blog-47_01Delicious food, mountain views, Christmas décor, Canadian chefs, candy cane martinis…. oh yeah, it’s Christmas in November time!  I had the absolute pleasure of attending the 28th annual event hosted at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where incredibly talented, nationally recognized Food Network Canada chefs, cutting edge restaurateurs and décor experts showed us how to create fun and exciting holiday meals, cocktails and décor for the holiday season.

blog-47_02This year’s chefs included Vikram Vij, Mark McEwan, Laura Calder, Anna & Michael Olson, Elizabeth Baird & Emily Richard, Paul Shufelt, Giselle Courteau & Jacob Pelletier, Jan Hansen, Liana Robberecht, Stuart Ainsworth & Mairlyn Smith.  I was able to attend most everyone’s sessions, and it is hard to decide who my favorites were.  They all presented very different dishes and ideas, ranging from charcuterie, make-ahead Christmas dishes, family favorites, and Canadian cuisine.  Everyone was so relaxed and entertaining in their presentations – it made you feel like you were cooking with them in their home kitchen.

I took many photos, too many to share here, but I’ve included a few of the fantastic food, people and views.

blog-47_03This is a photo of Mairlyn Smith’s divine Cranberry Maple Butter Tart.  Mairlyn, who is arguably the funniest home economist out there, shared this recipe from her latest cookbook Homegrown.  It features recipes made with almost exclusively Canadian ingredients, and an entire chapter on my favorite ingredient, EGGS!

blog-47_04One of the presentations I enjoyed was led by Paul Shufelt, chef for the Edmonton Workshop Eatery.  He demonstrated Chicken Liver Parfaits – they were delicious and I’m happy that I was lucky enough to go home with a sample jar.  He also made White Chocolate Cranberry Croissant Bread Puddings (they are as decadent as they sound) and my favorite Chai Eggnog.  We all received a booklet with the recipes that were featured, and I know I’ll be incorporating many of them into my holiday cooking and baking.

blog-47_05Here is Chef Shufelt’s recipe, which you can serve with or without the rum.  The eggnog features a cooked custard base.

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blog-47_06Friday afternoon, I joined three of the chefs and other representatives from Taste Alberta to have a fireside chat with the attendees.  We talked about our farms and restaurants, and why purchasing local products is so important.  That discussion led to more talk about sustainability, and many people were interested in how farmers are improving the sustainability of their farms.  It was an enjoyable time connecting with consumers and the chefs that purchase our products to make innovative and delicious dishes.

I met so many wonderful people and made many new friends at the event, and felt infused with the Christmas spirit.