1 week left of Cornucopia: Schedule
Whistler, BC — Nita Lake Lodge is located just steps away from the glacier-fed lake in Whistler, Canada. The lodge has a full-service spa that has been voted Top 10 Organic Spas by Organic Spa Magazine. Nita Lake Lodge offers free shuttle service to and from Whistler Village.
Our stay at Nita Lake Lodge marked the first day of Cornucopia (11/5/15), which is one of our favorite times to travel to Whistler! Cornucopia is Whistler’s celebration of food and drink. The 19th annual event present by BlueShores Financial and will last through 11/15/2015. Cornucopia offers drink seminars, gala tastings, educational workshops, fun parties, lavished dinners, and so much more! For a complete list of festivities, check out the website.
This year, our first Cornucopia dinner experience was at Araxi. It was an intimate 5 course dinner paired with 5 wines from Burrowing Owl Winery. The menu was prepared by Executive Chef James Walt, and Wine Director Samantha Rahn.
Araxi Intimate Wine Dinner: Burrowing Owl (Nov 5)
First Course: Duo of BC Albacore Tuna – lightly seared tuna tatami and tuna toro sashimi ponzu pearls and shaved radish. Paired with Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2014. The presentation, taste, and execution of the tuna was flawless. Perfectly seared tuna tatami paired nicely with the salty pop of flavor from the ponzu pearls that exploded softly in your mouth. The tuna toro sashimi was the winner here as it was fatty, the kind of melt in your mouth texture, and the ultimate satisfaction. The Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2014 was a great starter wine for the evening as it was sweet, mouth-filling richness with layers of orchard fruits, cantaloupe and yellow plum, balanced with hints of mandarin rind and a chalky minerality.
Second Course: Assorted Pemberton Beet Salad – Okanagan goat cheese and roasted beets with Root Down greens, toasted pecans and Helen’s olive oil. Paired with Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanc 2014. Chef James Walt picks his ingredients from his local neighborhood farms of Pemberton. The presentation on the plate shows his level of detail from color, shape, and taste. The roasted beets paired exquisitely with the milky, creamy goat cheese lined in the center of the dish. The toasted pecans gave the dish an extra layer of texture and sweetness. The Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanc 2014 was fresh, lightly oaked, and had a sweet, fruit-forward taste that helped compliment the vegetables.
Third Course: Roasted Columbia River Steelhead – du Puy lentils, North Arm root vegetables herb and chorizo ragout, red wine and shallot jus. Paired with: Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2012. The Steelhead had an excellent crispy skin that crackled when you bit into it. As you gently mix the fish into the sauce, the flavor is intensely increased from the richness of the red wine and shallot jus. The Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2012 was our favorite complement to the dish.
Fourth Course: Quebec Rabbit Saddle – prosciutto wrapped with slow cooked pork jowls smoked baby onions, brussel sprouts and parsnip puree. Paired with Burrowing owl Heritage 2012.
Fifth Course: Warm Valrhona Chocolate Tart – bitter-sweet chocolate ganache in a sweet pastry crust raspberry jellies and preserved raspberry coulis. Paired with Burrowing Owl ‘Coruja.’
One of Cornucopia’s favorite and most coveted event is the Big Guns Dinner which happened on November 6th, 2015 this year.
Still Remaining Araxi Dinners:
- 11/10 at 6PM: Araxi Intimate Wine Dinner – Sonoma County from Bubbles to Old Vine Zin
- 11/11 at 6PM: Araxi Intimate Wine Dinner – Torbreck – Barossa, Australia
- 11/12 at 6PM: Araxi Intimate Wine Dinner – Champagnes, Wines + Spirits of Moet Hennessy
The next day, we attended the Healthy Foods Brunch Seminar with Merina Koly and Audra Mott. They were both dynamic, humorous, and informative. We tried a green juice, coconut pudding, and granola. This seminar has really inspired me to start juicing!
Then it was back to the hotel. It was a rainy day, so what better way to spend a rainy day than at the spa?!
The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge had a modern yet cozy feel to it. Soothing music played throughout the place. Hot tea and fruit infused water were abundant. The chaise lounge chairs were adorned with soft, fury blankets – if you shut your eyes, you just might doze off. The spa had a steam room and 2 outdoor hot tubs. TIP: Now through the end of November, The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge is offering 90-minutes massages for the price of 60-minutes.
That evening we were excited to attend the Vueve Cliquot Canada & concept store Secret Location dinner at Aura Restaurant at Nita Lake Lodge. This was a five course dinner, fashion, and champagne! Upon arrival, we were greeted with a glass of Vive’s latest champagne, Rich, served on ice with cucumber. It was ultra-refreshing.
Guest Chef Montgomery Lau of Secret Location joined forces with Aura’s Chef Dean Hossack to create a unique culinary journey paired perfectly with five champagnes.
History Tip: Since its founding in 1772, the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin House has remained true to its motto: “only one quality, the finest”. A champagne House is judged on the quality of its Brut non vintage. It is in the making of such a wine that the true Art of Champagne blending reveals itself. This is an art in which the House of Veuve Clicquot excels. Our Brut Yellow Label reflects the superb vineyards we own and the consistent nature of our House style. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label manages to reconcile two opposing factors – forcefulness and finesse – and to hold them in perfect balance. This consistent power to please makes it ideal as an aperitif and perfect as the Champagne to enjoy with a meal.
CURRY MARSHMELLOW: squid ink & yuzu rocks
Veuve Clicquot Rich Champagne with cucumber slices: Signature notes of the wine are magnified by the presence of selected ingredients: pineapple, grapefruit zest, cucumber, celery, peppers or tea, all on the rocks.
RABBIT & BACON: pickled Rootdown Farms vegetable salad, poached apricot
Veuve Clicquot Rich Champagne with orange pepper slivers: Signature notes of the wine are magnified by the presence of selected ingredients: pineapple, grapefruit zest, cucumber, celery, peppers or tea, all on the rocks.
ARTIC CHAR & CAVIAR: beet tartar, horseradish crème friache, rye crackers
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne: The initial notes of fruit are followed by more discreet aromas of brioche and vanilla when the wine is allowed to age in the bottle.
PAN SEARED DUCK: wild rice stew, carrot & onion soubise, jus
Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne: Notes of raspberry, wild strawberry and cherry predominate, followed by a touch of dried ruits and pastry.
BEEF RIB EYE TWO WAYS: squash and seed, hedgehog mushroom natural jus
Veuve Clicquot Vintage Champagne 2004: The Pinot Noir wines are fruity and full-bodied.
OKANAGAN PEARS: fall harvest pears presented three ways
Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne: Veuve clicquot demi-sec was rich in the scents of ripe fruit, berry notes with hints of toasts and brioche. The combination of the Rich Champagne and fresh cucumber slices gave it an extremely fresh flavor.
About Secret Location: Secret Location is Canada’s first concept store that promises thought-provoking fashion and food. Housed under one roof is a carefully curated retail store and unique Tasting Room. Recently selected to the top 10 list of concept stores by Vogue Paris, the flagship operation in historic Gastown is based on founder Carey Melnichuk’s global experiences and travels. Secret Location opened summer of 2012 and is opening a second retail-only venture, called SL, summer 2015 at YVR.Chef Lau comes to Secret Location from Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver MARKET by Jean-Georges. Originally from Hong Kong, Lau has been overseeing MARKET since spring of 2012 and appointed Chef de Cuisine in 2013. In 2011 Lau represented BC and won gold at the Canadian National Chef Challenge Competition. His knowledge of international cuisine and local producers is an excellent fit for Secret Location’s adventurous Tasting Room. Diners can expect modern multicultural cuisine with an emphasis on authenticity.One of the great things about Whistler Cornucopia events are the interactive and open cooking demo’s where attendees can ask questions, taste the food, and enjoy amongst the table group.Just released is the soon to be Canadian cooking cult classic – True North: Canadian Cuisine from Coast to Coast by Chef Derek Dammann and co-authored by acclaimed Canadian food writer Chris Johns. As rugged and authentic as the land they celebrate, Derek Dammann of Maison Publique, Montreal and Chris Johns traveled the breadth of Canada to unearth, discover and celebrate ingredients that would surprise and delight our Canadian ancestors.After a night of gluttony and bottles of champagne, we decided to have breakfast at Fix Cafe located at Nita Lake Lodge for freshly squeezed juice and some pastries. The “Cleanseinator” tasted…..healthy. The “Just beet it” was delicious and the almond croissant was also tasty!
Baked Oysters with Marmite. Pure umami bomb! Cucumber-metallic finish of the oyster and the rich mushroom duxelles made with great unsung mushroom: the button. Made by Chef Derek Dammann and co-authored by acclaimed Canadian food writer Chris Johns.
Crush. Endless supply of wines. Aisles and aisles of wines. It was like a wine lover’s heaven.Do you ever look at a wine list and wish you could have it all? At CRUSH, you can do just that. As the world renowned flagship tasting event of Cornucopia, CRUSH creates a vibrant atmosphere for attendees to sip, savour and sample their way through the night and get to know new wines, creating new favourites. From New-World to Old-World, sparkling to Champagne, an opportunity for the attendee to discover a new gem, or ten! Located in the Sea to Sky Ballroom at the Whistler Conference Centre, CRUSH is dynamic, lively, sensational and a feast for the senses.
There’s one weekend left of Cornucopia. If you are looking for a weekend getaway filled with fun, food, and wine, book your trip to Whistler and experience what Cornucopia has to offer. There is still time for you to head over to Whistler and enjoy the rest of the 2015 Whistler Cornucopia. Take a look at the schedule, here.