Look no further than just a 2-hour drive to Whistler, BC for an immersive 11-day (November 10 – 20, 2016) celebration of food and drink, and a much-needed fall getaway.
2016 marks Cornucopia’s 20th anniversary dinners, grand tastings, culinary workshops and more. With range of events to pick and choose from, all you have to do is determine how many days you’ll want to stay and which events you’d like to attend.
With events and accommodation packages based out of Whistler Village, the location makes everything within walking distance. You’ll be able to enjoy all that Cornucopia and the village has to offer.
We were recently invited to take part in a few of their events over the Remembrance Day long weekend.
The Tinhorn Creek Winemaker’s dinner at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler was one of our favourite events and featured a beautiful marriage of food and wine. Featuring almost the full gamut of Tinhorn Creek’s wines, Executive Chef Isabel Chung was tasked with creating a 5-course menu that accentuated the best of both wine and her culinary creations.
It was a wonderful tribute to the season, the wine, and the local produce.
The elegant event started with the Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2Bench White and a few canapes that circulated in the room. A great start to the night with this fruity, refreshing, and off-dry white.
Cute foccacia bread baked in a flowerpot! The chive butter that came with it was tasty too. I told myself not to fill up on bread because lots of food was coming.
Tinhorn Creek’s winemaker, Andrew Windsor as he explains the wines of the night.
Honey Roasted Okanagan Pear and Winter Beet Salad
Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris 2015
Honey Roasted Okanagan Pear and Winter Beet Salad with white balsamic and puffed barley paired with Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris 2015.
It was lightly dressed and was a great start to the evening. There was a fall comfort to her salad with the roasted pear and and sweet earthiness of the beets. The vegetables paired nicely with the pinot gris. The pears and beets meshed with the sweetness of the wine.
Caramelized George Bank Scallop
Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014
Caramelized George Bank Scallop with maple glazed pork belly and sage butternut risotto paired with Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014.
One of my favourite dishes of the night! The scallop was perfectly cooked inside and out with the flavourful caramelization. The pork belly was very flavourful and not overly sweet. The proteins went well with the risotto and had a more gentle sweet savoriness to it. The chardonnay had a tropical sweetness to it, a subtle hint of oak, and wasn’t overly buttery – the kind of chardonnay I like. Another great pairing!
Smoked Brome Lake Duck
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Merlot 2012
Smoked Brome Lake Duck with preserved cherries, and wild baby arugula paired with Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Merlot 2012.
By the time that this dish came along I was starting to get full. I was imagining a duck leg and thankfully they were more like duck croquettes. At first I thought they were on the salty side but with the sauce, vegetables and cherries together, it married nicely. At first when I saw that the wine chosen was a merlot, I thought that it might not work well but with 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Syrah, it made for a more fuller bodied and complex wine. I would definitely drink this again.
Juniper Rubbed Black Apron Striploin Medallion
Tinhorn Creek 2Bench Red 2012
Juniper Rubbed Black Apron Striploin Medallion with oxtail braisage, matsutake mushroom, heirloom carrots, melted leeks with Pemberton potatoes paired with Tinhorn Creek 2Bench Red 2012.
This was my favourite dish of the night and could have been the best beef that I’ve had in my life so far. It was perfectly seasoned and the oxtail braisage placed underneath the striploin medallion gave it an interesting contrast in flavour and texture. The leek with potatoes were also creamy and nicely done. Paired with this was a big bold red.
Juliette and Juliette
Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2013
Juliette and Juliette – Salt Spring blue Juliette with apricot and hazelnut cracker; Salt Spring white Juliette with green apple, celery, and rye – paired with Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2013.
I’m not usually a cheese for dessert person but I was definitely open-minded for this experience as I knew we were in good hands with Chef Isabel. Salt Spring Island Cheese made the white and blue Juliette. Juliette is a surface ripened cheese made to taste like a goat camembert.
The cheeses were paired well once again. The white Juliette with celery was an interesting one and surprisingly went together nicely with the fresh vegetal taste. I normally don’t enjoy blue cheese but the blue Juliette was very mild and was outstanding paired with the apricot preserve and hazelnut cracker. The wine pairing was a lighter red with softer tannins and the right amount of acidity to take us down from the bold red we had with the beef.
Overall, it was a fantastic dinner. The flavours worked well together and everything felt like i was done for a specific reason with intent.
Prices for the winemaker’s dinner can be steeper but they always sell out. It’s the perfect dining experience for a special getaway. Hearing the winemaker and chef speak about their creations was also a good learning experience since we normally rarely get to hear the stories of planning that goes into the finished product.
To learn more about Cornucopia, Whistler’s celebration of food and drink, visit http://whistlercornucopia.com/.