A sneak peek at fine food | SummitDaily.com

A sneak peek at fine food

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Ned Archibald is already creating his chocolate decadence for Wine in the Pines, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 24.

The infamous pastry chef at Keystone Resort begins preparing decorations made from chocolate, such as large wine bottles, three weeks before the event. Two weeks out, he focuses on making chocolate and pastry shells, and during the last week he starts in on the mousses and other sweet fillings.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, he’ll arrive at the Keystone Conference Center at 4 a.m. to set up his enormous – and scrumptious – display, complete with more than 10,000 edible pieces. For most dessert receptions, he figures on about three to six pieces of sweets per guest. But for Wine in the Pines, it’s more like 10-12 pieces per person.

Before he came to Keystone as a pastry chef 15 years ago, he worked in the Bay Area, where guests tended to consume very little. The first year he presented at Wine in the Pines, he was “blown away” by how people indulged in the food, wine and chocolates, he said. Apparently, Summit County really knows how to live it up. And why not? Wine in the Pines offers the finest assemblage of cuisine in one place.

Archibald keeps track of the public’s favorite desserts by how fast the items go, and each year he makes more, in hopes of having enough – enough of the chocolate teacups filled with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream, enough of the creme brulee and berries and enough of the strawberry tartlets.

By the numbers, Wine in the Pines will present about 600 pounds of meat and fish at six of the eight food stations and approximately 450-500 pounds of chocolate, said executive chef Steve Nguyen and Archibald.

And, this year’s menu is quite tempting. For example, Bighorn Steakhouse will offer a roast tenderloin of beef with lobster mashers and laughing bird shrimp relish. Ski Tip Lodge will present Texas wild boar belly confit with braised cipollini and broccoli whipped potatoes. The Ranch is coming up with lamb cheeks, and Alpenglow Stube will serve cider-glazed smoked moulard duck breast with roasted chestnut and butternut squash puree.

“Every year, the chefs really outdo themselves, and I think they keep getting better and better,” Archibald said. “The guest benefits from the friendly competition.”

Nguyen assigns each restaurant a protein, and then it’s up to individual chefs to do their magic. Since they aren’t limited by guests’ choices, they have free reign to let their creativity run wild. Then, on the day of the event, all of the chefs converge in the conference center’s kitchen.

“It gets kind of chaotic,” Nguyen said.

But it’s an exciting chaos, the kind that results in mouth-watering dishes sure to please even the most discriminating palates.

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