I believe the heart and soul of a city is best revealed through its culinary landscape. Food evokes passion, which breaks down barriers, incites real conversation and creates authentic connections. Embracing this philosophy, I joined one of Canmore Food Tours’ guided wine and dine walks. This quaint mountain town in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies is just 40 minutes west of my home in Calgary and I’ve indulged in its eclectic dining scene many times. However, to truly understand the spirit of a community, you must first break bread with the locals.
Cultural, Historical & Culinary Delights
The Canmore Tasting Trail is a four-hour culinary exploration. Comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate outerwear, a voracious appetite and sense of adventure are the only prerequisites. We gathered for the tour in downtown Canmore – our small group brought together by a shared love of exceptional food. Before introductions even began, we were munching on Communitea Café’s mountain veggie wraps, stuffed with hummus, avocado and a rainbow of veggies – care of our guide Barbara, who joyfully announced that “on this food tour, eating takes priority.” I immediately regretted having breakfast that morning. Wraps in hand we embarked on our journey. While Barbara regaled us with stories of Canmore’s first settlers, prominent artists and beloved Olympians, we admired the town’s public art and spectacular views of the iconic Three Sisters peaks.
Farm Fresh & Forno Fired
Within moments of arriving at our second stop – Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. – we had a glass of wine in hand and were dining on pizza and salad, family style. Over lunch, we learned that many of the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced locally from the town’s Alpine Edible Schoolyards program. This amazing urban farming initiative, funded in part by the restaurant’s Education Society, provides Canmore students with practical growing and food production experience. I was pleased to discover that supporting local and seasonal food sources is a reoccurring theme throughout the tour.
In fact, connecting people to their food in a fun and engaging way is of the utmost importance to Karen Anderson – founder of Canmore Food Tours, and its parent company Alberta Food Tours, which also operates in Calgary and Edmonton. This means that whether you’re tasting your way through a hot new culinary-focused neighbourhood with a city food editor, or meeting growers at a century-old outdoor market alongside a local celebrity chef, you’re guaranteed to leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation for quality food and the people who have committed their lives to producing it.
Wine, Dine, Walk, Repeat
After devouring my second slice of Rocky Mountain’s aptly named Farmers Market pizza –
generously topped with organic tomato sauce, fresh seasonal vegetables and artisan goat cheese – we were off for a tasting at Canmore Wine Merchants. The remainder of our tour took on a similarly relaxed pace. In total, we indulged at seven of Canmore’s finest culinary establishments, sampling everything from Alberta’s famous AAA steak cooked Brazilian style at El Gaucho, to organic hand-rolled gluten free goji cocoa balls, care of Carole Beaton of An Edible Life – who was recently named as the Rocky Mountain Outlook’s Best Entrepreneur in Canmore. The local knowledge imparted by our guide and the many talented business owners we met along the tour has strengthened my connection with Canmore. I’m thinking the tours in Edmonton and Calgary are next on my list! My taste buds are already quivering in anticipation.