Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Fri January 15 2016

Santa Fe to Host Foodie Classic this Martin Luther King Weekend

Destination & Tourism | Charu Suri | January 15, 2016

Santa Fe to Host Foodie Classic this Martin Luther King Weekend

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Santa Fe, established in 1607 and the second oldest city founded by European colonists in the U.S., is giving its food scene the same spotlight and heft as its rich and religious history this weekend.

Its first Foodie Classic will be held this weekend from Jan. 15-17, fusing both timeless ways of cooking along with modern culinary feats. The three-day event’s piece de la resistance is the “Seven Deadly Sins” dinner on Jan. 15 at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, which will feature a seven-course meal, spearheaded by Chef Tony Smith along with seven wine pairings from Albuquerque’s Gruet winery. Diners who love dancing and music will love a background sensation of both cantos and Flamenco dancing with performances by the National Institute of Flamenco.

There will be a grand tasting on Jan. 16 at the Convention Center, which will transform into a foodie showcase housing culinary artists, distillers, brewmasters and winemakers who invite guests to mingle, sip and meander almost like a Biergarten. Admission also will include a souvenir glass, as well as a chance to meet the winemaker along with artisanal cheese tastings. And what better way to end the classic than with an after party at Eldorado’s CAVA lounge?

Sunday will complete the classic with a chef competition at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, with only 60 seats. Three local chefs will flex their culinary muscle to compete in a secret basket competition.

Micaela Brown, president of Heritage Productions who will oversee the show, is on a mission to blend flavors and traditions deep-rooted in the culture and to blend them to create dishes and beverages that are special. So don’t necessarily expect Santa Fe alone, but also the talents of Silver City, Abiquiu and Albuquerque talents.

VIDEO: Mark Murphy takes you on a tour of Santa Fe

John Rivera Sedlar from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters will be on hand. Sedlar himself comes from a rich culinary history and his aunt was a cook for Georgia O’Keefe. He learned to approach cooking because he is a Latin culinary scholar, and brings a southwestern approach. His restaurant, Eloisa, opened the beginning of this year.

“Santa Fe one of the few places that cuisine continues to evolve and still maintains its relevance to the people,” said Cynthia Delgado, marketing manager for Tourism Santa Fe. She should know a thing or two about the city: her father was mayor, and the Delgado family is one of the original founding families, with a family flag on the Palace of the Governors.  Other food events, like the wine and chili fiesta, have been going on for 40 years.

The foodie classic spotlights unique and local products. Chef Smith’s dishes on the first day include a sherry mushroom empanada, chipotle barbecue sauce with jicama straw, paired with a rosé, a kale dish with tenderloin and a choke chili demi-glace. Delgado is particularly fond of the competitive element on day three.

READ MORE: Top 5 Ways To Get Romantic Like The Bachelor in Santa Fe

While the craft beer scene in Santa Fe is catching on, there were some early pioneers, like the Santa Fe brewing company, which has national distribution now. A key beer that you should try is the Santa Fe Pale Ale which won the “Best of the Rockies” award; the other is “State Pen Porter” whose brewhouse is on the site of a former state penitentiary.

The foodie classic is designed to bring people into a city in a month during shoulder season. “Many people that have never been here before cannot believe that Santa Fe is situated at an elevated level, at 7,000 feet,” says Delgado. “People incorrectly call us a desert area, but we get more rain than moisture. You can go skiing 25 minutes away,” she added.

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