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Wine and dine in the Rockies

Banff serves up a delicious destination

19 October 2011
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The travelling public has spoken – Trip Advisor’s 2011 Traveler’s Choice list is out and among the Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations in Canada is beautiful Banff>, Alberta. Already known for its deep champagne powder, craggy peaks and turquoise blue lakes, the country’s original national park is now known for its fine food.

And in the coming months, cuisine is front and centre on the to-do list in the Canadian Rockies. First up is the granddaddy of luxury wine and food festivals – the Fairmont Banff Springs 20th annual International Festival of Wine & Food. This prestigious event has seen some of the world’s top winemakers and more than 10,000 wine lovers visit Banff over two decades and this year is no different. From the Friday night Vintner’s Reception to the expert tastings and seminars, the black-tie Gala Dinner and elaborate lunches and brunches, this is the wine event of the season for expert oenophiles and newbies alike. It’s a three-day immersion in swirling and slurping, wine regions and vineyards, and a chance to learn from the people who make some of the world’s finest wines.

This year, top wineries including Champagne’s Dom Perignon, Spain’s Miguel Torres, Canada’s Cedar Creek Estates and Napa Valley’s Clos Du Val are on the ticket at the historical railway hotel, Oct. 21-23. And Top Chef Canada winners Dale MacKay, Connie De Sousa and Rob Rossi will be cooking alongside the hotel culinary team (packages from $2,238). 

Following up this annual wine-lovers’ bash is a new event for foodies, Banff’s first Bon Appetit food festival, Nov. 17-27. Participating restaurants will offer special three-course menus (three options per course) for a $25 or $35 flat rate. Expect to find local specialties, from elk and bison from their own game ranches at Sleeping Buffalo Restaurant at Buffalo Mountain Lodge, to native-inspired “crossroads” cuisine at the Juniper Hotel & Bistro, seasonal Canadian cuisine at The Bison Restaurant, and handmade, gourmet Alberta beef burgers and milkshakes at Eddie Burger + Bar.

And where do the world’s travellers suggest you go for the best meals in Banff? On the favourites list: Nourish Vegetarian Bistro “that takes vegetarian cooking to a whole new level”, The Banffshire Club for “one of the best meals we’ve had in years”, and The Maple Leaf for its “comfortable elegance”. Or just hook up with a guide from Banff Food Tours and eat your way through Banff’s international noshes.

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