Out here in Alberta when the snow starts to fly, we love to hunker down and get creative with locally grown and raised ingredients. We’re talking rich, hearty comfort food – big steamy pots of chilli, beef and barley soup, stick-to-your-ribs stews, baked beans, piles of creamy mashed potatoes and sweet roasted root vegetables.
It’s the perfect way to end a day of skiing or any other winter adventure and fuel you for the next one exploring the great outdoors. So come on in from the cold, leave your snowy boots and mitts drying by the door and tuck into a hot, comforting meal that will warm you to the core.
The Alberta Pantry
When friends visit, and I want to pull out all of the stops, I look to Alberta’s farmers for the ingredients needed – from luscious loaves of bread and a fondue pot of bubbling cheese to a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Want a big juicy steak or some smoky BBQ ribs? We raise the best beef in the country and have some serious steak houses. Looking to go a little wild? Try bison tenderloin, a rare venison chop with forest mushrooms, elk sausages or an ostrich burger.
Of course we must give some love to the side dishes as well. Potatoes, beets, cabbage and other winter storage crops are grown in Alberta and our local farmer’s markets are the best place to stock up. And be sure to keep your fork after the main course is done because there’s always pie – tangy rhubarb and big flakey apple pies, pumpkin for harvest holidays, and of course, the truly local Saskatoon pie, a genuine Alberta treat.
Internationally Inspired and Locally Sourced
Our chefs also love to dig into the local pantry and embrace the farm-to-fork mantra, preserving prairie fruits, creating condiments like grainy local mustard, and forging relationships with farmers who deliver organically raised meats and produce directly to their kitchens.
Alberta’s First Nations, our longstanding ranching history and our waves of European and Asian immigrants inspire the province’s varied cuisine. From Ukrainian settlers we get our taste for hearty beet and cabbage borscht and everyone’s favourite – perogies. Whether you want them stuffed with truffled potatoes in a high-end Edmonton restaurant, or pinched by a grandmother in a church basement, we have the real deal when it comes to authentic Eastern European specialties. The Germans and French taught us to love sausages with sauerkraut. British traditions call for corned beef and cabbage, beefy stews or baked pork and beans, and we’re forever grateful to the Swiss for their cheese and chocolate.
From a community harvest supper to your favourite restaurant’s Sunday menu, sharing food is part of our culture. So whether your winter fun is defined by rosy cheeks and ski slopes, or a top table next to a crackling fire, make your contentment complete with some local, casual and truly comforting cuisine.