Nine-year-old Cornucopia offers an abundance of choice

Cornucopia, Whistler’s annual ode to food and wine, turns nine years old next month (Nov. 9-13) and you get the sense that locals are finally ready to acknowledge the beneficial long-term effects of the fall bash on the village.

Every time you open an international magazine or newspaper, someone is extolling the virtues of B.C. food and wine, yet Whistler has been slow to tout its culinary prowess and impressive wine lists as anything more than après ski.

Today, this late autumn getaway, first designed to bridge the gap between the end of the golf and hiking activities and the beginning of the ski season, has become an important pump primer for the winter season. It’s also a fabulous opportunity to get some of the biggest names in food and wine, including media, to come to Whistler.

What follows is our now annual insider’s guide to those events that offer both value and entertainment and, frankly, provide locals with a terrific opportunity to learn more about a subject that is now clearly as important to your well being as the depth of snow on the hills.

Unless otherwise mentioned all events take place at the Telus Whistler Conference Centre.

House Party has become a prime time event where you can hang out with visiting vintners, sip on a wide range of wine and/or beer and relax to music. This year, famed Vancouver eatery Memphis Blues Barbeque House will be supplying its signature pulled pork sandwiches. Organizers are promising the evening will be "a tribute to the wine-drenched film, ‘Sideways’." Are they planning a merlot/pinot noir showdown? Personally, I prefer riesling with my barbecue pork. Nov. 9 from 7 to 9:30 p.m., $49.

New to Cornucopia in 2005 is A Serious Tasting for the Serious Set . If you want to taste the way the trade does, this is the tasting for you. The lights are up and the tasting tables will feature the "Top 25 Wines of Cornucopia" as chosen by a panel of experts earlier this fall. No food will be served. Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., $65.

ARTrageous is a great example of a maturing Cornucopia that is reaching farther afield. Presented by the Whistler Arts Council, the 10th Annual Art Bash features emerging and established local artists in an evening of exciting live art, music, roving performers and of course wine. Nov. 10 from 9 p.m. to midnight, $15. (You can also drop by all day from 11:30 to 6:30 p.m. when the room is open free to the public.)

Vancouver food and wine writer Tim Pawsey and a panel of chefs will guide you through which wines to pair with Asian, Indian, Thai, and fusion influenced foods. Grapes in Heat includes small plates of bites to sample with an international selection of wines. Nobody does small plates better than this corner of the world and when matched with the perfect wine it’s a journey not to be missed. Nov. 11 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., $49.

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