Something I look forward to each year are getaways to the mountains—particularly, to Jasper, Alberta!
Mike and I do weekend visits to Jasper 2-3 times a year, and one of those visits is typically for a wonderful annual event called Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (see my previous blog posts about the event here!)
Christmas in November is just one of the many incredible (and delicious) events the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge puts on throughout the year and they’ve got a brand new one they’re doing now—Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival—that I was fortunate enough to experience this March (2018)!
Disclaimer: I was an invited media guest at the 2018 Devour! The Food Film Festival. My festival package was complimentary in exchange for sharing my honest experience through social media.
Devour! The Food Film Festival actually started back in 2009 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, as a way to celebrate food and film, and in particular, showcase films that were food-focused. Since then, it’s grown from 1,000 to 11,000 attendees, with 14 events worldwide.
All of the events include a lot of food, a lot of wine, and really great, curated food films.
Another cool feature of the festival is that a lot of the food that attendees get to eat is inspired by the films!
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is the first to host a Devour spin-off event in Alberta, something they thought could work really well here given how successful Christmas in November is each year.
And they were totally right.
They capped attendance for the first-ever Devour! festival at 100 and were sold out.
There was a lot of interest for this awesome event and here’s why!!
What happens at Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival
Your package (starting at $449 per person) includes unlimited food and drinks at the various festival activities PLUS your accommodations at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Friday through Sunday!
Cabin Crawl Anyone?
On the first night of Devour, there’s a welcome/wine reception followed by a three+ hour CABIN CRAWL!
We split into three groups and visited three themed cabins: the Meat Rave at Point Cabin, the apres-ski Royal Retreat at Outlook Cabin, and the East Coast Seafood Party at Gardener Cabin!
— Linda Hoang ? (@lindork) March 3, 2018
You get unlimited food and drinks at each cabin, from Alberta-based breweries and distilleries, and extremely talented chefs, and there’s live music/entertainment.
Final stop on the @FairmontJPL @devourfest Cabin Crawl— the Seafood Cabin! ???? @ChefMHowell & JPL @chafe_chef have put together a wicked spread. #DevourTheCanadianRockies #eatitup #myjasper pic.twitter.com/UlScjwsSD3
— Linda Hoang ? (@lindork) March 3, 2018
The chef line-up for the first-ever Devour! the Canadian Rockies included Calgary Chefs Connie DeSousa and John Jackson from CHARCUT/charbar, Rouge Calgary’s Chef Paul Rogalski, Chef Michael Howell from Wolfville (founder of the original Devour!), Chef Christopher Chafe of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Edmonton’s Chef Blair Lebsack of RGE RD!
The impressive drinks line-up included Folding Mountain Brewing, Brewsters, Jasper Brewing, Banff Ave. Brewing Co, Park Distillery, Gray Monk Estate Winery, Red Rooster Winery, Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery, Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Sandhill Wines, Benjamin Bridge, Delegat, and Peller Estates.
The Cabin Crawl was SO much fun. Each cabin had something delicious to offer. Each one had really fun entertainment. People were enjoying themselves so much, it was such a fun vibe (especially the MEAT RAVE! Which literally was like a dance party where you stuff your face with meat in between dance moves).
After the first night crawl (if you’re up for it), there’s even MORE drinks you can have outside with s’mores while you star gaze!
Did you know Jasper National Park is one of the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserves? That night was a bit chilly, but the hot chocolate and fire pit definitely helped.
Chili Smackdown + Gala Dinner
On Saturday, you get some free time to enjoy the grounds in the morning (and probably sleep off all the food and drinks you had with the late night before lol) before heading to the ‘Chili Cookoff Smackdown!’ for lunch, where all five featured chefs serve up their creative chili.
YOU GET UNLIMITED CHILI!
You also get to continue sampling a bunch of drinks from those Alberta breweries and distilleries! And by the end of the smackdown, vote for your favourite chili so a chef can win bragging rights.
I thought the format of the cookoff was really great—each chef had their own chili serving station (same with the drinks) that you could go up to at your own pace. It was nice and casual, and you could have as much or as little as you wanted.
The types of chili was also really creative! There was chili-in-a-bag from Chef Connie and John, a lentil and farro chili from Chef Blair, a Scottish lamb and scallop potatoes chili from Chef Paul, a Mexican Mole chili from Chef Howell, and a Butter Chicken Chili from Chef Chafe!
These chilis were delicious. It was hard for me to pick my favourites (they were all good). The Butter Chicken Chili ended up winning, but I really could not get enough of the Scottish lamb and lentil chilis—SO GOOD!!!
After the Chili Cookoff Smackdown, was a an Afternoon of Wine, a super generous wine tasting with Benjamin Bridge and Peller Estates. Mike says he can’t remember much from the wine tasting so… I think that means it was really good (he went to enjoy it while I took a nap, lol).
Later that night we got all dressed up for a Wine Reception (again, more complimentary wine!) before we headed into the Beauvert Ballroom for the Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival Gala Dinner.
This dinner was six courses, paired with some of Canada’s best wines, and inspired by curated food films!
Each chef and vintner (wine merchants!) came out before each of their courses to describe how their creation or the selected wine related back to the accompanying film.
The films are short (2-5ish minutes), and most of them quite moving. All of them were mesmerizing. Food photography and videography is truly something else. For appreciators of food, this is a really unique dining film and experience.
Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles
— Sharman Hnatiuk (@ThePorkGirl) March 4, 2018
On the final day of Devour! you’re treated to a ‘Bubbles Brunch’ (even mooooore drinks! brunch and sweets) before this wonderful weekend getaway wraps up.
Why you should go to Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival
There are a few reasons why we really enjoyed this festival, and have been recommending it to our friends and family ever since we got back:
- The amount of unlimited food and drinks you get!
- The included cost of accommodations at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
- The super fun cabin crawl, which was had just the coolest vibes.
- The casual and slightly more intimate feel, compared to something like Christmas in November (which is HUGE!) At Devour! you can have a lot of one-on-one face-time with these incredibly talented chefs.
- That it’s not too jam-packed a schedule, so you’ve got time to explore and enjoy the rest of the wonderful Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge grounds (see more photos of us enjoying the grounds below!)
- The JPL is pet-friendly so if you want to bring your furry friend with you (like us! We brought Olive), you can!
- And the fact that you likely won’t ever go to an event quite like this anywhere else (well, unless you go to the actual Devour festival in Wolfville lol, which is a WAY bigger festival, and features a ton of celebrity chefs!) You can go to a film festival and there might be food and drinks there, but where else can you go to a film festival where the food and drinks are inspired by the film—which are inspired by FOOD!
As someone who has been to (and LOVED) Christmas in November, going to something like Devour! was an interesting comparison. I do absolutely love Christmas in November, but the vibe of Devour is so different, more casual, less intensive programming, and really a fraction of the cost of CIN, which makes it an event that I think could be a way bigger sell to people than Christmas in November might be.
Honestly, not that Christmas in November has any trouble selling, but I could see something like Devour being a way easier entry for people. We were talking to Mike’s parents about it and they were intrigued. We were talking to Mike’s friend Chaney about it and he was intrigued (wait, unlimited food and drinks at that price? Yeah!)
If you consider the sheer amount of food and drinks you get, and the fact that the last-minute rate for some of the rooms at the JPL can be up to $600 per night, a $449 cost for 3 festival days / unlimited food and drinks / activities / Gala Dinner / entertainment / and accommodations, is really a wicked deal.
It’s a great addition to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s line-up of culinary-themed events, and a great win for Alberta—that we can be host to one of these satellite Devour! events and be part of this growing global festival. Mike and I had so much fun!!
Save the date in your calendar for next year!
The inaugural Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival was a big success and will return.
Be sure to save the date (that first weekend of March) and plan for this delicious weekend getaway at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge!
Below are a just a few more winter getaway photos from our JPL Devour! trip!
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Disclaimer: I will always provide my 100% honest opinion on this blog. I was invited to attend Devour! The Food Film Fest at the Fairmont Jasper Lodge as a media guest, getting a firsthand experience of the inaugural Canadian Rockies version of the event. This has no impact on opinions stated in this post.