Weekend Uncorked

Canmore Uncorked is a week long food and drink event that showcases the best restaurants and drinks that Canmore has to offer and has been voted Canada’s Event of the Year through the Canadian Tourism Awards. The festival includes several signature events such as a long table dinner, bistro tours, progressive dinners, and beer, wine, whisky and spirit festivals. Over the week many of the restaurants offer set price menus for lunches and dinners that range from $12 to $40. At the beginning of the festival or at any time you can pick up a festival passport and collect stamps at each venue you visit. If you are not there to eat there were also several set price experiences where you could try samples of vinegar and oils, chocolate and meats rather than having a full meal.

We decided to spend the weekend and enjoy several of the festival offerings. On our way from Calgary our first stop was Mad Dog Cafe at Dead Mans Flats. Their Canmore Uncorked offering was their signature spicy candied bacon cinnamon roll with a coffee for $5. This was an amazing way to start our day and after taking a look around they also have an amazing offering of meals that includes a huge array of curries. This will definitely be a regular stop for us any time we are heading into the mountains.

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Back on the highway our next stop was at Valbella Gourmet Foods. Just off highway 1A in Canmore this little meat shop offers not only a vast array of fresh and cured meats but also has a little deli and offers freshly baked breads and buns. Their Canmore Uncorked offering was a charcuterie salami and a package of Bundnerfleisch (a cured thinly sliced cured beef) for $10. Although we did find it hard to leave without purchasing a few extra treats including house made bacon onion jam and a huge bag of beef jerky.

We then headed towards main street Canmore. With plenty of free parking and lots of shops and restaurants to explore it makes for a great day in the sunshine wandering from shop to shop in a beautiful environment. Here we tasted vinegars and oils at Evooloution, explored many shops and eventually stopped for lunch at The Wood Restaurant. The $12 sandwich of the day was amazing, a Montreal smoked meat wrap with fresh vegetables and sweet potato fries. Another stamp added to our passport we headed to the Coast Hotel to participate in the Wine Festival.

The wine festival at Canmore Uncorked was sponsored by Culinaire magazine and had a  $45 per ticket price that included all of your wine tastings from an option of over 90 wines. Food was also available at an additional cost of $5 per plate. For three hours we tasted our way through wine after wine and were lucky enough to find several wines that we hadn’t tried before and then found several that we decided to purchase. Luckily they had an on site store where you could purchase your wines at a discount of 15% from the retail price.

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With our purchases stored away in our hotel room we had some time to enjoy before our 8:00 dinner reservation so we headed out to the patio at Table Food and Drink which is the restaurant attached to the Coast Hotel. Here we enjoyed basking in the sun taking in the beauty of our surroundings and enjoyed another glass of wine and a delicious charcuterie board.

From the Coast hotel it was just a short walk through Canmore to main street where we had decided on the $40 fixe price menu at Murrieta’s Bar and Grill. The dinner had several choices including a choice of appetizer, several main dishes and a choice of desserts. We started our dinner with the cherry coke cocktail and enjoyed a perfectly seasoned and cooked dinner that included crab cakes with a smoky spicy sauce, Brome Lake Duck breast with pomegranate gastrique, braised lamb shank with red wine and cherry jus and for dessert Callebaut chocolate mousse and banana crepes with salted caramel sauce. Overall the dinner was amazing and we would recommend visiting there if you are in the area.

To finish off our Canmore Uncorked weekend we attended the Big Brunch event sponsored by Avenue Magazine. Tickets were $35 each and the event was billed as allowing you to try brunch dishes made by several of Canmore’s favourite brunch spots. Each person was given 8 tickets that would allow you to try at least one sample from each of the 8 stations. We tasted ribs from Iron Goat Pub and Grill, french toast with orange and candied pecans from the Georgetown Pub, chorizo hash in potato skins with fresh salsa and guacamole from Habitat, scrambled eggs with bacon from Table Food and Drink and an amazing breakfast samosa with sweet chutney and curried chicken skewers from Mad Dog Cafe.  And of course for dessert we had amazing cupcakes from Kake Canmore.

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With our bellies full we turned in our stamped passports with hopes of winning the grand prize of 15 gift cards to various restaurants in Canmore and reluctantly headed home. Canmore has an amazing and diverse food scene that I would encourage everyone to explore in the beauty of the rocky mountains. We are looking forward to heading back soon and are thankful to Canmore Uncorked for the chance to see just what Canmore has to offer. Keep your eyes out for next years festival and make the time to head west and participate in this amazing event.

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