Jul 1, 2008 | Marmot, Summer 2008

Summer 2008 Preview with a tasty addition to summer events.

Summer at Mount Washington Alpine Resort is all about savouring the moment for 2008. The tour of gastronomy begins July 1 with the annual Save-On-Foods Family Picnic, celebrating Canada Day.

The ninth annual Beer Fest is scheduled for July 11, featuring samples from many of the Island’s microbreweries and more. The Alpine Wine Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary on August 8 from 6-9 p.m.

The Beer and Wine Festivals will take place on Friday nights this summer. But it’s for a good reason: “They’re back at Raven Lodge by popular demand,” Resort Director of Marketing Karen Bonell said. The piece de resistance this summer, though, is the inaugural Culinary Food Festival September 5-7 (Friday to Sunday). Co-presented by Mount Washington and Beyond the Kitchen Door in Courtenay, and sponsored by Eat Magazine, the Alpine Food Festival will feature globally inspired local foods. “We want to highlight the diversity of the Comox Valley and the Island,” Bonell said.

The culinary talents of two celebrity chefs will be highlights: Karen Barnaby, executive chef of the Fish House Restaurant in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and a food columnist with the Vancouver Sun, and Eric Akis, food columnist for the Victoria Times-Colonist and author of a series of books called Everyone Can CookDon Genoba of CBC will MC the weekend event.

Friday features the Alpine Cocktail Reception. All the chefs will create hors d’oeuvres for sampling and there will be wine pairings with some of the items. Natural Pastures’ award-winning cheeses will be available, too. “It’s gourmet grazing,” Bonell said. Friday night’s event requires a ticket.

Saturday the Resort will host a marketplace in the summer courtyard, which will be open to the public. “We already have about 25 vendors confirmed for it,” Bonell said, mostly local to the Comox Valley and surrounding area, including Dark Side ChocolatesIsland BisonIsland View LavenderBitesize Specialty FoodsThe Cookie Crate and The Cheddar Co.

There will be cooking classes going on throughout the day, from sushi making to pastry. Guests may enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner with wine pairings Saturday night. Host Genoba will introduce the chef, producer and dish for each course.

Sunday at noon a blueberry competition will see the celebrity chefs in a cook-off using blueberries collected during Saturday afternoon hikes.

Access to most of the festival is available through two-night packages, which include tickets to the Friday night Reception, the Gala Dinner, Breakfast Buffet on Sunday, two cooking classes, tickets to the marketplace and a Chairlift Ride.

“We want people to experience the entire weekend, not just drive up for a cooking class or the marketplace,” Bonell said. “We want people to see this as an entire food festival.”

Access to separate components of the festival, such as classes, will be available individually only if there are spots available, she added.

For more information or reservations for the food festival packages, please call (250) 338-1386.

Summer wouldn’t be summer without the Mile High Chairlift, which opened June 20 and operates from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (weather permitting) until September 1. And from noon until 6 p.m. from Labour Day until the the summer operations close in September.

The bungy trampolinemini-golf and disc golf courses will also be open, so you can burn off all those calories amassed during the culinary festival.

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