If you’ve been to Cornucopia before, then be glad you lived to tell the tale. This festival gathers thousands over a near two week period. It’s a marathon that is eagerly anticipated by every wine, beer, spirits, and foodie aficionado in Western B.C.
They were going to call it ‘Shmorgusborg Festival‘ but ‘Cornucopia‘ just has a little nicer ring to it, don’t you think?
So, my friends, I thought I would share my best tips on How To Survive Cornucopia. Most of which I’ve had to learn the hard way.
1. Spit. Spit it all. Except for maybe that exquisite Nebbiolo, or Limited Edition Whisky SFTC. But seriously, this is rule no.1 for a reason.
2. Breaks, lots of breaks. The kind at Araxi, with Cava. No, don’t spit Samantha Rahns delicious wine all over the bar. Relax, enjoy.
3. Hydrate. Have water with you at all times, which will not only help remind you to drink more often but will also help with palate fatigue. It’s okay if this liquid seems foreign to you at some points during the festival. This is a normal reaction.
4. Pick seminars you are REALLY interested in. For me this year, that was Michaela Morris’s “Italys Sultry South” which included mouth watering pictures of pasta upon pasta dish! I was thrilled to see Judeka’s Cerasuolo Di Vittoria DOCG 2012 whic I’ve featured as Happy Thing No.18!
5. Do NOT try and tackle the entire Grand Tasting Room in one session. DO get tickets to more than one of the 3 tasting room events (not including trade only), so you can appreciate each tables offerings and fully enjoy everything that is made available to you here. I mean the coordinators at this event organize a literal cornucopia of treats from the expected cheese and meats, to juice bars, granola bars, and even vegan organic chia seed coconut apirulina bars that tasted like white chocolate peppermint bark and don’t ask me why or how.
6. When legends lead seminars – go. This is my shameless front-row paparazzi shot of the one and only, David Scholefield. Single handedly responsible for everything we drank out of BC liquor Stores for the last 30 something years. The original PM (Portfolio Manager… Category Manager?). He aided DJ Kearney, another legend in herself and BC’s Best Somm (2013) of Araxi, Samantha Rahn at the Top Value Wines Seminar.
Here are the wines we tried!
The Veuve Clicquot’s Champagne & Secrets Party was a lot of fun. Highlighted by being treated to the 2004 Veuve Clicquot, thanks to Hennessy Brand Ambassador Ada Chan! Personal 375ml bottles greeted guests upon entry to the golden yellow accented room that absolutely sparkled!
8. When you return to your hotel from said parties, order pizza from Fat Tony’s. Do not pass go and do not collect $100. Do not forget to put any leftovers (but who are we trying to kid?) in the fridge because breakfast pizza is one of the happiest things.
9. If you aren’t sure where to go for a meal, rely on your friendly shuttle driver to make expert local recommendations. We wound up at Basalt Wine + Salumeria and enjoyed West Coast meats Tuscany soup and salads. We tried every white wine by the glass on offer, to you know, warm up our palates and tasting skills.
Also recommended, we tried Stonesedge in the village – another total happy thing! A hearty breakfast to get going is just what was needed and provided with The Farmers Bowl.
10. Pack comfortable footwear, and always prepare for rain, or snow. You’re not in Kansas anymore, this is Whistler baby, and anything can happen.
There you have it happy things, you have been warned. Cornucopia is without a doubt the beverage industry event of the winter season, just make sure to enjoy responsibly and follow my tips!
[Disclaimer: I was 100% sober when the above occurred. Rain + heels + eager wine nerd = RIP jumper…]