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Tastes and tidbits



An evening of gourmet food and wine is a luxurious treat for many of us. I don’t know about you, but on the odd occasion I splurge on a fine dining experience, there’s usually a small part of me that regrets spending money on such an extravagance, even if it was an amazing meal. So I’m always happy to hear about gourmet culinary events that are for a good cause — that way, you get all of the indulgence, but none of the guilt.

This fall, there are a few events being held around town and a bit further abroad that fit the do-gooder diner bill.

First up is the Wines of Chile Fall Festival Tour , being held at the Rocky Mountaineer Train Station in Vancouver on Thursday, Sept. 25. from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. The evening features Chilean wines from over 30 wineries, bread, artisan cheeses, appetizers, and more fantastic treats, plus a silent auction and raffle. There will also be four stations hosted by sommeliers and key media to educate attendees on the finer points of Chilean wines — Syrah, Carménère, Terroir and other iconic wines.

Now here’s the helping-hand part: a portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation, an organization that was formed back in the fall of 2006 to help any members of the hospitality industry who need help with medical expenses that aren’t covered by MSP or private health care. The foundation is currently helping Anne Tyler, a local woman who is battling cancer.

Tickets to the Wines of Chile Fall Festival Tour are $65 and can be purchased at . For more information about the B.C. Hospitality Foundation, visit their website at .

If you were lucky — and quick — enough to snag tickets to the 12 th annual Chefs for Life event before they sold out, you’re in store for some serious culinary delight, as some of the best chefs from Vancouver and Whistler are participating in this 12 course sit-down dinner, complemented with vintage wines. Stepping up from our neck of the woods are Chef Melissa Craig of Bearfoot Bistro and Chef James Walt of Araxi.

Tickets went for $325 apiece, and were sold out by _____, with proceeds going towards The Vancouver Friends For Life Society, an organization that aims to help improve the wellness of individuals struggling with life-threatening illness.

Finally, a little later this fall, the Whistler Search and Rescue Society (SAR) will host their ninth annual Wine’d Up Gourmet Dinner and Auction .

The event, which was started by renowned chef Bernard Casavant, who was based in Whistler for years, is being supported by five talented executive chefs this year: Chef Vincent Stufano of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Chef Scott Dolbee of the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, Chef Grant Cousar of Whistler Cooks & Catering, Chef Steve Bjormark of Whistler-Blackcomb, and Chef James Walt of Araxi. Each chef will create a dish designed to complement a VQA wine, which are being donate by some of B.C.’s top wineries. Featured wines include Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Steller’s Jay Brut, Ganton and Larsen Prospect Winery Larch Tree Riesling, Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Merlot, and Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Vidal Icewine.

The evening will also feature a live and silent auction, with original artwork from Cameron Bird and Rod Charlesworth, sports memorabilia, hotel and restaurant gift certificates and other items donated by Whistler businesses up for grabs.

Don’t worry about donning formal wear for this event, which is held at Dusty’s on Saturday, Oct. 18. starting at 6 p.m. Smart casual or western apparel is suggested.

Tickets are $135, with all of the proceeds going to benefit SAR’s equipment, supplies and training expenses. Since Casavant launched the event in 2000, the Wine’d Up dinner has raised more than $170,000 for SAR. Last year, tickets sold out in just eight days, so call 1-800-766-0449 soon if you’re interested in attending.


Extra helpings

Interested in learning more about all of the latest wine offerings from this province? Check out the B.C. Wine Institute’s fourth annual Chef Meets Grape event, featuring pairings of new B.C. VQA fall releases with small plates from 12 of the province’s top restaurants.

The tasting is being held at the Rocky Mountaineer Station in Vancouver on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 7 until 10 p.m. Tickets are $75 and are available at lower mainland VQA wine stores. See for more information.


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