Alberta for foodies
By Laura Gelder | May 2019 | 3 minute read
This vast, fertile province yields much of Canada's finest produce and its farm-to-fork ethos attracts exciting chefs. We outline why Alberta is a foodie's dream.
Why sell it?
Alberta has a flourishing culinary scene with award-winning restaurants and top chefs. Calgary’s Chef Justin Leboe claims responsibility for two of the best restaurants – not just in the province, but the country: Model Milk, housed in a former 1930s' dairy and serving locally-sourced lamb, pork and trout, and Pigeonhole, offering inventive dishes like ricotta dumplings and a Russian caviar service.
There’s a strong focus on high-quality home-grown produce in Alberta, from its famous beef to Saskatoon berries; honey to hops; artisan cheese to grains galore. Agriculture is big business and within 100 miles of Calgary and Edmonton there are farms supplying restaurants with fresh meat including cattle, bison, elk, and even ostrich. Visitors can get a taste for the local scene by visiting one of the local farmers’ markets.
Always a place for experimentation, Canada’s most popular brunch cocktail, the Bloody Caesar, was invented at Calgary’s Westin Hotel in 1969.
What to sell
In the province’s biggest cities visitors will be spoilt for choice with restaurants. Alberta's multicultural population and strong history of immigration is reflected in its array of cuisines. You'll find top-notch Ukrainian pierogies and other dishes from the city’s Italian, German, Asian, English, Norwegian, and Finnish descendants.
Alberta’s brewing scene is thriving, with 80 independent craft breweries. There’s Trolley 5 in Calgary, Town Square Brewing in Edmonton, The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company in Canmore, Jasper Brewing Company and Banff Avenue Brewing Company, to name a few. Many of these have their own brew pubs or tasting rooms and offer tours.
Eau Claire Distillery near Calgary kicked off a boom in the province’s craft distillery scene – now numbering more than 20 small-batch distilleries, all focusing on grains and ingredients from Alberta. Top spots are Park Distillery in Banff – the only distillery within a national park in Canada – or Rig Hand Craft Distillery near Edmonton to taste its Sour Cherry Vodka made from tart Evans Cherries, native to Alberta.
When to sell it
For 30 years, the Taste of Edmonton festival (July 18-28, 2019) has gathered foodies into the heart of the city to try the best food and drinks with a side of toe-tapping music and 20-year-old Taste of Calgary (August 8-11, 2019) has a similar set-up, with local craft beers and tasty bites from popular eateries.
In Edmonton, Uccellino is a new venture from chef Daniel Costa, a chic-yet-casual Italian downtown; bündok in the Ice District prides itself on seasonal small plates; and Biera (biera.ca) pairs Euro bistro food with fine beers.
Calgary's Bridgette Bar in the Design District boasts a cool mid-century look with modern dishes and cocktails, and Gorilla Whale serves yakitori, ramen and burgers and says it's a ‘loud, fun, rock ‘n’ roll lovin’ Japanese-ish restaurant'.
Jasper Food Tours' 'Peak-Nic' pairs a scenic hike with a back country cooking lesson and meal outdoors.
Alberta Food Tours operates in Calgary, Banff, Canmore and Edmonton. Tours include Calgary’s Farmers’ Market, the brunch spots and bakeries of Edmonton’s Strathcona, a Canmore food trail and a luxury food and drink pairing at Fairmont Banff Springs – 'Eat the Castle'.