Vancouverites rarely need a reason to visit Whistler any time of year, thanks to the moutainside resort town’s appeal no matter the month or weather. Ski and snowboard bums flock to the hills for top-notch runs, while in the summertime there’s many a pool to soak up the rays beside. From hikes to spa getaways, there’s much to love about Whistler. And we haven’t even mentioned the food and drink!
Foodies have long been tuned in to the great eats and drinks to be found in Whistler, and there is no finer time to head to the hills than the annual Cornucopia, “Whistler’s homage to this rugged land of plenty,” when food fans and industry insiders sip and savour the best the region has to offer.
Showcasing BC’s talented chefs, winemakers, brewers, and distillers, and now in its 20th year, Cornucopia is an 11-day marathon of tastings, seminars, workshops, dinners, and gatherings that puts food and drink centre stage.
But just in case you need more food for thought about making tracks for Whistler from November 9 to 20, here are 13 reasons to check out Cornucopia 2016.
1. Wine, wine, and more wine
Wine lovers of all stripes will want to make note of the many wine-centric events during Cornucopia, from a “spirited” debate about wine pairings, small exclusive tastings, winemakers’ dinners (like Tinhorn Creek at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Wine Summit, and of course the epic Crush Grand Tasting. Learn about pairing wine with pizza, women in wine, and seriously so much more it’s kind of mind-blowing.
2. It’s a grown-up getaway
Because of the nature of the event and liquor licensing, Cornucopia is a 19+ event, which means this is a guaranteed grown-up getaway.
3. Cocktails and spirits
Want to soak up the 500-year history of gin? Or the G&T’s Spanish connection? Need to know what food to eat with cocktails? Or you may be curious about the whole Tiki thing. There is a bounty of cocktail programming to geek out on, as well as food-centric events like a whisky dinner
4. Exciting guest chefs
A number of exciting guest chefs are headed to Whistler. Many, like Vancouver’s David Hawksworth, don’t have far to go. But then there are some special stars heading to Cornucopia, like Chef Benito Molina and Chef Solange Muris of Ensenada’s acclaimed Manzanilla Restaurant who are teaming up with Araxi Executive Chef James Walt for a (sold-out) dinner. Molina hits the Culinary Stage
5. Whistler’s home-grown dining scene
If you’ve ever needed a reason to do a deep dive into the amazing food and drink scene right in Whistler, this is the time. Hot spots like Araxi, Barefoot Bistro, Bar Oso, and the Red Door Bistro are all right there; even if you can’t get to a restaurant dinner or event, there are still lots of tables and great eats to enjoy.
6. Beer, glorious beer!
Beer lovers, don’t let the array of events go to your head. You can sink your teeth in to some serious suds at Cornucopia. There’s the big event, Brewed: The BC Craft Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival, as well as gatherings like the Cure Lounge: Nita Beer Fest, and seminars ranging from how to pair beer with cheese or the History of IPA. Geek out!
7. Food for thought(s)
8. Poutine parties (paired with bubbles)
Poutine may well be Canada’s favourite snack, but why not celebrate it with bubbles, and toast to the social spirit of Cornucopia? Sidecut, the restaurant at the Four Seasons Whistler, is hosting several Champagne & Poutine Apres Parties during the fest.
9. Arts & Entertainment
Cornucopia has comedy, a Picasso Portrait Party Disco, painting and beer drinking classes, sculpting workshops with martinis to drink, and a crowning event at the Audain Art Museum featuring the best of British Columbia’s visual and culinary arts.
11. Bunk in some incredible accommodations
Whether you’re doing Cornucopia as a luxurious getaway or as an affordable jaunt, there is a, if you’ll indulge me, a cornucopia of lodging options available. Retreat to the boutique coziness of Nita Lake Lodge, live it up at the spectacular Four Seasons Whistler, or choose from one of the many other convenient and well-appointed area lodges and hotels.
12. The Culinary Stage
There are several opportunities to watch and learn in person at The Culinary Stage, where you can check out Edible Canada’s Eric Pateman, or watch a debate in which beer squares off versus wine (aka the Cicerone vs. the Sommelier).
13. It’s Whistler
Hello! Go and enjoy one of the most incredible spots in BC.
The full Cornucopia 2016 schedule is available online for perusal and planning; check out their helpful filters to sort out the events by genre, from Parties to Restaurant events. Many events are likely to sell out.