12.25.22 | Wine & Food Events

Devour! The Food Film Fest: A Full Sensory Experience

"Devour! The Food Film Fest held in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada is an annual international food-film festival event that the late Anthony Bourdain attended, along with so many other celebrity chefs from Canada and around the world. Get Somm perspective from a first timer, foodie, sommelier and wine writer.

Devour! The Food Film Fest: <strong>A Full Sensory Experience</strong>

Learning to eat is learning to become human.

-Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (M.F.K Fisher, American Food Writer)
Image property of “The Art of Eating: The Life of M.F.K Fisher”.

As I sit in reflection beside a whimsical glowing Christmas tree with a glass of bubbly, half full, I can’t help but smile while reminiscing over an incredibly eventful year— while simultaneously in disbelief that 2022 is coming to a close. Since in-person events have resumed in full swing again, it’s almost overwhelming to choose where to go and what to do next in the pending new year. There is, however, one very special east coast Canadian food-film festival you should absolutely consider putting on your 2023 bucket list: Devour! The Food Film Fest, held every year in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada is a must for diehard foodies near and far. You’ll find yourself immersed in a mecca of food and agro-centric films, masterclass-worthy culinary workshops while engaging in paramount conversations when it comes to global food resources and sustainability. The dates for Devour! 2023 have already been announced, so mark your calendars, book your flights and reserve hotels, now! Accommodations fill up quickly in this vibrant and charming Acadian heritage region. Food Network TV personality and host Chef Bob Blumer proudly declares that he clears his schedule for the highly anticipated annual event, and you should too. The thing is, once you get your first taste, you’ll never want to miss it!

Devour!, heading into its 13th year come the new year, will be showcasing French cuisine and culture for its 2023 edition including a North American tribute to its Acadian and Cajun roots from Nova Scotia to Louisiana.* It is a world renowned food film festival that the late and great Anthony Bourdain attended along with so many more celebrity chefs who’ve participated in previous festivals. Founder Chef Michael Howell, former co-chair of Slow Food Canada will likely greet you with a smile upon entrance and a hearty east coast welcome into his home province, where he and his team work tirelessly year round to bring the festival to life. Besides screenings of numerous independent food documentaries, short and long films, including a specially curated handful of animated ones too. There’s literally something for the whole family to enjoy surrounding the subject of nourishment.

 “The Future Of Food”, coined 2022’s title and heavily themed around plant-based cinema, took on poignant topics of local and global food sustainability, climate change, and new resources including unconventional ways of “growing meat” from beef cells. Side note, if you want to see the latest and greatest innovations towards new sustainable meat sources, put “Meat The Future” on your “watch right now” list. While you’re at it, add “Toxic Puzzle” by film director Bo Landon to that list. The eye-opening doc provides interesting research conducted by biochemist Dr. Paul Cox and his exhaustive global research and provocative evidence suggesting a strong correlation between Blue-green algae and the neurodegenerative diseases ALS, Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Oh, and P.S. I’ve never cried so hard in a theatre! You may do the same after watching “Lemon Poppyseed Cake”, a dramatic film about two sisters who inherit their late grandmother’s bakery in Mallorca. (I shamelessly dry heaved uncontrollably as the credits rolled up for the finale.) Note: there were 55 films screened in one week. Experienced film festival organizer, managing director and food writer Lia Rinaldo encourages “you should see as many films as you can while they are available.” You don’t know what you’ll discover if you don’t go and see the film!

“If you do the same thing over and over again; you’ll eventually go crazy.”

Charlie Trotter, quote from “Love, Charlie: The Rise And Fall of Charlie Trotter The Spotlight Gala feature film screened at the 2022 edition of Devour !

There’s not just food focused film and documentary features throughout the week-long festival, albeit— arguably the highlight of the event, but plenty of educational culinary musings for adults and youth too. Food workshops and cooking demos led by celebrity chefs (who will sign your new cookbooks available for purchase at the festival), local biocyclic and organic wine seminars, bourbon lunches, chowder smackdowns, not to mention the sold out celebrity chef led gala dinners expedited with the help of local community college NSCC culinary students are just a few noteworthy activities to indulge in. Devour fresh local street food prepared by chefs-in-training at NSCC and meet new people from all over the world while you strike up meaningful conversations and connections like ones surrounding the most basic human necessities and comforts: food.

“So it happens that when I write of hunger, I’m really writing about love and the hunger for it….And warmth and the richness and the fine reality satisfied. It is all one.”

M.F.K Fisher from “The Art Of Eating: The Life of M.F.K Fisher” – An incredibly inspiring documentary film about the life of American food writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, produced by Gregory Bezat & Gary Meyer, screened en primeur at the 2022 edition of Devour!

The opening film, “Sorry, We’re Closed” screened at the 2022 festival takes a stark look at the reality of the pandemic, the mental exhaustion of it all and what it has done to so many chef owners and restaurateurs’ small, medium and large operations across North America who were forced to surrender to lockdown after lockdown. Riddled with fear and anxiety of the unknown, many of them never dreamed they’d be forced to think outside of the box for basic revenue streams out of necessity, when everything they were doing was “simply not enough to survive.” A nod to the industry, and much needed acknowledgement to the hospitality professionals (and front line workers) who’ve endured nothing but a rocky ride with so many disruptions to their services since March 2020. A must-see documentary film that touches on politics of the Corona virus, and how it affected restaurants in America. Hosted by celebrity and Top Chef Master, Elizabeth Faulkner; produced by filmmaker Peter Ferriero.

“As long as we have to eat to live, we might as well have fun doing it.”

M.F.K Fisher

One of my favourite workshops throughout the festival (besides the wine & cocktail seminars, of course!) remains the foraging excursion led by owners Tara and chef Sean Laceby of Gourmet By Nature. It is truly an amazing experience! On a crystal clear sunny crisp autumn day, we walked together along the shores of Baxters Harbour and wandered into the forest to learn about some of the different edible (and inedible) native species of plants and mushrooms available to forage in the area. We chowed down on chef Sean’s plant based chowder, primarily corn, all of course prepared with fresh local ingredients as we sipped comforting locally foraged mushroom chaga tea in the forest beside a fire pit, warming our bellies and— soothing our souls.

Along with a ton of volunteer help (which it simply could not function nor operate without), festivals like these are always in need of additional financial support for maintenance and growth. For ways you can support the festival, learn more here.


Devour is scheduled to run October 23rd – 29th  https://devourfest.com/Follow their website and social media for 2023 event details and tickets.

*To get you in the mood for Devour 2023, here’s a great read on The history of French-Acadian cuisine.

If you’re a foodie film fan, check out my new favourite read: Eat.Drink.Films – a blog hosted by filmmaker and co-producer of “The Art of Eating”, Gary Meyer.

For The Sommelier & Beverage Guru In You:

Here’s a short list of Nova Scotia wineries, specialty wine shops, craft breweries & cideries to check out who participated in 2022:


Taste of Nova Scotia  a government funded online resource of everything local Nova Scotia, featuring delicious local events, culinary news and locally inspired recipes around the province.

Nourish Nova Scotia a non profit organization, and proud sponsor that ensures children get the proper nourishment they need in school and beyond

Edible Maritimes – a devour-worthy publication that gets to the heart of the locals behind the local farming, agriculture and foodie based businesses and more across Atlantic Canada’s region. 

View full list of Devour! partners & sponsors

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