harvest Festival was happening featuring four days of Foodie Events.
Founded by locals Heidi Ottley and Ed Sinnot, this Epicurean Festival has grown since it first began five years ago. Our late planning made it challenging to reserve a room as the Festival attendees had most of the local Inns & Hotels booked. We were fortunate to find lodging with some help from friends and spent one night at The Kentwood Lodge in Ketchum and a second night at the Sun Valley Inn in Sun Valley. Our accommodations were both very good and it was actually fun, as we got to experience two hotels on one trip.
The Sun Valley Harvest Festival spans four days with Foodie Events. The first Event that we attended far exceeded our expectations. It was the Caviar & Martini Party at The Roundhouse where we tasted the cuisine prepared by Sun Valley Restaurants and enjoyed artisan cocktails. We parked at the base of the River Run Ski Area where we were whisked to the Champagne arrival area and were greeted by our hosts. We then took the Sun Valley Gondola up 2000 feet to The Roundhouse which was built in 1939 and is still the only restaurant on Bald Mountain. As we ascended to over 9,000 feet, we were in awe of the view of the Pioneer Mountain Range and the Valley. It was just spectacular!
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by very friendly servers with another glass of Champagne which we enjoyed as we walked a short distance to the Roundhouse. The Restaurant is really charming with beautiful log beam ceilings, an inviting bar and lounge. The dining area is spacious but cozy with spectacular views. You also had the option of enjoying the evening outdoors with views from the patio. This was a perfect spot for this very special evening. We had the pleasure of meeting Sun Valley Executive Chef and Culinary Director John Murcko and his assistant chefs as they were slicing and plating Snake River Farms American Wagyu Kobe Beef for the happy guests. We also enjoyed fabulous Mussels prepared with garlic and wine and delicious Spanish Cheese melted much like fondue served over roasted potatoes. We loved that there were select choices so that there were less competing flavors and that all of the ingredients were luxury. During the entire evening we were served a variety of wonderful appetizers featuring Idaho Caviar. What could be more fun!
We made our way to the bar where we found the Martinis made by Master Mixologist Ryan Sullivan which were incredible! There were quite a few unique cocktails but our favorite was the Summertime Sparkler made with Square One Basil Vodka, Fresh Watermelon Puree, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, Aperol Apertivo Liqueur, a splash of St. Michelle Sparkling wine and finished with black sea salt and lime wheel garnish. Of course, we also enjoyed classic martinis and sampled the Square One Organic, Botanical, Cucumber and Basil Vodkas straight up.
The Idaho Caviar was provided by Fish Breeders of Idaho from Hagerman www.FishBreedersofIdaho.com . We had a chance to chat with Leo Ray who has been raising catfish, rainbow trout and Tilapia since 1973. In 2004 he introduced White Sturgeon and has created distinctive domestic Caviar which we enjoyed on blinis, toast points and on eggs.
As the sun set we enjoyed the view and chatted with the other attendees who were all as pleased as we were to be there! This was an intimate event as they only sold 175 tickets at $95 which was a bargain. We descended in the Gondola and watched as the stars came out and even saw The Big Dipper. It was an amazing night!
On Sunday we attended The Taste of Sun Valley. It was a beautiful day for a picnic at the scenic Trail Creek Cabin picnic area. We tasted the cuisine created by Konditorei Bakery and Café, Roundhouse Restaurant, The Ram Restaurant, The Trail Creek Cabin and The Chocolate Foundry. Our favorites were the Konditorei Bakery and Café’s Beer Cheese Soup with House made pretzel, the Ram’s Halibut Cerviche and the The Trail Creek Cabin’s Brick Red Rotisserie Chicken. We also enjoyed the chocolates, fudge and candied Apples.
Along with the cuisine there were quite a few wines provided by Middleton Family Wines. We enjoyed the 2012 Cardaretta SBS Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon and the 2011 Buried Cane Red. This event was limited to 400 people so it was never crowded at all and the $40 ticket was also a major bargain.
While in Sun Valley we took advantage of the great shopping and fine cuisine. We enjoyed browsing at and buying a few things at The Picket Fence, Bellissimo Gardens, Panache, Brash Ranch, Vault, Thunderpaws Pet Shoppe, and Charles Stuhlberg Interiors. We had a light dinner at Enoteca where we sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of wine with a Diavola Pizza and a Mama’s Salad which were tasty and light.
We had a fabulous time at The Sun Valley Harvest Festival where we met many wonderful people. The weather was cool and crisp, the scenery was spectacular and the cuisine was World Class as expected. We truly felt like we were in Foodie Heaven. We look forward to other trips to Sun Valley and attending even more events at the festival again next year.
By Carol & Joe Davis – DinningDetectives