Cornucopia Whistler has come and gone, and the massive hangover can be felt around town as abandoned Masquerave masks blow in the wind like tumbleweeds. Luckily, the mountain will be opening soon to help us work off the massive amounts of cheese, wine and champagne we consumed this weekend.
Still, as we nurse headaches and sleep deprivation today, the culinary celebration can continue long after Cornucopia is gone. The appreciation of finer things in life can continue in the homes of all Whistlerites.
All you need is cheese and wine.
Four of the six cheeses sampled were finalists in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix, a worthwhile resource if you’re looking for a delicious cheese to bust out at the next social gathering. The odyssey of fromage took us on a journey across Canada, from Prince Edward Island to Quebec, and then to BC. To sample cheese, one must touch and smell, then put a small piece on the top of the tongue, gently warming it with the roof of the mouth.
Contrary to popular belief, white wines generally pair better with cheeses, according to our tasting coaches; and blue cheeses often taste best with a dessert wine. My biggest take-away from this seminar was this: Life’s short, so cut the cheese! And always, whatever you do, accompany that cheese with a healthy pour of wine.
Here are six pairings you may want to try:
1. Cheese: Island Brie – Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
Wine: Summerhill Pyramid Winery – Cipes Brut N/V
2. Cheese: Aged Lankaaster – Glengarry Fine Cheese
Wine: Blasted Church Wines – Chardonnay Musqué 2010
3. Cheese: Le Mont Jacob – Fromagerie Blackburn
Wine: Blasted Church Pinot Gris 2010
4. Cheese: Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar – Cows Inc.
Wine: Blasted Church Wines – Big Bang Theory 2010
5. Cheese: Cracked Pepper Veredelait – Natural Pastures Cheese Company
Wine: Blasted Church Wines – Pinot Noir 2009
6. Cheese: Bleu Benedictin – Abbaye St. Benoît
Wine: Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Chalice N/V
Top 25 Wines
If you’ve managed to check off the above list, try this on for size. Every year, an esteemed panel of judges chooses Cornucopia’s Top 25 wines to showcase at both the Crush Gala tasting and the Top 25 Celebratory Reception. This year’s list included a powerhouse of wineries with White Wine of the Year going to Bellingham – Bernard Series Old Vines Chenin Blanc, selling for $24.99. Red Wine of the Year went to Nk’Mip Cellars – Qwam Qwmt Syrah, which sells for $34.99.
As a self-professed armchair sommelier, I’ve always followed my taste buds more than the tasting notes. My trusty buds tell me their favourite wines of the Top 25 were Cupcake Vineyards – Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Mistaken Identity Vineyards – Abbondante Bianco Certified Organic, Cottesbrook – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, and the dramatic Bodega del Palacio de los Frontaura y Victoria – Nexus Crianza 2005. You can find the complete list on the Cornucopia website. Don’t worry, you have a whole year to get through the list!
So..who’s hosting the next wine and cheese party?