This is your indispensable companion to all that is hot, fresh and freaking delicious in Vancouver right now
You’ll have to excuse me. I’m hopped up on Chai tea, pumpkin risotto and all rosy-cheeked from my roaring fire. Yup, I am loving fall right now, soaking in these crisp, leaf-kicking, blue-sky days and chill nights which scream for velvety reds—I’m shifting from lighter Pinot Noirs and Gamays to comforting Cab Francs and spicy Syrahs— paired with a dizzying world of succulent carbs. Loosen a button, sit back and enjoy.
As ever, grab napkins because it’s gonna get messy...
1. Squamish and Lil’Wat Nations feast at Cornucopia
If it’s November, then according to the tick-tock of B.C.’s culinary clock, that surely means it’s Cornucopia o’clock—time to head up the Sea to Sky to enjoy what is surely one of the most enjoyable and delicious food and drink events in B.C.
All the usual favourites are back: Crush, the drinks seminars, the culinary stage and the Chef’s Luncheon series; but new this year, the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is hosting Spo7ez Table, an intimate and immersive First Nations experience featuring a multi-course luncheon paired with wines by Indigenous World Wines and Fort Berens Estate Winery.
Cultural ambassadors will share songs and storytelling throughout, with a three-course menu designed by the SLCC's Executive Chef D’Arcy Demoe, featuring locally foraged foods from the shared, traditional, unceded territories of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation. “We know that there’s more to Indigenous cuisine than salmon and bannock, and this menu is our first step in sharing that with our guests.”
2. Como scores big win
Hats off all round to the team at ¿CóMO? Taperia who have placed second on the enRoute Best New Restaurants in Canada list. A passion project which sprung from industry veterans Shaun Layton, Frankie Harrington and Justin Witcher’s shared love of Spain and tapas-style dining, I’m thrilled that they’ve been recognized for their truly excellent and authentic take on Spanish cuisine. If you haven’t been—what are you waiting for!? Raising a vermut and soda to the crew and wishing them nothing but full houses and continued success!
3. Learn to do something delicious!
There are some super-cool workshops happening this month. Take a chance! Go learn how to do something new…
Learn how to make a unicorn cake (scream!) at this workshop with Sugar Sugar Studios on Saturday, November 16th. “Learn key decorating techniques on how to build your cake. All our workshops are led by a cake artist who will show you step by step how to achieve your best cake. Workshops are perfect for beginners and all cake enthusiasts. Build the confidence to recreate a masterpiece at home after taking our workshop.” I checked out their website, and... oh my gahd, you can learn to make a Totoro cake.
Do you love chocolate? Then check out this professional chocolate sommelier master class at L’Atelier Coworking on Monday, November 18th. It’s for: "Anyone who wants to learn how to taste and discern fine chocolate like a professional. No experience necessary! Open to all. If you want to be part of the bean-to-bar-craft-chocolate scene, and learn how to discern and appreciate the world of fine chocolate, then this class will surely satisfy."
Spend the morning at a Cheese 101 workshop on Saturday, November 23rd. "Enjoy a glass of wine while learning how to make your own homemade cheese. Join Paula Maddison, who has been teaching the lost art of cheese making for over six years, will show you how to make three rapidly acidified cheeses (paneer, ricotta and queso fresco) that are not only easy to make but taste delicious!”
4. Take a field trip
Head up to Okanagan Falls to join Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars on Saturday, November 16th and Sunday, November 17th between 1 and 4 p.m. for their annual Sparkling + Fire holiday event. Reserve a spot ($15 fee) for a rare chance to enjoy a seated tasting flight with all four of their sparkling wines. Learn about the process of making méthode traditionnelle bubbles, and enjoy treats and wine around the firepit overlooking that breathtaking view with music from Maiya Robbie and Stefan Bienz.
Sure, it’s not happening till March next year but tickets for Victoria’s ever-popular Culinaire festival go on sale on Friday, November 1st and this is one delicious event that you do not want to miss.
Make it a weekend break in Revelstoke for the Snowflake Wine Fest on Saturday, November 16th with wine tasting, gourmet appies and then an after-party with live music by the Groovineers. Revelstoke Mountain Resort has a pretty sweet deal: two festival tickets plus a one-night stay at the Sutton Place for $269.
5. Drink all the Salal Gin
Treat yo' self to a bottle of Odd Society Spirits spectacular Salal Gin. This seasonal release shows off the tart, savoury flavour of salals which are pretty much the closest thing that B.C. has to sloes (the basis for that British winter classic, sloe gin). The Odd Society crew harvests the berries by hand each year at the end of summer and then steeps them in their Wallflower Gin. This year, over 90 percent of the berries came from Haida Gwaii, which lends some earthy wild characteristics from one of the world’s most beautiful places to a B.C. classic-in-the-making. Try it with sparkling wine for a twist on a Kir Royale or use it to add depth to a Negroni. On sale now in private liquor stores or direct from the distillery at 1725 Powell Street.
6. Eat all the carbonara
I’ve become a little obsessed with eating carbonara of late. It’s the ultimate comfort food and super quick to make—you've just gotta have the right ingredients and follow a few simple rules. I spoke to corporate chef of La Grotta Del Formaggio, and fellow Carbonara lover, Alex Tung to get his top tips.
“Make sure you source a high-quality dry pasta for that perfect al dente texture. My pasta of choice is Rustichella d'Abruzzo Bucatini. Get some great eggs (you only use the yolks), beautiful guanciale (the best cured bacon from pig cheeks!), Pecorino Romano and ultra-fresh black pepper.
"Make sure you don't overcook the pasta; render and crisp up the guanciale fully and put in a pan along with the egg yolks, cheese and a few tablespoons of salty pasta water, then mix them together to get a super-creamy emulsion, drain the pasta, add to the pan and mix—never turn on the heat again or you’ll get scrambled eggs! It's all about timing.”
7. Beta5 is opening a café
At last! No longer will we be forced into the indignity of sitting on the curb outside Beta5 wolfing down their ambrosial cream puffs or puff-face-planting in a car picnic 'cause—happy day—they are opening a 16-seat 900-square-foot café which will serve their superb chocolates, cream puffs as well as coffee, tea and hot chocolate. The café opens in mid-November and I couldn’t be happier. Masses of congrats to founders Adam Chandler and Jessica Rosinski. And thank you for stopping me from eating off a cracked sidewalk!
8. Wine + science = fun
One of my favourite things about the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival is its seminars. I have learned so much from the expert sessions there and every time you learn something new about wine, it just makes drinking it that much more fun!
So, this new event, Uncorked: A Celebration of the Science of Wine on Thursday, November 14th from 7 to 10 p.m. at TELUS World of Science sounds amazing. Join them and take a dive into the climate, terroir and winemaking techniques of Checkmate, Mission Hill, Road 13, Cedar Creek and Martin’s Lane with their winemakers, accompanied by tastings and bites from the excellent Home Block and Terrace restaurants.
There’s going to be a sparkling wine lounge (yes, please), silent auction, blind tastings and plenty more hands-on fun and—best of all—proceeds will support Science World’s On the Road program. Tickets are $89, so snap yours up now—this is going to be a brilliant night out!