Alberta is a growing foodie destination in the eyes of outsiders, but those who live here have long known how its geography, culture and people have conspired to make irresistible food for generations. Two of those Albertans Karen Anderson and Matilde Sanchez-Turri recently spent months exploring the province and the people who make it delicious. The result is their newly released book Food Artisans of Alberta: Your Trail Guide to the Best of our Locally Crafted Fare.
We asked Anderson and Sanchez-Turri to share some insight from their research to make your trip to Alberta a little tastier.
1. Beef: We have as many cattle as people. They thrive on our lush grasslands and our chefs cook it to perfection.
2. Bison: They’ve been here 120,000 years and have developed with the land, so they are the quintessential taste of this place.
3. Saskatoon berries: the indigenous people ate Saskatoons fresh, made teas and dried them with bison as their winter food, pemmican.
4. Canola: These golden fields of flowers yield a heart-healthy oil. We like the cold-pressed organic version.
5. Honey: We are the fifth largest honey-producing region in the world, with 18-million kilograms (40 million pounds) harvested annually.
6. Root vegetables: Cold fall nights cause the plant’s sugars to concentrate, so root vegetables taste sweeter here.
7. Red Fife wheat: The first wheat to grow well in Alberta; it sustained our pioneers and we continue to enjoy it in toothsome loaves of sourdough bread.
8. Mustard: Until recently, we shipped these seeds to France to be made into Dijon. Now, Alberta food entrepreneurs are producing jars of this kitchen staple here.
9. Pulses: Peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils do very well in key areas of the province.
10. Spirits, craft beer, mead and fruit wine: Our micro distilleries, breweries, meaderies and fruit wineries are being recognized across the globe for their excellence.
Watch how Alberta chefs use Saskatoon berries, one of Alberta's signature foods, in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury.
Canmore: Valbella Gourmet Meats. This 40-year-old family owned business offers cheeses, breads, charcuterie and meats cured in the fresh mountain air.
Calgary: The Calgary Farmers’ Market. Open Thursday through Sunday, it has a variety of fresh local produce and meat available.
Three Hills: Farm Basket. Year-round access to local.
Lethbridge: Exhibition Park Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from May to October.
Did you know that Alberta produces 60 per cent of Canada's honey? Watch as chefs use the local sweetness in their cooking.
The annual Honey Festival in Fahler, Taste of Edmonton at Capital Plaza in Edmonton, Markerville’s annual long table dinner, the Calgary Stampede’s hundreds of free community pancake breakfasts, Canmore Uncorked Food and Drink Festival, Banff’s Cochon555, Medicine Hat’s Sunshine Skillet Festival, Aspen Crossing’s food themed prairie train excursions, Taber Corn Festival, and the Sunset Sake Experience at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge.
Anderson: Bison tenderloin with roasted root vegetables and a big slice of sour cherry pie to finish.
Sanchez-Turri: Pan-fried rainbow trout with Athabasca wild rice pilaf and a Saskatoon berry butter tart.
Alberta chefs call bison the perfect protein. Learn how they're using this healthy meat into delicious dishes.