Table scraps 

Toasting Dionysus, whatever the cost

Like powder hounds salivating for the first big snow dump , for me, Cornucopia brings all the joy and anticipation of the harvest season. And we are both in the gym getting ready, only instead of readying my legs for bumps; it’s all about my four-inch pumps.

My palate cleansed with two weeks of bland homemade vegetable soup and my mind packed with all the wine reviews Google could find, I’ve been counting down the days to my winemaker dinners, after-parties and workshops like a child waiting for Christmas morning.

Of course, I’ll chat any ears off willing to listen about the four days of dining bliss, but not everyone shares my Champagne glass tinklings.

When I ask friends what events they are attending, most replies come with a shaking of the head and protestations that the festival is outside of their budget.

But just like you put your faith in Ullr for snow, Whistlerites need to put their faith in Dionysus.

If a $300 winemaker dinner is the equivalent of one month’s rent for you, don’t walk away from the opportunity to celebrate with Whistler’s biggest food and wine festival, just opt for the Cornucopia on-a-budget route — no high heels required.

The top of my list is the Slow Food Artisan Market on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Westin Resort. The Slow Food Whistler conviviality hosts this food and drink sampling affair, which is perfect for the curious, Slow-Food-minded and budget-watching adventurer.

Browsing local artists’ wares — everything from photography to jewelry — is completely free of charge. And there is the option of purchasing tickets, at $1 each, to sample what the food artisans are cooking up.

Taste the difference an organic goat cheese makes or try homemade lavender shortcake cookies for the first time. Dip fresh fruit in chocolate fountains or discover how flavour-infused ghee adds flare to cooking. Take a swig at cocktail alternatives without alcohol or apply a face cream so natural you could eat it.

But whatever you do, dig for the change underneath your car seat for a toonie to buy a raffle ticket for great prizes, with all proceeds benefiting Slow Food Whistler.

Keep within the Slow Food learning curve and piggy bank shake by attending the Viking Series: Taking the Slow Road Home demonstration on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Telus Conference Centre.

A $10 donation to the Whistler Arts Council lands you in a conversation with food journalist Don Genova, who recently returned from studying at the Slow Food-inspired University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. Genova will share photos and adventures from the Slow Food capital of the world while chef Nathan Fong will put the “slow” Italian twist on how to prepare organic local food.

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