You’ve Gotta Try This in October 2023

This is your indispensable companion to all that is fresh and delicious in Vancouver right now

The start of October is an odd time for me. I am in deep mourning over the loss of ‘eating-gloriously-juicy-peaches-morning-noon-and-night season’, but am equally giddy about the start of ‘sitting-around-a-campfire-without-worrying-about-setting-fire-to-the-neighbourhood-and-enjoying-hot-apple-juice-spiked-with-whisky season.’ Seasonal transition, innit? I don’t quite know what’s happened to the column this month, but it looks like everything I’m excited about is an event: cocktail, food and wine festivals, the Chowder Chowdown, and even a funky Halloween pop-up. So, you know what that means—go do all the fun things and make sure you take enough napkins ’cause you know it’s gonna get messy!

1. The Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is baa-ack

Easily one of my favourite Vancouver events (Sustainable seafood! The Aquarium at night! Soup!), I’m thrilled to share news that the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is back on Thursday, October 12, featuring 12 chefs from Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Banff and Langara Island. Each chef will be serving up their signature ocean-friendly chowder, complete with Ocean Wise-recommended seafood, paired with complimentary beverages from breweries across Canada. Attendees get to try all the different pairings and cast their votes for the highly prized People’s Choice award. Who will win the title of 2023 Chowder Champion? Get your ticket to find out!

2. Take a cooking class at PICA

Winter classes are starting now at PICA Chef next to Granville Island, and you can up your kitchen game to semi-pro level learning from the experts. On offer this season, explore Vietnamese cooking with Chef Dan on October 15, dive into sweet mochi-making with Chef Ivy on October 25, and explore Korean cuisine with Chef Heedong on November 5. Each class at PICA promises a hands-on experience led by talented and experienced chefs.  Spaces are limited, so don’t miss your chance to reserve your spot.

3. Head to the Black Lagoon Pop-up

If you love Halloween costumes and cocktails, you’re gonna love the Black Lagoon, an award-winning pop-up from industry champs Kelsey Ramage and Erin Hayes. The event is again setting up shop at the Butcher & Bullock from October 3 to 31 on its spooky world tour. The concept dates back to a Tales of Cocktail pop-up at New Orleans’s The Dungeon a few years back, and is now an annual fixture for all fans of booze and ghoulishness! B.C.-born and -raised Kelsey Ramage says, “Butcher & Bullock seemed the perfect place for Black Lagoon. Its dark, moody interior and antique hearse right inside brings all the pieces together for the perfect Halloween vibe. This year, the decor promises to be even more spooky, and we’ve even invited the building’s long-rumoured ghosts to join the celebrations!” With six spooky sippers on the menu that pay homage to goth, horror and all things Halloween, you’ll find plenty to enjoy as you toast the undead!

4. Make like a fancy bitch at Published and drink Krug

Founded in 1843, Krug is home to some of the world’s finest champagnes, and you have until October 8 to unleash your bougie self and head over to Published where they’ve been awarded the rare honour of becoming a Krug ambassade. You want me to translate? OK, apparently: “A ‘Krug Ambassade’ is an iconic place… where gastronomic excellence meets the finest champagnes.” Er, yes, please.

As Krug ambassades, Published will be taking part in Krug Week where the champagne house honours its savoir-faire by ‘inviting Krug Ambassade chefs to interpret a single ingredient, crafting unexpected recipes to pair with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée or Krug Rosé.’ The ingredient this year is lemon, and Published has created a Lemon Sour Ice Cream with Kaluga caviar and olive oil dessert, which will only be available during Krug week. Sure, it’s an eye-watering $125 for the pair, but how often do you get to splurge on something crazy like this?!

5. VIWF returns with La Dolce Vita

Did you know that every single region of Italy produces wine? That Italy has some 400 varieties of grapes that it uses for wine production? And, that Italy is the featured country for the 45th year of the Vancouver International Wine Festivalthat’s back in February 2024?! Participating wineries will be announced soon, and advance tickets go on sale Wednesday, November 15 at 9:30 a.m, so add that to your calendar to bag early-bird deals to what’s sure to be a stomper of a festival!

6. Celebrate the Art of the Cocktail

I will forever have the softest of soft spots for Victoria’s Art of the Cocktail festival, the annual fundraiser for the Victoria Film Festival, which is always a guaranteed good time. Back this year on Saturday, October 14 for a Grand Tasting at Crystal Garden, those Victorians are going all fancy with a Vegas theme, featuring a best-dressed competition, photo booths and live music. Treat yourself to a mini-break on the Island to sample spirits and cocktails paired with tasty bites—trust me, it’s always fun!

7. Simmer up some pears and ginger

It’s getting weird that this column is just events, so let’s talk what you really gotta eat right now—pears! Pears are so, sogood right now and my absolute favourite way to have them is slowly poached with a brown sugar and ginger syrup. If you can manage it, can some extra pears with the syrup as the pear-y, ginger-y syrup is spectacular on ice cream or in a whisky cocktail.