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Holiday Snaps – Kerridge in Colorado

Celebrity chef tourism is like pushing an open pantry door for destinations in a competitive market.

Now I wouldn’t be a big foodie as The Scary One will tell you.

But I do like to see the countries and cities that provide the blank canvas for the chefs we have all come to know.

With the daddy of them all, Keith Floyd, an infectious, larger-than-life character back in the day.

Who made the template for cookery on the road TV shows.

While Rick Stein’s Long Weekend always showcases a destination for me even if I’ll never come close to making any of his dishes.

My America: Tom in Colorado

Unless they’re scrambled eggs.

Tom Kerridge is the latest chef to pack the kitchen into his suitcase and take to the road for Food Network (9.30pm).

So this Thursday it’s Pittsburgh meatball sub.

Colorado Juniper Venison is next Thursday and Gold Country, California walnut and orange cake concludes the series on Thursday, October 3

I’ll be watching because Tom and I have a connection.

Meet the locals: Coloradans are real foodies

Tom ‘Caridge’ is English West Country to his bootstraps and while The Scary One is more refined I recognise the accent.

Our connection – no, not The Scary One and I, but Tom and I is American food and Tom’s doing the good ol’ Oo Es of A.

So we’ll see him in Pittsburgh whose culinary expertise has long been recognised by the award-givers.

And where I was invited out to and would have gone if I could have been in two places at the one time.

Now that’s a chip butty

I know Primanti Bros too from a morning spent in Fort Lauderdale ahead of my cruise to the Bahamas on Celebrity Edge.

Comfort food: And the staff always put you first

Check my Florida meanderings here… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/

And let’s hear it for California where I need no second invitation… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/

So to Colorado and Ginger and Baker in Fort Collins where I not only ate and drank for Scotland and Ireland but also attended a cookery class.

Held by the inimitable Debs… http://www.gingerandbaker.com

And baked me an apple pie… or my instructor showed me how.

Now let’s help you recreate Tom’s journey and exclusive recipes.

Colorado cooking

Now all this is my own work! With Debs in Fort Collins

12-night itinerary:

Two nights Denver – 1 night Gunnison – 2 nights Dunton Hot Springs – 2 nights Telluride – 2 nights Durango – 2 nights Grand Junction – 1 night Denver

The offer includes return flights to Denver (Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow) car hire, 12 nights’ accommodation (in 4-star hotels).

And based on room only (including two nights in the all-inclusive Dunton Hotel Springs Resort). 

For more information, contact Bon Voyage Travel on 0800 316 0194 (www.bon-voyage.co.uk) 

And here’s what Denver and Colorado have to offer Go West. and http://Pioneers.

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Wake up, smell the flour – baking

If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake… or is that just me getting my Great British Bake Off vibe on?

It used to be the case that all we wanted from a holiday was sun, sea and sand.

But these days there are more of us seeking out learning holidays.

It’s not enough to sample the beautiful and varied foods we are introduced to around the world.

The expert: Jen of Ginger And Baker in Fort Collins, Colorado

Now we have to learn how to make them ourselves.

I love baking… I’ll gladly watch The Scary One and Daddy’s Little Daughter, although more likely I smell the wafts.

I’m usually in the next room watching the sport on the TV.

But I surprised myself when I did bake me a cake in Colorado… or an apple pie, at least.

Can I have a job?

I probably wouldn’t have got past the dough stage without the help of chef Jen at Ginger And Baker http://www.gingerandbaker.com and http://www.colorado.com.

While Paul and Pru would deffo put me last in the list.

No Star Baker me compared with the Furies rolling, patting, preening and preparing their pies next to me.

So you want to get flour on your hands and sun on your back.

These are the guys for you… www.bookculinaryvacations.com.

Mr Apple Pie… my creation

They are offering five days Sourdough and Artisan Baking in Saleres in Grenada, Spain from €465.

Four days accommodation with all meals included. The vacation is available all year round except July and August.

And here is my baking adventure in Colorado… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/

I can testify to the Irish love of food and there is a kitchenful of top chefs ready and willing to bake you beautiful things.

Catherine the Great

Why not learn from the best? Catherine Fulvio’s Ballyknocken House & Cookery School in my own county of Wicklow.

Of course they do baking courses but the one I’m flagging up here is what they are pitching as What’s the Dill for September 14.

A celebration of the herb, it’s €50pp.

You’ll get tea, lemon balm scones and blueberry and lavender jam on arrival.

Then it’s aprons on for some baking.

There’s a light lunch and some herb and edible flower butter to take home. www.ballyknocken.ie.

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

The New Pioneers: The Wild West

Roy Rogers had his Trigger, The Lone Ranger his Silver and Issy has… me. Hi ho! But no away.

Issy is pulling to the right while my posse heads left. Great cowboy me.

The outlaw will be safely out of Dodge before I even get a trot on.

My home, home for today is on The Home Ranch, above Steamboat Springs in Colorado where Cowboy Mike is trying to teach me how to ride.

My favourite: Issy

The problem he tells me is that I’m pulling back instead of releasing the reins and I’m confusing poor Issy.

She should be in charge.

And isn’t that always so?

And then, all at once, gently, graciously, Issy decides she is ready, and steers me across HER ranch.

In the foothills of the majestic snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

The sun is beating down on the Western plains and I have no place to get to and I’m gettin’ there slow.

Hello cowboys: Andy and I

If this is what they call the pioneering spirit, then saddle ’er up and call me Jimmy.

Another Jimmy, Civil War veteran Colonel James Harvey Crawford was brimming o’er with pio- neering spirit too back in the day in Missouri.

After reading in his local newspaper of a hermit with a story, 

Joseph Westcott, who lived among the Ute Nation in the North-west Coloradan valleys below the Rockies.

Way out West

Yep, the Rockies at the back

And waxed lyrical to the reporter who came upon him in his travels about his idyllic surroundings.

Reading of the reporter’s adventures that day, James Harvey Crawford decided to uproot his family and go in search of the fabled hermit.

You can learn more at the Tread of the Pioneers Museum about James and wife Maggie, who discovered the hot springs.

It is quite a story of how they built the community of Steamboat Springs where we’re staying.

And you’ll also learn about Edward Curtis who came to curate the life of the Ute Nation in the early 20th Century.

Beer archaeologist? I want your job

And whose photographs and narrative were lost to us for decades, until they were unearthed in a Boston bookstore cellar in the Seventies.

All downhill…

Then there’s agent Nathan Meeker whose zealotry almost destroyed the Ute way of life. Thankfully, he failed, and the Ute now thrive in Southern Colorado.

But what of the New Pioneers, Carl Howesen, the Flying Norseman, Barnum & Bailey’s Ski Sailor who brought ski jumping to Steamboat?

And of the Olympic ski champions, among their number Billy Kidd (no, seriously).

Alas, we do not get to stay Home, home on The Home Ranch.

Bluegrass

Where the deer (we spy one crouching by a tree on our horse trek, she didn’t bat an eye lid) and my horse Issy and her friends roam.

At $8,000 a week for a couple with every frontiersman’s activity included, you’d better hope you win the lottery.

But we did get to view the Western-themed cabin rooms with their ‘take-home with you’ views of the Rockies.

If they had ever thought of placing TVs in the rooms they just as quickly dismissed the idea.

Jump in: The springs

And just as well too, although if your kids want to stay connected to the unreal world (families of four can stay for $15,000) then there is wi-fi!

We hardly slummed it though, staying in the comfortable Holiday Inn in Steamboat.

Spring into action

The power showers are reviving, although I would recommend bathing outdoors.

In the Colonel’s hot-water natural springs under the starry Colorado skies.

It is the perfect way for a cowboy to ease his saddle sores after a day riding the plains.

Colourful Colorado

I only hope though that Issy is enjoying a good relaxing wade in the cool Rocky Mountain waters.

We also get to enjoy the Embassy Suites in Boulder and the Elizabeth Hotel in Fort Collins where you’ll even get a record player in your bedroom.

So, what of hipster university town and home of Mork & Mindy, Boulder?

I’ve got this covered

The Ranch: Fine living’ y’all

It is a gentle coach ride from Springboat, a pleasant ride through gorgeous country.

Even better on board Issy. Maybe next time!

We were more than happy though with our driver Michael who was calm and charm personified.

Off for a paddle: Before the rafting

As he drove us along this enchanting route and stretched his time schedule to breaking point to let us to take shot after shot of the Rockies.

Being greeted as Sir may seem old-fashioned in our overfamiliar age.

Here for the beer

Flag days: Colorado flag in the middle

But mannerliness is just the Colorado way.

We found it in Avery where brewery beer archaeologist Travis (I want his life) and Park Rangers Josh, Wade and Dakota entertained, exercised and fed us in Eldorado Park.

And in the sumptuously bearded Mike (it’s a mountain name) and David.

They welcomed us to Chautauqua Park and the Flatirons, the five rock features that were thus named by the pioneering women who settled here.

Coloradans, I figure, must have been first in line when God was giving out the gifts.

Handsome, charming, sporty (old or young, they can rock-climb free-hand, buck broncos, ride horses, ski, of course, kayak and raft, and more of that later).

And cook. Man, can they cook.

The New Frontiersmen

In fact, every second adventurer seems to run a restaurant when they’re not out conquering the Great Outdoors.

Teas please

Back Indoors and Laid-back Lenny has brought us chi latte, in his Tajikistan Dushanbe Teahouse.

The Teahouse is a cultural curio, a gift from Boulder’s twin city in the former USSR (who knew?).

In the interests of of internationalism, I am working on getting him to put Lyons and Barry’s on the menu too.

Lenny and his fellow Coloradans truly are culinary pioneers.

Grub crawl

Clark, of bespoke dining experience, Local Table Tours shows us more on his grub crawl along Pearl Street.

Fennel salad in one, shrimp in another, all washed down with the best Colorado wine and their famous IPA craft beers.

Each pit stop throughout Colorado has a dish you’d want to take home with you.

Salt & Lime in Steamboat restored my faith in Mexican food after a student summer selling tacos in Boston.

While Dakota’s rhubarb cookies were another highlight and one I vow to make (or get the Indomitable Mrs M to make).

I take a turn, as unlikely as that is, at baking in Fort Collins, in Ginger & Baker.

Bake me a cake

Under the watchful eye of Deb who takes guests for a class and then serves you up your own creation after your meal.

A real slice of American pie.

While these new pioneers of cooking and baking continue to make waves in their crafts, it was time for us to make ours.

On the very French Powder river where trappers transported hides and furs on flimsy wooden rafts in days of old.

Thankfully, we have modern rubber rafts and we have safety in numbers…

Seven of us clinging to the side of our tub rowing like Furies, as the river rocks us.

Thirsty work.

We finish our day as all cowboys do, drinking beer, eating beans, singing and dancing by a camp fire.

Or in the absence of that, on the coach to the airport where the Chinese members of our party lead us in bus karaoke.

Singalong

Taylor sings Fly Me To The Moon, ably accompanied by Sarah and Coloradan Jennifer, our new family for these three days.

Before Chinese Judy channels her inner Coloradan with a rousing John Denver which I try to sing along to but find myself choking up.

Frantically looking for the words to Home on the Range over intermittent wi-fi I pass my go.

We are a party of Chinese, Jordanians, Australians, Germans, French, Danish, Canadians, Americans, of course, Irish and one Irish-Scot.

Heading out West on our wagon, singing songs and filled with dreams. We are the New Frontiersmen.

Travel facts

HOW TO GET THERE: Jim flew Aer Lingus Dublin-London return and British Airways London-Denver return. Try €1,461.72 as a paired economy ticket for sample dates of July 12-19 (subject to fluctuation). Irish airports allow you pre-clearance from customs before you land. (http://www.aerlingus.com).

WHERE TO STAY: The Embassy Suites, Boulder (www.embassysuites3.hilton. com), king bed non-suite room. From $249 a night (€210); Holiday Inn, Steamboat Springs (www.ihg. com) from $204.25 (€172.737), king bed, Elizabeth Hotel, Fort Collins (www.mariott.com). From $177 (€149) for king room.

Food for thought

EAT/DRINK: The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. (www.boulderteahouse.com), Avery Brewing Company (www.avery-brewing.com), Local Table Tours (www.localtabletours.com), Salt & Lime, Steamboat Springs (www. suckalime.com), Ginger & Baker (www.gingerandbaker.com).

And for a look at how to white water raft… Mountain Whitewater Rafting, Powder River. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7Z0dkvzUc&feature=youtu.be All filmed by my pal Leslie, our skipper, for http://www.unraveltravel.eu.

LEARN MORE: Visit www.colorado.com.

Now learn more about another great horseman Buffalo Bill and the get-rich Mile High city of Denver. http://Go West.