Cornucopia 2015 – A Successful Festival, Looking Forward To Celebrating 20 Years In 2016.

For the past 19 years Cornucopia has highlighted the best in food and wine though unique offerings of events, from intimate Chef Luncheons, Winemakers Dinners, Drink Seminars, Gala Tastings to parties that last late in to the night. Cornucopia added new programming this year to embrace the explosion of craft beer enthusiasts, respond to the demand of sell-out events and to include some insight to some of Whistler best Chef’s creations.
Brewed: The British Columbia Craft Brewers Guild Winter Beer Market hosted a winter tasting event with 40 of the top craft breweries in B.C. Guests were welcomed with a souvenir glass and sampled seasonal winter beer favourites. This Sunday afternoon event was a hit with Whistler’s local crowd and had a relaxed atmosphere.

The Picnic: The Pique Newsmagazine’s Chef’s Choice Cookbook Launch highlighted local food offerings from Chef’s in the Whistler region.  Compiled from entries in the Pique’s weekly Chef’s Choice column, these recipes were complemented by select beer and wine. This event mirrored the layout of the perennial sell out Taste of the World, where guests receive a passport to experience each food offering.

The Nourish Retreat was also a new event this year with a weekend of exclusive programming, aimed to nurture the mind and body for a group of attendees.  Nourish events also continued throughout Cornucopia after the retreat with daily yoga, health focused seminars and culinary stage demonstrations.

Everyone’s favourite, Crush Grand Tasting was back this year and filled the Whistler Conference Center with wine enthusiasts who were able to connect direct with winemakers and sample delectable bites, creating an amazing atmosphere. Poured Grand Tasting challenged guests to sample the best wine, beer and sprits found during Cornucopia while enjoying select food offerings. With a Twist brought spirits to the tasting tables and encouraged guests to find new a new favourite cocktail.

The Culinary Stage saw daily interactive performances from top Chef’s around the world. These lunchtime events often included multi course wine pairing, making them one of the best values of the festival.
In addition to creating memorable food and wine experiences this year, Cornucopia supported The Whistler Adaptive Sports Program with fundraising programs throughout the festival. $30,000 was raised this year to support this wonderful local charitable program through donations raised by coat check donations and silent auctions.
Next year Cornucopia will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Whistler’s Food and Wine Festival. Planning has already begun to make next year a festival to remember!

Cornucopia’s Weekday Wine And Food Events Worthy Of A ‘Sick-Day’

Calling all foodies and winos, Cornucopia has a plethora of weekday events sure to warrant a scheduled ‘sick day’, but be warned, your boss might just have the same idea.
From winemaker dinners to deliciously-educational wine seminars, Cornucopia is turning your mundane weekday into a utopia of culinary excellence. Explore the tantalizing event schedule, if you dare…

*TONIGHT * Winery Dinner Series at the Chateau: Fort Berens Winery (Wednesday, November 11)
Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit forged on the road less travelled. The winery is owned by a team of eight individuals who share a common belief in the incredible winemaking ability of British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. Join Fairmont Chateau Whistler as we explore the delicious desert wines of Lillooet and indulge in the local gastronomic flavours of British Columbia. Get your ticket HERE.

*TONIGHT * Giddy Grapes (Wednesday, November 11)
There’s a time to discuss the nuances of a delicate Pinot Blanc, and then there’s a time to embrace the power of a big, bold wine that’s built like a monster truck. This seminar is all about quality wines that aren’t shy about drawing attention, such as voluptuous viogners, robust hot climate reds, powerhouse fortifieds, and more. Presenter and Whistler local, Joanne Digeso leads this guided tasting of take-no-prisoners favourites that will win a place in your glass with their combination of charm and solid muscle. Get your tickets HERE.

The Picnic: Chef’s Choice Cookbook Launch Party (Thursday, November 12)
If you could picnic with anyone in the world, who would it be?  In a full celebration of Whistler’s culinary excellence, Cornucopia and Pique Newsmagazine introduce The Picnic: Chefs’ Choice Cookbook Launch Party. The Chefs’ Choice cookbook features local restaurants incredible talent, as featured in Pique’s weekly column: Chefs’ Choice. Get up close and intermit with some of Whistler’s hottest culinary talent as chefs from your favourite restaurants prepare recipes from the cookbook. Learn the “unwritten’ tricks of the trade and the ‘between the lines’ insider knowledge. Browse each restaurant stop while tasting and pairing excellent wines along the way. Lively, fun and fresh, The Picnic will be a truly unique Whistler experience. Get your ticket HERE.

Red Door Bistro: Tightrope Dinner with R.D. Stewart (Thursday, November 12)
Tightrope, one of B.C.’s much-loved wineries pairs their delicious grape varieties with one of Whistler’s much-admired Chefs, RD Stewart of Red Door Bistro, where French fare meets West Coast cuisine. Enjoy a seasonally inspired five-course dinner with expertly paired wines in the intimate settling of Red Door Bistro in Creekside. Get your ticket HERE.

Le Cirque De La Nuit: VERADEASI (Friday, November 13)
Come one, come all to Le Cirque de la Nuit’s VERADEASI – a new (and eccentric) instalment, joining the late-night line-up at Cornucopia’s ever-evolving food and drink extravaganza. Housed in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, VERADEASI takes guests on a gripping journey, from feats of hooping, aerial pole, corde lisse, silks, lyra, dance, acro, bellydance, contact ball illusion, contortion, juggling and dragon staff manipulation, in what can only be called a sensory overload of epic proportions. Accompanying the all-star stage (and air) cast is Beats Antique in a live performance, featuring David Satori & Sidecar Tommy. Beats Antique, renowned for their intense electro-acoustic breakbeats and Middle Eastern melodies brings added dimension to the VERADEASI experience – transcending traditional theatre in true Le Cirque de la Nuit style. Get your tickets HERE.

Nita Lake Lodge: Into the Wild Winemaker Dinner (Friday, November 13)
Step ‘Into the Wild’ for a culinary collaboration like no other, featuring Chef Jefferson Alvarez & Chef Dean Hossack with wines by Stags Hollow. This unique pop-up event will celebrate the best of the wild, foraged delights and local produce in an inspiring lakeside setting. Chef Jefferson and Chef Dean will bring it all together with elegance and a creative flair; this 10 course affair is not to be missed. Get your tickets HERE.

You’re invited to indulge at Cornucopia’s final five delicious days – of the huge 11 day festival – offering an epic program of weekday events worthy of a ‘sick day’. Extend your weekend, with weekday epicurean excellence abounds at Cornucopia.
For detailed schedule information or to purchase tickets visit www.whistlercornucopia.com.


Five Ways To Get The Most Out Of The Crush Grand Tasting

Are you ready for the 19th annual CRUSH Grand Tasting Event? Coming up on Saturday, November 7, 2015, CRUSH is the signature tasting event of Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial. Here are five insider tips to get the most out of CRUSH:

1. Get there early 
To experience everything there is to offer at CRUSH you need to be there early. Relax in the CRUSH Lounge or walk around and check out all of the 63 tasting tables to see what you want to try. Give yourself time to enjoy the atmosphere, catch up with friends, see people and be seen. This is a popular event so take advantage of the amazing vendors by arriving when the doors open at 8:30 p.m.

2. Plan your night
Do you prefer red, white or sparkling wine? There is something for everyone at the CRUSH Grand Tasting. To maximize your experience focus on your favourites or pick a theme. CRUSH is the perfect event to discover a new wine and meet wineries. Before you indulge in all that CRUSH has to offer, make sure you have a plan to get home safe. Take advantage of CRUSH ticket and Whistler lodging packages for an easy stroll back to your room or book a limo to take you home in style.

3. Check out the silent auction
Help support the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program by bidding on some of the $80,000 worth of items available. With %100 of proceeds going towards this amazing local charity you will feel good about donating and have a chance to take home some amazing items!

4. Take your favourites home with you 
When you find your favourites head to the Cornucopia Liquor store, located downstairs in the Whistler Conference Center to take a piece of CRUSH home with you. An exclusive selection of beer, wine and liquor that you can experience during Cornucopia will be available for purchase at the store. Specialist Legacy Liquor Store staff will be on site to share their extensive product knowledge and hold your purchases until you are ready to leave CRUSH.

If you can’t make it downstairs during CRUSH, the Cornucopia Liquor store will be open Monday-Thursday 4 p.m.–8 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.–11 p.m. from November 5–15, 2015.

5. Experience more at another event 
There is so much to experience during Cornucopia, find your focus during CRUSH and then follow up with another event. To learn more try one of 50 drink seminars or attend an exclusive Chef’s Table Luncheon. If you love CRUSH and want to sample beer, spirits and cider, try Poured.

CRUSH is a perennial favourite amongst Cornucopia attendees. There are only a few more days until the event so buy your tickets before it sells out!


The Sea To Sky Region – A ‘Cornucopia’ Of Culinary Expertise

Does a picture of mammoth mountain peaks, expansive rainforests, lush valley floor, and a cool ocean breeze come to mind when you think of the Sea to Sky region? This and much more is true of the picture-perfect locale. But there is so much more to be enjoyed here. The Sea to Sky’s reputation as a food and drink mecca is fast becoming renowned, due to the culmination of passion, expertise and innovative spirit, alongside the bounty of fresh, local harvests to cement the area as a ‘cornucopia’ of culinary delights.

Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, is proud to present a smorgasbord of home-grown talent, across the festival’s 11 dedicated days of food, beer, wine and spirits. Keep reading for a sneak-peak into the Sea to Sky’s gastronomic genius.

Tyler Schramm is the owner and Master Distiller of Pemberton Distillery, an award-winning certified organic micro-distillery located in Pemberton, 30 minutes north of Whistler. The Pemberton Distillery was built in 2008 – making it one of the first craft distilleries in Canada, and the first to create spirits using 100 per cent B.C.-grown raw materials. Initially specializing in classic old-world style organic potato vodka – the only organic potato vodka in the world – Schramm now creates a range of small batch organic spirits, including whisky, gin, absinthe, brandy and liqueurs. His philosophy is to combine hands-on craft methods and locally grown ingredients to produce high quality spirits with distinctive terroir and style. Travel 40 minutes south of Whistler and you’ll find Gillespie’s Fine Spirits in Squamish. Partners in life and business, Kelly Ann Woods and John McLellan are co-owners and operators of the artisan craft distillery – needless to say, the spirits industry is alive and well along the Sea to Sky.

Eric Blouin, founder of Taste Whistler, has dedicated his professional life to wine and the pleasures that surround it. With the overarching goal of making wine more approachable and less intimidating, Blouin explains “It’s very motivating to taste wine with people, see what they’re into, make them discover a new favourite style, varietal or region… wine is supposed to be fun!“ When asked what we can expect from his up-coming seminars at Cornucopia he reiterates “Great wines, serious fun and probably lots of banter”. See Blouin and fellow ‘Whistlerite’ Samantha Rahn (2013 Sommelier of the Year, at the Vancouver International Wine Festival) when the dynamic duo team up to present at four of Cornucopia’s  wine seminars, including: Whistler’s Wine Transplants, The Cool Kids, He Said / She Said and Lords of The Dirt.

Fort Berens Estate Winery reconfirms the local areas undeniable entrepreneurial spirit; pioneering the wine industry, when breaking ground to build the first winery in Lillooet. As one of the newest additions to the regions culinary repertoire, Fort Berens continues to grow from strength to strength, winning the 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines with their 2012 Riesling. Heleen Pannekoek, co-founder and co-owner of Fort Berens states that “winning this prestigious award for a wine made with 100 per cent estate-grown grapes really proved that not only could we grow grapes in Lillooet, but that we could grow premium-quality grapes”. Taste the unique flavours of this emerging wine region when Fort Berens teams up with the culinary bravado of the Four Seasons Whistler’s signature hotel restaurant, Sidecut Modern Steak + Bar at The Fort Berens and Four Seasons Experience winemaker dinner, November 8.

Craft beer in British Columbia has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity with a plethora of micro-breweries, brew pubs, artisan brewers and craft breweries popping up across the province. In Whistler you don’t have to go far to understand why, with the Whistler Brewing Company producing much-loved artisan brews, that are highly-reflective of the local community. Jen Smythe, Portfolio Manager of NorthAm Beverages explains “At Whistler Brewing we are passionate about making beer, we believe that it’s important to make beers that our community will enjoy and embrace”. When asked of the significance of using local produce, Smythe says that it is “incredibly important, in fact one of our newest beers – the Unique Brew Cold In Fused Coffee Brown Ale – was a collaboration with The Whistler Roasting Company. Local partnerships are an integral part of our philosophy.” Journey down the road south to Squamish again and you’ll find Howe Sound Brewing, a brew pub that not only produces unique (and delicious) craft brews, but is implementing small changes in order to better their environmental impact. From using re-useable bottles, to channeling the bulk of spent grains to local farms, Howe Sound Brewing is taking steps to keep the Sea to Sky Corridor a beautiful and natural locale. Sip, sample and savour the delicious craft brews from the Whistler Brewing Company, Howe Sound Brewing plus many more at Cornucopia’s newest tasting gala, BREWED: The BC Craft Brewers Guild Winter Beer Market.

Don’t trust everything you read? Try it for yourself at Cornucopia, November 5-15.

www.whistlercornucopia.com