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Festival officials dub Crush the signature event of the festival, with more than 80 wineries and a handful of Whistler’s top restaurants coming together for a celebration of wine and food tasting. Catch up with the townsfolk and discover new wines to grace your kitchen table.
The signature party of the festival is hands down the Masquerave at the Bearfoot Bistro. You never know what Andre St. Jacques’s saucy imagination is going to spin out each year. Last year’s blowout welcomed more than 1,500 people under a circus-inspired, big-tent. This year returns to an intimate soirée of 250 to 300 people for Whistler’s version of the Moulin Rouge. Champagne, wine, body-painted models and live bands, all of the staples will be there. But new this year, the food gets sexed up with chefs from Canada’s best restaurants jumping on board this year (they attended last year’s event and wanted to be a part of this year’s craziness), including two of my favourite Vancouver restaurants, Vij’s and Tojo’s.
In years past, festivalgoers were forced to choose between Masquerave and Araxi’s Bubbles, Jazz and the Sea event. However, this year the two fall on different evenings. For food and wine/champagne aficionados who prefer a more sophisticated, relaxing evening, uncork the Araxi event after the Crush party. The elegant evening flows with silky smooth jazz to accompany the seafood tiers and one-of-a-kind sushi Araxi is famous for. Champagne flows well into the night. The Araxi evening slips on like the perfect black cocktail dress — subtlety sexy with plenty of class.
I’ve never partaken on a Chef’s Trip to the Farm event. However, the draw of getting an intimate tour of a local farm, finishing with a field-to-feast lunch with wine pairing always results in sellouts.
Another seminar sellout is the 5th Annual Rare Wines with David Scholefield, giving participants the opportunity to taste mythical wines salvaged from wine cellars.