Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival – Banff, Alberta

Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival
Fairmont Banff Springs
President’s Hall & Van Horne Ballroom
May 13-14, 2011

Put on your party dress and warm up your drinking hand. It’s spring in Banff and that means it’s time to eat, sip, and look good in the mountain backdrop until you are stuffed, silly, or out of tickets. Then again, that may not be the focus of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, but with 1300 people last Saturday night in the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs, it’d be hard not to get caught up in the excitement.

Having only ever been to the Edmonton edition of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, I left 99% of my expectations inside our hotel room. Arriving on one very packed ROAM bus, Sarah and I stepped into the madness. The halls weren’t even open yet and people were filling the space until we were left rubbing elbows. Thankfully, the area outside the President’s Hall kicked things off and started offering some drinks and cheese before the official bell sounded.

Beef Short Rib - Bison Restaurant

Once inside, we learned that the President’s Hall was filled with alcoholic beverages while the much larger Van Horne ballroom was a mix of both booze and food. Hitting the bank machine, Sarah and I purchased 80 tickets which made me feel like a kid wining games at Chuck E Cheese. From the moment we stepped into the Van Horne room, I was glad we decided to go early. Even with tables spread nicely around the floor plan, many seemed to be bulging at the brim. I’d love to see a smaller event and/or one where the restaurant staff would be able to tell you a little more about their food. But then again, everyone’s out to increase their product awareness and make a buck.

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I’m sure a quick Google search will help you find people considerably more qualified to talk about the walls of wine, spirits, and beer, so I’m gonna stick to the food highlights. With offerings from beef carpaccio to chocolate dipped strawberries, I was pleasnalty surprised to find more hits than misses. The Pork Belly Mac & Cheese for example, was a luxious plate of heart attack, while the beef tenderloin from Fairmont Banff Springs was about as good as it gets. Come to think of it, I’ve had tenderloin in restaurants that didn’t come close. For me though, I may have a tie. The Seafood Martini and Cheese Pate were also tops in my books. The biggest failure was the Short Rib, which was almost cool (seriously, no warmth) and the East Coast Scallop with Green Pea Puree, which robbed any scallop flavour with the very dominant puree.

All in all, this was one enjoyable event. From the food to the smoozing to the people watching, the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is one of the best events I can think of in Alberta. As a bonus, the town of Banff gets behind things and hosts a cornucopia of private and public food events during the weekend as well. So really, even with the crowds, I can’t help but think I’d go back again if the timing was right. Then again, the Edmonton stop is just a few months away.

Full Menu:
Balkan, The Greek Restaurant
1) Ouzo Prawns – Sautéed garlic Ouzo prawns flambéed with Tsantali Ouzo and served with herbed pita crisps
2) Loukoumathes – Deep fried cinnamon doughnuts drizzled with melithomantho (Greek spring honey) and sprinkled with crushed walnuts. A village favourite!

Banff Ave. Brewing Company
1) Crispy Lobster Roll on a Bed of Cabbage with Sweet Chilli Aioli
2) Honey Glazed Duck Confit Sliders with Dijon Aioli and Camembert Cheese

The Bear Street Tavern
1) Pork Belly Mac & Cheese
2) Mini Big Boy Sloppy Joe’s

The Bison Restaurant & Lounge
1) Short Ribs with Horseradish Mousse
2) Seared Sockeye Salmon

Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut
1) Chocolate Dipped Strawberries – Mouthwatering, fresh, seasonal strawberries handdipped in Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut chocolate
2) Individual Chocolates – Freshly piped seasonal fruit creams and a selection of Callebaut’s most popular individual chocolates, including Butter Cream, Ganache, Hazelnut, Truffle and Caramel
3) Kahlua Truffles – The latest addition to a lineup of 48 handmade individual chocolates. Master Chocolatier Patrick Senior will be hand-dipping each truffle on site at this year’s Festival

Coyotes Southwestern Grill
1) Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
2) BBQ Pulled Pork Wrap
The Eddie Burger & Bar
1) Beef Sliders – Homemade AAA Alberta beef patties served on mini ciabatta bun.

Elk & Oarsman Pub & Grill / St. James’s Gate Olde Irish Pub
1) Baby Back Ribs
2) Seafood Martini
1) Lamb Sliders

The Fairmont Banff Springs
1) Homemade Ginger Ale (Gluten Free)
2) California Rolls (Heart Healthy)
3) Vietnamese Salad Wraps (Raw)
4) Beef Tenderloin – Carved Beef Tenderloin, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Saskatoon Berry Demi Glaze & Sweet Potato Crisps (Gluten Free)

Meatball Pizza & Pasta – The Banff Ptarmigan Inn
1) Bonnie & Clyde – A sampling of a lamb and beef meatball, and a chicken and double smoked bacon meatball served with a roasted garlic marinara dipping sauce
1) Risotto Balls – Goat cheese, cranberry and basil stuffed in handmade risotto balls, lightly breaded and fried to a toasty golden brown , served atop a toasted almond brandy picatta
2) Tiramisu – Double dipped cappuccino lady fingers topped with creamy mascarpone cheese, finished with sprinkles of cinnamon and chocolate

Nefiss Lezizz
1) Black and Green Olives
2) Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Fresh Bread

Nesters Market Banff
1) Cubes of extra creamy Rosenborg Blue Cheese atop pear slices
2) Strawberry slices and shaved Piave Stravecchio on a Raincoast crisp with Crema di Balsamic
3) Chateau Reserve Brie with Terra’s green olive bread
4) Fontaine Santé’s Hummus atop sliced baguette

Saltlik Steakhouse
1) Beef Carpaccio
2) Cheese Pâté

Springbank Cheese Company
1) Selection of Cheeses

Sunshine Mountain Lodge
1) East Coast Scallop with Green Pea Puree, Red Pepper Coulis and Balsamic Reduction
2) Lemon Tartlets with Fresh Saskatoon Berries

Tony Roma’s – The Mount Royal Hotel
1) Baby Back Ribs – World famous lean but succulent baby back ribs basted with your choice of four original BBQ sauces (100% Gluten Free)
2) Tomato Pesto Bruschetta – Fresh diced tomatoes blended with pesto, basil and spices, topped with parmesan cheese and drizzled with a sweet balsamic glaze
3) Lamb Pops – New Zealand lamb served on the bone with a home-style spice

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2 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival – Banff, Alberta

  1. Pingback: Return of Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival « eating is the hard part

  2. Pingback: Tickets To Edmonton Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival – A Giveaway! « eating is the hard part

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