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A cornucopia of wine and food

Eighth annual festival celebrates something that may become as important to Whistler as snow

It’s easy to understand how Whistler has come to earn world-wide recognition for its ski slopes, golf courses and rugged, natural setting but the modern-day tourist demands a complex mix of activities when travelling and increasingly in British Columbia that means paying attention to food and wine.

In Whistler it’s already year eight for the region’s prime culinary endeavour, Cornucopia, and the 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 taken on a life of its own. The four-day series of tastings, dinners and seminars gets underway Thursday, Nov. 11 and will run through the weekend of Nov. 14.

Cornucopia may be aimed at major North American markets but it presents a terrific opportunity for locals to discover the world of food and wine especially as it relates to Whistler.

What follows is an insider’s guide to some of the events that in this writer’s opinion offer both value and entertainment and frankly provide locals with a terrific opportunity to learn more about a subject that could be as important to your well being as the depth of snow on the hills in the coming years. Unless otherwise mentioned all events take place at the Telus Conference Centre at Whistler.

Don’t miss the House Party Thursday, Nov. 11 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. A $35 ticket gets you in the door to experience the delicious food of Vancouver-based Memphis Blues Barbeque House. You can hang with visiting vintners and seminar presenters while you sip on syrah or sauvignon blanc and nibble on a pulled-pork sandwich. Craft brewers will be also be in attendance for anyone requiring a palate adjuster.

One of the more useful tasting seminars, Varietal I.D. Boot Camp, will run twice: Friday, Nov. 12 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Saturday, Nov. 13 from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. The $45 tastings will be led by engaging sommelier instructor DJ Kearney and visiting wine wise-guy Joshua Wesson. The plan is to take away a shopping list of inexpensive high quality varietal wines that will help you expand your taste horizons. Do the names grüner veltliner, albariño or vermentino mean anything to you?

If you are trying to lose weight or you simply like to drink well-balanced wine you can skip Friday lunch and attend A Tour of New World Meritage with Vancouver wine merchants John Clerides and Michelle Bouffard joined by winemakers Ian Sutherland (Poplar Grove), Rick Small (Woodward Canyon) and Jay Soloff (DeLille Vineyards). The plan is discover just how well New World blends stack up against traditional Old World styles. Tickets are $45 and as mentioned the tasting spans the Friday, Nov. 12 lunch hour from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

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