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Gismondi’s best bets for Cornucopia’s 10



It’s hard to believe Cornucopia is a decade old but the high-altitude food and wine party turns a decade old next month (Nov. 9-12) and it appears the village is finally ready to acknowledge the beneficial effects of hosting a village full of discriminating eaters and drinkers.

Currently Whistler finds itself in a dogfight for tourists’ dollars — the war on terror, not to mention Iraq and Afghanistan, has curtailed most “spur of the moment travel” by Americans and it’s taken a huge bite out of the regular holiday business. Cornucopia can’t come soon enough for many Whistler businesses hoping to kick off a successful winter season with some early food and wine frivolity.

What follows is our annual insider’s guide to the Cornucopia events that offer both value and entertainment and, frankly, provide locals with a terrific opportunity to learn more about a subject that is becoming as important as the depth of snow on the hills. Unless otherwise mentioned, all events take place at the Telus Whistler Conference Centre.

Although many events are already sold out, at press time the following were still showing tickets available.

The kick off House Party takes on a different look this year thanks to the sponsorship of the Washington Wine Commission. The Evergreen State is struggling to gain shelf space in B.C. wine stores and has decided to host the House Party to showcase a variety of wines to entice some interest north of the border. Merlot, riesling, chardonnay and more from the Columbia Valley and its growing number of sub-regions definitely raise the value quotient of this event. Food and music round out a casual fun kick-off to Cornucopia 10. Thursday Nov. 9, 7-9 p.m. $35.

Big Guns & Their Little Sisters was a big hit last year and returns for 2006. The concept is to explore an icon wine and its little sister or, to be a bit less chauvinist, its little brother. Few icon wines stand alone; in fact almost all spawn second or support labels that offer incredible value. Former BCLDB buyers, David Scholefield and Christopher Perry will present everyday quaffing wines next to iconic classics in the same family. Friday, Nov 10, Noon-1:30 p.m. $75.

If caffeine is required to kick start your morning Mocha Mix: Chocolate & Coffee, In the Raw & After the Roast could be for you. George Graham of Rogers' Chocolates Ltd. and Karla Ferster of Frog Friendly Wild Coffee will talk chocolate and coffee, origin and the history, and will be grinding up coffee cacao to make spicy mochas for all. Saturday, Nov. 11, 10-11:30 a.m. $20.

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