(This article is sponsored by Tourism Whistler)
What started 27 years ago as a simple long-weekend celebration to spotlight the best of British Columbia has today become one of the West Coast’s biggest food and drink extravaganzas of the calendar year.
Cornucopia is Whistler’s annual fall showcase of world-class culinary stars, expert mixologists, award-winning wineries and distilleries, and celebrated cideries and breweries. Coming up fast, this year one of the resort’s true must-attend celebrations runs November 9 to 19.
Need a reason to head up the Sea to Sky Highway for a getaway before the snow starts flying and the winter ski season gets underway? With over 70 events taking place over the 11 days, Cornucopia, true to its name, offers a cornucopia of them. Up your wine and spirits knowledge at one of the 30 drink seminars, learn something new at the Culinary Stage Series’ live culinary demonstrations, get ready for elevated winery dinners, or hit the global-themed Night Market: Taste of the World on November 17 for cuisines from around the world.
Those who’ve made Cornucopia part of their fall ritual know things kick off with a legendary bang.
The festival once again launches with House Party: Best of BC, this year’s November 9 blowout featuring some of the province’s most innovative wineries, breweries, and distillers. On the food side of things, think local in a big way, with Whistler chef Neal Harkins creating a buffet that showcases his love of fresh, seasonal, and sustainable British Columbia-grown ingredients. Pro tip: House Party is a perennial sell-out, so you’ll want to get your tickets early.
As one might guess from the name, Cellar Door on November 10 is all about wine, with over 25 international and regional wineries pouring red, white, and sparkling favourites, all bottles valued at $35 and above. Whether it’s a bold syrah or beautifully crisp chardonnay, knowing the backstory on your new favourite discovery is often half the fun, and vintners and producers will be on hand at Cellar Door to help break down the journey from the vine to the bottle.
The spotlight on wine continues on November 11 at Cornucopia’s flagship event—CRUSH Grand Tasting, where 50 wineries from the Pacific Northwest and beyond uncork a wide range of varietals, with small bites coming from restaurants up and down the Sea to Sky corridor. Want a truly up-close-and-personal experience? Limited tickets are available for the Early Entry Grand CRUSH Tasting, where you not only get a complimentary glass of Narrative XC Sparkling 2021 Rose Prosecco or Haywire Vintage Bub 2017 upon entering, but get to mingle with winemakers and producers in an intimate environment before the doors open for the main event.
Running over the course of the festival, Drink Seminars will dive into everything from perfect seaside wines to BC’s craft gin boom. POURED on November 18 will focus on premium spirits, ready-to-drink cocktails, top-flight ciders, and the endlessly adventurous world of craft beer.
Food is the other major part of the Cornucopia experience. Food-forward Signature Events this year include the groundbreaking Taste of Indigenous Worlds on November 12, a new and unique event where First Nations chefs from across BC are travelling to Whistler to share their cuisine in the beautiful and immersive Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. As experiences go it’s truly a one-of-a-kind standout.
Night Market: Taste of the World on November 17 riffs on one of the great reasons to travel, with chefs serving dishes that remind us, more than ever, we’re lucky to live in a global village.
As much fun as eating is, one of the greatest joys in life is learning to cook. Whether you’re just starting your journey in the kitchen, or convinced you’re going to be a future Food Network star, Cornucopia can help up your game with its Culinary Stage Series. Like being in the audience of a live cooking show, but even better because you get to taste the food and drinks, the series has local and national chefs sharing their tips and tricks on everything from classic British dishes to dim sum brunches.
As much as Cornucopia is serious about its commitment to highlighting the best of food and drink, it’s also about having fun, whether you’re talking the live sketch comedy of Laugh Out Live, Drag Me to Brunch, Murder Mystery Dinners, or a Silent Disco where everyone gets the chance to dance to their own beat. Look into a Cornucopia Package and you’ll not only get discounted event tickets, but exclusive rates on accommodation in Whistler. Prices start at $95 per night per person. Stay three or more nights and you’ll receive a $100 dining voucher.
The true sign that Cornucopia is for everyone? The dress code for almost all events is “Whistler Formal”, which is a fancy way of saying “from your favourite jeans and shirt to your preferred formal wear, come as you are and join the celebration!”
You don’t have to spend all your time eating and drinking—take some time to explore Whistler’s many art galleries (including the Audain Art Museum), immerse yourself at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, and maybe treat yourself at one of the internationally recognized spas. Or get out and walk around Whistler to remind yourself how beautiful everything is when fall arrives.
And then dive back into the endless array of events making up this year’s Cornucopia food and drink celebration. The adventure awaits, and with BC’s best in the spotlight, it’s going to be one to remember.
Tickets are already starting to sell out, so book now at whistlercornucopia.com.
Whistler Cornucopia 2023
When: November 9-19