One of my favorite places for fall RV travel is Whistler, B.C., Canada, that iconic ski town that resembles a Swiss village. In winter, Whistler is best known for copious amounts of snow and black-diamond-level skiing. But, in November, the town comes alive for foodies with Cornucopia (www.whistlercornucopia.com), one of the best food and wine festivals in North America.Â Â
At Cornucopia, top restaurants and terrific wineries from throughout British Columbia put on a series of extraordinary lunches and dinners, many around a particular theme like truffles or seafood. There are also plenty of wine tasting events, food and wine seminars, and cooking demonstrations, all with tastes for the audience. And the best news?
This year, the event has expanded to 11 days, November 7-17.
The best place for RVers to set up camp in Whistler is at Riverside Resort, a year-round park thatâ€™s close to the village. The 40-acre campground offers RVers back-in or pull-through sites, electricity (30- and 50-amp service), water and sewer, free Wi-Fi, and bathrooms and showers with comfy heated floors. This 64-site park is a five-minute drive to Cornucopia events (15 minutes by bike; 25 minutes by foot) and the
park offers shuttle service during the festival.
While some events at Cornucopia can put a dent in your pocketbook, there are plenty that are quite affordable. Youâ€™ll need to check out its website, which describes each event and enables you to buy tickets online. Hereâ€™s a sampling of what you can expect:
Food and wine seminars
Viking, maker of high-end ranges, puts on a series of informative cooking and wine seminars where experts give the audience recipes, cooking techniques, and ingredient and cooking information, as well as samples of dishes paired with B.C. wines, brews, spirits, or other beverages. Seminars cost $25-30.
Food and wine celebrations
These large affairs offer big spreads of food and samples of wine and spirits and other B.C. food products from artisan
purveyors. Last year, I attended the â€œBest of B.C.,â€ which
featured ribs and salmon cooked outdoors, and sides like potato salad and wild mushroom rice. Wineries such as Arrowleaf and Black Hills Estate, and artisan brewers and distillers like Granville Island Brewery and Pemberton Distillery offered tastes, as did regional coffee, chocolate and cheese makers.
Last year, Fairmont Chateau Whistler put on a â€œHigh Rollersâ€ event featuring all-you-can-eat hors dâ€™oeuvres and wines where guests gamble for prizes, with winnings going to an animal charity. Araxi restaurant offered â€œBubbles and Oceans,â€ a champagne and seafood party with oysters, shrimp, and sushi paired with an excellent jazz violinist and guitarist.
Winemaker lunches and dinners
These special menus, paired with wines, are the highlight of Cornucopia. I attended a lunch where the featured ingredient was white Alba truffles, a culinary gem. At a winemaker dinner at the Fairmont, dishes included crab cakes, butternut risotto, venison medallions, smoked quail and chocolate hazelnut tarts. Delicious!
One thing is for sure: you wonâ€™t leave Cornucopia hungry. And, if youâ€™re a foodie, youâ€™ll come away satisfied and more knowledgeable than ever.
Riverside Resort | 604-905-5533 | www.whistlercamping.com