2011 Whistler Cornucopia Festival

Another year of wine tastings, seminars and late-night debauchery has passed as this 2011 Whistler Cornucopia (Nov. 10 – 14) has come to an end. Thousands of the annual festival’s attendees sipped, slurped and gulped down hundreds of wines and dozens of cocktails, and sampled their way around Whistler’s top restaurants. DailyXY attended, and here are our top takeaway tips from this year’s program.

Fish doesn’t always need white wine
At Nita Lake Lodge’s “Wines from the Pacific Northwest” dinner, Chef Tim Cuff poached a swordfish in Anderson’s Conn Valley 2008 Right Bank Cuvée — the Merlot with which the dense fish would be served. This ideal pairing was improved by adding chanterelle mushrooms that echoed the wine’s earthy flavours. Try it at home: It’s simple to prepare, a solid dinner choice.

Sushi and sake are great, but sushi and sparkling Riesling is the bomb
Sushi Village Restaurant taught sushi and sake pairing, but threw in a crisp, fruity Riesling from Dr. Losen in the Mosel Valley ($18.99 at BCLDB). Grab a bottle for your next takeout sushi session; there’s more to Japanese food and drink than sake.

Classic cocktails are back (again)
Nita Lake Lodge’s bartender Hailey Pasemko provided several recipes for cocktails at home at the “Cocktails and Canapés” seminar. The latest and greatest comeback drink is the Hemingway Daiquiri, a simple-yet-elegant cocktail that will not fail to impress guests. Combine 2 oz white rum, ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice, ½ oz grapefruit juice and ¼ oz maraschino liqueur, and shake with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain over crushed ice and garnish with a lime wheel and cherry.

Ravioli needn’t be made with pasta
At a luncheon hosted by Chef Laurent Godbout of Montreal’s Chez L’Epicier, delicious snow crab ravioli with apple jelly and avocado purée was on the menu, but prepared with sliced white turnip in place of pasta dough, for a lighter touch.

New Zealand transcends Sauvignon Blanc
Wine Diva Daenna Van Mulligen shared some top New Zealand wines at Saturday’s seminar and while Sauvignon Blanc was on the menu, other varietals proved their worth.  The Sacred Hill Rifleman’s Chardonnay ($45) was to be a concentrated fruit-forward wine with some vanilla, butter and a lengthy finish.  The Spy Valley Gewurztraminer ($29) was all floral and rose petals, a perfect companion to spicy food and the Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40) was full of black cherry and savoury notes. The champion of the afternoon was the big and spicy Man O’War Syrah ($50) a glass full of plum, pepper and vanilla with descent tannins and a lengthy finish.

Image courtesy of Whistler Cornucopia.

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