Colorado Food News: Winning blue cheese; red velvet funnel cakes; jamón Ibérico

"Yes, everybody thinks of Colorado as a beer state, but the emergence of the local wine industry is changing that some." -Jennifer Broome

Paonia-based Avalanche Cheese Company took home an award at the 2012 American Cheese Society Conference for its Midnight Blue. (Courtesy photo)

Congratulations to the Paonia-based Avalanche Cheese Company which took home three awards at the recent American Cheese Society Conference for their Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar, Reserve Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar, and their outstanding Midnight Blue cheese. Other Colorado winners include Sheep’s Milk Ricotta (Fruition Farms Dairy), Ashley (MouCo Cheese Co.), and Feta, Smoked Chevre, Chevre in Marinade and Camembert (Haystack Mountain).

New York likes the taste of farm-to-table in Boulder

New York Magazine has high praise for Boulder as a weekend culinary destination in the current issue. The shoutouts include The Kitchen, Black Cat (“duck breast roasted in fennel honey”), Frasca, Boulder County Farmers’ Market, Local Table Tours, Upslope Brewing, Cured, Cafe Aion (“jamón Ibérico and nouveau tapas”), Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, Bitter Bar (“the city’s best speakeasy,”) and Mountain Sun Pub.

Garbanzo on a roll

Denver Business Journal reports that Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill has signed its first Oklahoma franchisee, with plans to develop up to 10 Garbanzo locations of the young Denver-based fast-casual chain in early October. Mor and Panera Bread co-founder Ken Rosenthal launched Garbanzo in 2007. It currently has 14 Colorado locations, has plans to open five to 10 company-owned stores in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, and announced its first Texas franchise deal in May.

‘Beer state’ winning converts for its wine

“Colorado is a very affluent state, a well-traveled state, a state that is interested in being part of the green movement, living organic and clean, but also interested in being fit and being healthy. Wine plays a part in that. Yes, everybody thinks of Colorado as a beer state, but the emergence of the local wine industry is changing that some. I think that it is a shock for a lot of people how good the wine is here.”

– Jennifer Broome, travel blogger and meteorologist at Denver’s KDVR, at

Bikes to the rescue food-wise recently reported on Caleb Philips who founded Boulder Food Rescue, a group that collects tossed-out food from grocery stores, straps it to bikes and rides it to shelters, housing projects and at-risk community outlets feeding about 150 folks with supermarket rejects every Saturday.

Zagat, Bon Appetit laud area’s top eateries

When USA TODAY recently asked restaurant guidebook publisher Zagat to name the top Italian restaurants in 22 metropolitan areas, Boulder’s Frasca Food & Wine took the top spot in the Denver metroplex. Meanwhile, Linger, Pinche Tacos and Pizzeria Locale made Bon Appetit’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants (in the country) list.

Red velvet funnel cake added to state fair lineup

The Colorado State Fair — running Aug. 24- Sept. 3 in Pueblo — sent out a press release recently to let fair fans know that additional culinary attractions have been added to the menu. Hoopingarner’s booth will offers red velvet funnel cakes besides the usual bloomin’ onions and fried green tomatoes. Sophie’s Sidewalk Cafe is set to serve wraps, salads and Fudge Puppies — chocolate-coated waffles on a stick. Details at:

Say farewell to Conway’s

The Denver Business Journal reports that the final location of Conway’s Red Top closed recently in Colorado Springs. The small local hamburger chain opened in 1944 and once had five restaurants in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

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– Sentinel staff and wire service reports