Alongside the seminars, workshops, and dinners offered up during Cornucopia, you can expect some seriously sumptuous parties.
While the organization of the annual celebration of food and wine was taken over by Watermark Communications Inc. this year, they certainly haven’t skimped on the parties.
Jo Hyland is event administrator for Watermark, acting as liaison between the restaurants and hotels, ensuring the proper permits are in place, working with supply sponsors, and basically nailing down some of the final details as the five-day event quickly approaches.
She explained that while Cornucopia produces a few of the parties, many local restaurants and clubs put on their own extravagant parties, which are rolled in with Cornucopia, and this year, they’ve had a few new businesses come on board.
The five-day event, which runs from Nov. 6 until Nov. 11, kicks off with the ever-popular house party from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., this year dubbed the Aperitif a la Francaise to fit in with the overall Wines of France theme. Later that same day, organizers have teamed up with the newest restaurant in town, Player’s Chophouse Restaurant and Lounge, to host a revamped version of the seminar Kick Up Your BBQ, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.
“It’s a new concept to have an actual Cornucopia after-party, after the house party,” Hyland said, adding that they’ve partnered with Philippe Dandurand Wines and Howe Sound Brewery to provide drinks that tie in with the dinner that Player’s Chophouse will prepare.
After you’ve indulged in French wines, a delicious dinner, and more drinks, of course, you can drift across the bridge at Franz’s Trail and head over to Dusty’s to join in with Whistler’s official art party, ARTrageous, hosted by Whistler Arts Council from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m.
Apparently, Creekside is the place to be for the Cornucopia kick-off.
“I think it’s worked out really, really well that we’ve got two main parties happening on Thursday night in that Creekside location,” Hyland said.
Three parties in one night? Hey, it’s hard work, but someone’s gotta do it. If you decide to go all out and attend all three, the cost isn’t ridiculous, either — $35 for the house party, $50 for the Chophouse event, and another $30 for ARTrageous. Total cost: $115.
If you can drag yourself out of bed on Friday, you’re in for a few treats. Cornucopia hosts its CRUSH! premiere grand gala tasting from 9 p.m. until 11:15 p.m., allowing attendees to socialize while they swirl, sniff, sip and spit. Tickets include dinner at a local restaurant, and range in price from $100 to $135, depending on the restaurant you choose. But here’s where things get a bit tough — at the same time as the CRUSH! event is going on, Ric’s Grill, The Mountain Club, and Garfinkel’s are all also hosting parties.
If you’re on a budget, making a decision gets a bit easier — attending the second annual Casino Royale party at Ric’s, complete with buffet dinner, Vegas show girls, roulette and much more, will run you $125, while the Ultra Lounge at The Mountain Club is $100, and includes canapés, cocktails and entertainment, plus entrance into the Burlesque party at Garfinkel’s, where the Burlesque Beauties from the Playboy Mansion will be on-hand.
Finally, if you’re in the mood to party incognito, hold off and head to Seven for the Masquerade Ball, which starts at 11 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m.
The last night of solid partying pleasure takes place on Saturday, with yet another round of CRUSH!, followed by Araxi’s notoriously decadent Bubbles + Oceans party where — I love this line — “spitting isn’t an option.” At $150 a pop, this event certainly is a splurge for most of the locals in this town, but I contend that it should be looked at as an investment, of sorts. This party starts at 10:30 p.m. and goes until the wee hours of the morning, offering up a seriously delectable spread of seafood — Chef James Walt’s famed plateaux de mer — to be washed down with champagne and sparkling wines. Toss in some music, and it’s easy to see why this event is one of the hottest tickets in town.
At the same time corks are popping at Araxi, clothes will be coming off at Seven, during their Lingerie Party, which runs from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. and costs $40. Shed the black tie and formal attire, and get ready to party with go-go girls galore and DJ Vinyl Ritchie.
Finally, Maxx Fish and La Bocca team up to present the House of Decadence, which runs from 11 p.m. until, well, late, and will run you $20 cover.
Get ready to raise your glass!