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Tuesday July 31st, 2012  
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People enjoyed a night of fine cuisine and ambiance at the Wine & Food Festival held at the Elks Hall in Blairmore on Thursday, July 19th.
Rum Runner Days festivities kicked off on Thursday, July 19th with a new event. The 1st Annual Crowsnest Wine & Food Festival was held at the Elk’s Hall.
The entry fee included 15 tickets which could then be exchanged for food or drink ranging in price from 1-5 tickets. Extra tickets were sold at $1 a piece so that guests could indulge in everything, or go back for more of their favourite items. Everyone was entered into a raffle to win prizes from Blairmore Liquor Store, and the Crowsnest Museum was on hand selling 50/50 tickets as was the Boys and Girls Club selling Ducks for Saturday’s Duck Race. Kristinza Wood and other artists from Allied Arts had their work on display as did local potter Heather Fletcher.
To showcase their best culinary creations to the crowd, 9 local businesses took advantage of this event where the patrons were blown away by the variety, taste, and skill level of these local chefs. There certainly was a variety of ethnic foods, not always seen in Crowsnest Pass but certainly becoming more prevalent. The Highwood Indian Restaurant was on hand with Vegetarian Samosas and Bamboo Bistro had food representing Thailand, Japan, and India with the Tandoori Crab Roll and Shrimp Gyoza proving to be very popular. “We’ve received very positive feedback and it gives us a chance to try things out for a new menu,” said John Warlow, owner of Bamboo Bistro and Black Rock Pizza. Caterer, Country Encounters provided the meat lovers with choices like Maple Chicken Skewers, Beef Tenderloin with Mini Yorkshire Pudding, and Mediterranean Lamb. Chef Dawn Rigby said it was a wonderful event and can’t wait until next year and was happy too that it has already generated new customers for her. Popiels has recently changed ownership and this was an excellent venue for them to show the community what they have to offer. Executive Chef Brad Clarke presented his Cevich Tostada which you will find on their menu but also served up Moroccan Grouper and the ever popular Mini Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding which was a definite crowd favourite.

The Rum Runner took advantage of the event to offer up Hors d’oeuvres, something they don’t get to do much at the restaurant unless they are catering a private function. They had items like Pulled Pork Sliders but their popular item of the night was the Grilled Shrimp Cocktail. Desserts could be found at Cinnamon Bear Café and Stone’s Throw Café and Steve Atkinson from Stone’s Throw was convinced the Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes would be the popular choice but they were out of the Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies before the night even came close to ending. Crowsnest Coffee Company was present to serve up some fresh roasted coffee to go with your dessert however the iced coffee seemed to be more of the drink of choice.
Wine was represented by 4 countries, Canada, Australia, Chile, and Italy and on as hot a night as it was the chilled whites were the crowd favourite. Italy’s Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio seemed to be disappearing quite quickly and as the tasting notes say, the wine boasts a fresh, clean fragrance that is followed by a crisp, refreshing flavour with hints of citrus fruits. This wine is well-structured and sophisticated, a perfect choice for entertaining!
To add to the ambiance, music was provided by three local musicians. Joshua Schulz on piano, followed by Tynan Groves on guitar, rounded out by singer/musician Nancy Kinnear.
The crowd was a buzz with many excitable conversations about the décor, music, and of course the food and wine. “This is a fantastic event, and I hope it continues,” said Crowsnest Pass resident Deb Reeves. People were already talking about next year and how maybe it will have to change venues as it can only get bigger and better. Organizers were very happy with the whole night and are already planning for next year
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