Foodies Guide to Whistler
By Rachel Hopwood
The Canadian mountain resort of Whistler enjoys a long held reputation as a top ski resort and even a summer adventure playground. However, over the past ten years, this corner of British Columbia has also earned an impressive reputation as a foodies paradise.
Each November, Whistler plays host to Cornucopia, an 11-day festival of food and drink that attracts discerning food lovers from across the world.We’ve picked out some of the highlights of this year’s festival and also named some of the best restaurants to visit at any time of year.
No trip to Whistler would be complete without a visit to the Fairmont Chateau. The venue will host the Quail’s Gate Wine Dinner on November 9 and it’s sure to prove extremely popular. The hotel is home to Wildflower, a casual restaurant perfect for breakfast and dinner. For dinner, The Grill Room’s signature stone fireplace and rich cherry wood create a welcoming ambience for exceptional cuisine paired with the finest wines of British Columbia.
The party returns to the Fairmont on November 12 for the Indigenous World Wine Dinner. The Indigenous World Winery merges modern culture with Indigenous history. The Indigenous first peoples of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys located in British Columbia are the Okanagan Syilx people. They have lived on and protected these lands for thousands of years. Robert Louie and his wife Bernice are descendants of the Syilx people and are connected to the land and its rich history. When you taste an Indigenous World wine, you’ll be tasting fruit from the land that has supported the Syilx people for over 10,000 years. Before you leave, head for The Mallard Lounge and enjoy one of the breathtaking cocktail creations.
Bearfoot Bistro is something of a culinary beacon in Whistler and the World Oyster Invitational and Bloody Caesar Battle returns for its 9th annual throwdown. Your ticket includes all refreshments, food and entertainment, plus a front row seat to witness the knives fly as oysters are shucked against the clock, and a chance to try each Caesar entered into the bloodiest battle of the year. Of course, you can enjoy a spectacular meal created by award-winning Executive Chef Melissa Craig at any time. Try your hand at sabering a bottle of Champagne, or visit the Ketel One Ice room, the coldest vodka tasting room in the world.
Aura restaurant, located within Nita Lake Lodge is passionate about celebrating the best seasonal and farm fresh ingredients so it’s hardly surprising that Executive Chef James Olberg will welcome guests to the Winemaker Dinner on November 10. Vegans and vegetarians are well catered for at Aura with Meatless Mondays proving a huge hit even with the most meat-loving diners. The Cure Lounge and Patio, located just nextdoor, comes highly recommended for alfresco dining even in winter.
While food events are of course at the heart of Cornucopia, Whistler has a host of fun activities to enjoy alongside. You could work off those tasting events by learning to axe throw, an age-old lumberjack tradition. Forged Axe Throwing host a number of parties and have everything you need to get started.
For something a little more sedate, try a night walk into the magical forests. The Vallea Lumina takes you on a journey retracing the footsteps of two bold travellers who uncovered secret, mythical wonders of the woods. Light installations and beautiful illusions create a truly memorable experience.
Sleigh rides in Whistler also prove popular when the snow arrives, and of course skiing and snowboarding are readily available from late November until May.
Whistler is a two-hour drive from Vancouver International Airport with flights serving the airport from most major global cities. Frequent shuttle buses operate direct from the terminal building. For more information, visit www.whistler.com.