Culinary Excursions at Whistler Cornucopia November 9-19

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With just two weeks before Whistler welcomes its 21st annual Celebration of Food and Drink, Cornucopia presented by BlueShore Financial November 9-19, there are still opportunities to participate in some exceptional events.

From Spain to Italy, USA to Mexico, and back “home” to B.C. — Whistler dining establishments have partnered with a host of talents to provide an in-resort around-the-world excursions.  This year, in addition to the festival’s renowned winery dinners, the offerings have expanded to include a craft brewery dinner, a Sensory Cinema experience complete with Japanese whiskey pairings, and a roving, multi-station dining experience complete with craft brews, spirits and wine. The toughest decision will be, how to fit it all in?

The Cellar by Araxi Intimate Dinner Series returns to the lineup with multiple dinners on the “menu” including their signature Big Guns dinner. This year, Big Guns turns to Italy – Viva Italia!  with Executive Chef James Walt unveiling a sneak peak of his new menu from the much anticipated and reimagined Il Caminetto. Can’t make Big Guns? Choose from a selection of Okanagan wineries, Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle or Oregon’s Stoller Family, Moet Hennessey or the Torres, Spain featuring Chef Jorge Munoz from Araxi’s sister restaurant Bar Oso.

The private dining room of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s Grill Room is the setting for four dinners to take place over each weekend of the festival: Island Flavours (Vancouver Island that is!), Small FarmsQuail’s Gate Winery Dinner and Blasted Church Winery Dinner.

A powerhouse of female talent is lined up for Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s first annual ELLEvate TogetHERcollaborative fundraiser dinner, with all proceeds to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. Join Isabel Chung, executive chef at Fairmont Chateau Whistler; Melissa Craig, executive chef at Bearfoot Bistro; and Nicole Gomes, recent Top Chef Canada All-star winner and owner of Cluck N Cleaver. Female apprentices will assist chefs Chung, Craig and Gomes; acclaimed Quails’ Gate winemaker Nikki Callaway, two of British Columbia’s top sommeliers, Maryke Vandermarel from Bearfoot Bistro and Jill Spoor from Fairmont Pacific Rim and Jen Park, artisan baker/owner of 200 degrees Bakery round up the lineup.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler Executive Chef Eren Guryel is playing host to several of his counterparts from around the USA and Mexico throughout Cornucopia, starting with fellow mountain resort chefs Topher Strittmatter, Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole and Ashton Fitchl, Four Seasons Resort Vail at Peak to Peak to Peak – Four Seasons Mountain Collection Chefs Collaborative. On the second Friday, Sidecut welcomes Nobu Lana’i’s Chef Marlowe Lawrenko to bring a taste of Four Seasons Resort Lana’is signature new-style Japanese cuisine to Whistler for An Evening with NOBU Long Table Dinner.

What’s Whistler without a little après? Chef Guryel partners with Four Seasons Hotel Mexico’s star mixologist Mica Rousseau for Mezcal y Maize – A Taco Après Party! Taking place over several days of the festival, don’t miss out on a menu of inventive taco trio, a signature cocktail, and Mezcal tastings set to a cool DJ vibe.

Alba, Italy’s prized white truffles are the star of Quattro’s White Truffle Dinner, paired with wines from Batasiolo. Seats are limited for this true celebration of Italian food and wine.

Returning for its third year is the very popular and perennial sell-out event Savour from the Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler’s Grill & Vine Restaurant and Firerock Lounge. A multi-station, roving event including the coveted Poutine Bar, Specialty Sliders, Truffle Mac n’ Cheese, and more. These comforting culinary delights are perfectly paired with local craft beer, wine and spirit samplings throughout Grill & Vine and FireRock Lounge. Savour will prime your palate for an energizing night of Cornucopia events.

Newcomers on the schedule, Legs Diamond Bistro is offering, An Evening at Legs Diamond’s Supper Clubthroughout the festival’s 11 days.

Harajuku Izakaya’s Sensory Cinema: Lost In Translation will provide ticketholders with a movie experience unlike any other. Sofia Coppola’s classic ‘Lost in Translation’ paired to a tasting menu complete with Japanese Whiskey inspired by Harajuku Izakaya team’s favourite moments in the film. With the added dimension of taste, touch and smell, the movie comes alive in an immersive cinematic experience.

Black’s Pub has teamed up with friends at Whistler Brewing for a four-course meal and beer pairing dinner with staple and seasonal brews. If you love food and beer, this is a night not to be missed!

If you are looking to spend some time out of the Village, Creekside’s Red Door Bistro has teamed up with Tightrope winery for a winemaker dinner, and Fix Fondue Hut at Nita Lake Lodge has a wine and fondue nightwith Santa Ema wines – who doesn’t like wine and cheese?

With a robust schedule of events, seminars, various tastings including the must-attend flagship tasting event Crush Grand Tasting — there is a menu for every taste and budget.  Don’t miss out – tickets are on sale now. Visit whistlercornucopia.com for ticket and event information.

This is an event that I am looking forward to returning to this year as well.

By: Richard Wolak