BANFF – After a few years away due to the pandemic, the Made With Love Banff Food and Cocktail Festival is ready to delight tastebuds and showcase local chefs, bartenders and restaurants.
“Our vision is we want to showcase the Banff cocktail and culinary culture to industry workers as well as the general public,” said Pierre-Olivier Trempe, founder of Made With Love. “Bartenders are working on creating this cocktail menu for this event. People will have the opportunity to go to these places and enjoy these cocktails created for the event.”
The event runs from April 10 to 23, with creative food and cocktail pairings featured on special menus in more than 25 hotels, bars and restaurants. These menu items feature ingredients inspired by the Banff and Lake Louise region.
From April 21 to 22, between 1-8 p.m., an outdoor food and cocktail festival will be held on Bear Street.
“We will close Bear Street and we have participating restaurants with booths – 20 in total,” Trempe said. “People can go enjoy the festival on Bear Street with dancing, fire pits, while enjoying cocktails and food.”
On April 23, from 1-8 p.m., a symposium will be held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. It will feature speakers Dale Degroff, one of the foremost cocktail experts in the world, and Philip Duff, owner of the award-winning Old Duff Genever brand.
The event has been running since 2009 when it first launched in Montreal by Trempe.
“I wanted to work with passionate people who showcased their excellence and extravagance around cocktail creations,” Trempe said. “I decided to create this cocktail competition. I wanted to give the opportunity to the public to taste the cocktails of the bartenders while they are competing.”
In 2019, Made With Love began to collaborate with Banff and Lake Louise Tourism to put on the festival in the community.
“Banff has been gaining momentum as a foodie destination and this event is a culmination of the incredible local culinary and mixology talent we have here,” said Janet Eger, vice president of Banff and Lake Louise Tourism.
In 2020 and 2021, the event could not be held due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, while in 2022 it was only a cocktail menu event without anything on Bear Street.
Now that it has returned, Trempe is seeing a lot of interest in the festival.
“There is a lot of excitement around the event,” Trempe said. “Everyone has heard about it. The fact that we had to stop for two years, makes it really more exciting to see something like this coming up.”
As for those who come out, Trempe hopes they are both entertained and educated.
“I hope people get different things. The first is entertainment, and also education,” Trempe said. “We want people to learn about different spirits, cocktails, cocktail culture, food and the different restaurants and bartenders and chefs in their region.”
Tickets for the Bear Street event can be purchased at www.madewithlovebanff.com.