Five Totally Awesome Things to Do at Cornucopia Next Week

Of all the fun things to do, see, taste or drink in Whistler, Cornucopia has always been at the top of my list. It started over 17 years ago as a celebration of the kick-off of ski season and was more of a slosh-fest than a serious food and drink festival. Parties like the more sedate Bubble + Oceans put on by Araxi, or the infamous Masquerave put on by Bearfoot Bistro were solid excuses to guzzle plenty of champagne, wine and cocktails, while dancing and frolicking into the wee hours.


Over the years, however, Cornucopia has evolved into a more mature, varied, yet still exciting event—one that focuses more on local producers, growers, chefs and mixologists. It has also expanded to include craft brewers and distillers, seminars on nutrition and health, and even yoga and meditation sessions for those looking to work off the excesses of the night before.


This year, the former week-long festival has also expanded its duration, and will run for 11 days, from Thursday, November 7 to Sunday, November 17, inclusive. While there are dozens of fantastic events to choose from—everything from wine dinners and craft beer tastings to nutrition workshops and cooking demonstrations—here are some events that promise to educate, inspire and satiate both the palate and the mind.


Dinner with Harry McWatters

Friday, November 8, 6:30pm

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Grill Room

$180 + tax

If you’ve never heard of Harry McWatters, you may have heard of some of the wineries that he’s founded (Sumac Ridge, See Ya Later Ranch). He is one of Canada’s most prominent wine industry pioneers, with decades of knowledge and expertise. At this reception and dinner, McWatters will take guests on a journey through the history of Canadian wine making and offer samples from both his personal collection and his newly opened Okanagan winery TIME. Tickets include a wine reception, followed by a five-course dinner with wine pairings.


Dessert Tasting at Bearfoot Bistro

Multiple days and times

Bearfoot Bistro

$49.95 + tax (includes gratuity)

One of Canada’s most talented and under-sung patissiers, Executive Pastry Chef Dominique Fortin of Bearfoot Bistro has put together a decadent three-course dessert menu, each course paired with a different B.C. dessert wine. The range of flavours runs from apple-quince with salted caramel and dark chocolate with pecan and candy cap mushroom streusel. Definitely for those with a pronounced sweet tooth and an appetite for innovation.


Craft Beer for Wine Lovers

November 9, 2pm-3:30pm


In case you haven’t heard, B.C. is experiencing a craft beer renaissance of epic proportions. If you have turned up your oenophile nose in the past at all things hoppy, this is the perfect opportunity to expand your palate preferences and find out what makes the brewing scene in B.C. so exciting. Wine educators—and super-cool fantastic people—DJ Kearney and Kurtis Kolt will be leading this side-by-side tasting seminar, comparing grape varieties like Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Riesling and Chardonnay to craft brews with similar characteristics.


All About Grapes in Cocktails

November 16, 2pm-3:30pm


Bet you never thought about the grape as being an important part of the cocktail vernacular, but, it is. As presenters Lauren Mote and Jonathan Chovancek of Bittered Sling and Jay Jones of Donnelly Group explain, the journey of the grape has led to brandy and cognac, fortified wines, vermouth, grappa and more. Take a tour through the history of this low-hanging fruit and learn multiple applications for spirits, syrups, bitters, tonics and cocktails. For the amateur mixologist and cocktail enthusiast alike.


Hair of the Dog Cocktails and Why They Work

November 17, 11am-12:30pm


Think of it as better living through chemistry. We’ve all nursed a nasty hangover at some point in our lives, and now wine and spirits writer Joanne Sasvari and bartender Shaun Layton will take you through a series of easy-to-make cocktails that will help make that hangover a distant and blurry memory by lunch.


For a full listing of all Cornucopia events, visit


Written By:

Anya Levykh was born on the shores of the Black Sea, in what was formerly the USSR. The cold, Communist winters were too much for her family, and, before she was four feet tall, they had left for warmer climes in the south of ...

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