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  • Writer's pictureDean Nelson, (he/him) CTC, LLD

Whistler Cornucopia 2020

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

One of my favourite festivals to attend is the annual Whistler Cornucopia Food and Drink Festival. Similar to many events around the world, the 2020 edition will be scaled back to more intimate events with ample space for social distancing.

This also means the festival will be running for three weeks instead of their usual 10-day festival allowing for duplicate events spread out over the month to ensure as many people get to enjoy this year's festival running Friday, Nov. 6th thru to Sunday, Nov. 29th. 🍷 click here to read COVID enhanced health safety protocols.

Whistler Cornucopia has a plethora of educational food + drink seminars to choose from. Wine, whiskey, gin, craft spirits, meat + drink pairing - just to give you a few categories. A couple of the seminars that caught my eye include:

Experience a cross-country journey of Japanese Craft whisky, known as ji-whisky. A collection of unique spirits from Okinawa Island to north of Japan across from west coast to east. In this masterclass, we will taste a unique line up of 8 ji-whiskies from 4 award winning Japanese whisky brands, including Shinobu whisky finished in rare indigenous Japanese oak, Mizunara made cask, Amahagan World Malt from Nagahama distillery, the smallest distillery in Japan, Yamazakura whisky of Sasanokawa Shuzo who helped Ichiro Akuto from Chichibu Distillery save remaining stock from the new-closed Hanyu Distillery and assisted Akuto in establishing his brand. We will also introduce Kujira whisky, age statement single grain whiskies that have impressed whisky enthusiasts around the world. → Saturday, November 7th 4PM

Spirits journalist and educator Charlene Rooke leads this seminar, sampling regional gin styles from across Canada, all award winners in the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition -- from barrel-aged to fruit flavoured to Navy Strength. Getting a taste of the regional ingredients and traditions that make them distinctive, you will sample a flight of 8 spirits that are bound to inspire a burst of national pride -- and inspiration for unique cocktails too.

BC's winemakers aren't afraid of a challenge.  The industry's explosive development in this province is the result of their passion and their courage to try new things.  We shouldn't be surprised, then, that local winemakers are  adding to their repetoire of faves such as Merlot and Pinot Gris by making wines from grapes such as Tempranillo, Dolcetto, and Albarino.  Join Christine Campbell of Girls Go Grape for this guided tasting of BC wines that aren't afraid to stray from the beaten path. → Sunday, November 8th 4PM

The Cornucopia Wine Paired Dinners are without question the best value and one of the most exquisite experiences of the festival. Whistler is world renown for the incredible year-round dining options, however during Cornucopia some of the best chefs team up with some of the best wine makers for a truly unique and memorable night. Here are just a couple that caught my eye.


Hosted by Colina Marshall (Brand Ambassador) and Simon Turpin (Representative of Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits).

An eclectic line up from one of the most celebrated wine dynasties in all of Italy, Marchesi Antinori. We will travel through Lombardia, Umbria and Tuscany with Il Caminetto’s Executive Chef James Walt and Chef de Cuisine Mark Mcloughlin going head to head to create a decadent seven course Italian feast. Alongside each carefully crafted dish will be a fabulous wine to match, paired by Il Caminetto’s Sommelier Perdy Sawyers. → Saturday, Nov. 7th 5:30PM

Quails’ Gate Winery believe great wines begin in great vineyards. Through decades of research, careful crafting and an unwavering dedication to consistency, they have cultivated a reputation for delivering quality wines that pair perfectly anytime, anywhere. → Friday, Nov. 13th 6PM

SPO7EZ TL'A7ÁSHN - SLCC four course lunch

The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) presents Spo7ez Tl'a7áshn - a four course plated lunch enriched by cultural performances in our Istken Hall.  SLCC Chef Felix Breault’s menu, inspired by the change of seasons and traditional songs from Squamish Nation and Lil'wat Nation, will be paired with Indigenous World Wines. Guests can expect to taste the influences of songs such as Tl’ni Slulum/ Deer Song from Squamish, and Cuystwi malh Skalula7/Berry Picking Song from Lil’wat. Dressed in regalia, the SLCC’s Cultural Performance team will share the song aligned with each course through singing, drumming, and dancing. The lunch will start with a feast blessing by the Cultural Ambassadors and be completed with the sharing of a farewell song.  Tables will be mindfully spaced out to practice physical distancing and allow dancers to move freely, all while maintaining an intimate dining experience. 

To close out the Cornucopia experience this year, enjoy a spectacular meal created by The Bearfoot Bistro’s award-winning Executive Chef Melissa Craig in the Whistler Conference Centre’s Grand Foyer.

Bearfoot Bistro founder André Saint-Jacques believes beautiful food and great wine shared with friends and family is always a celebration. This will be a perfectly paired dinner experience not to be missed. → Sunday, November 29th 7:30PM

Interested in Cornucopia? Need assistance in planning your Food + Drink festival experience? Allow me to help curate your Whistler get away. Click here to set up a consultation.

Highlights from last year's Cornucopia

Stay 2 Nights + Friday evening Paired Dinner starting from $128 per person per night*

Cornucopia is known for hosting memorable culinary experiences, and the festival’s “Paired Dinners” will be no exception. Every Friday evening in November Chef Neal Harkins presents an inspiring multi-course menu, perfectly paired by a partnering winery. The newly renovated Grand Foyer of the Whistler Conference Centre provides a gorgeous, safe and welcoming space for the limited number of attendees.

Book your Cornucopia lodging with a Friday evening Paired Dinner to receive the best savings. Plus customize your festival experience by adding your favourite drink seminars for the weekend - all in one exclusive Cornucopia package. Click here to book now.

departures by dean | Personal Travel Mgmt. (BC Reg. 2806) a proud Ensemble Travel Member

*Available on select Whistler accommodation. $128 pp/pn is based on 2 nights and 2 adults sharing a hotel room. Subject to availability, blackout dates, weekends rates and other restrictions may apply.

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