Alberta is famous for its beef – and there’s lots of that – but you may also want to try our local cheeses and pies, hand crafted sausages, field berries and fresh veggies, too. Eat out at a farm-to-table restaurant, take a cooking class, go on a food tour or visit a market to meet farmers, chefs and local food-makers – there might also be some wine involved if that sweetens the deal. Here are five ways to discover the best of Edmonton’s food.
Food Walks and Market Shops
Go with a guide on a food walk through one of the city’s bustling farmer’s markets. Gail Hall, owner of Seasoned Solutions Cooking Loft, gives daylong market tours followed by a hands-on cooking class (followed by wine). She’ll introduce you to local food producers at the century-old downtown market on 104 Street, then teach you to make tasty full-course meals with everything you just bought.
Before Christmas, I took Gail’s two-hour express demonstration class in her warm brick warehouse loft overlooking the street, where she showed us how to use local ingredients to make party appetizers. She laughs and hugs frequently and her enthusiasm for local food and farmers is totally contagious. As she cooked, she told stories about travelling and eating around the province and world, while we snacked and sipped on homemade eggnog.
She also runs multi-day summer tours into Edmonton’s countryside to take cooking classes and artisanal cheese-making workshops, tour wineries, breweries and bison farms, with brunch at a honeybee garden.
Cook up a Class
Grab your best eight friends for a custom cooking class at Kitchen by Brad Smoliak. You pick the theme – Italian and Ukrainian are popular choices – and he’s even up for a Segway tour through the river valley, if you’re game. His regular classes feature local seasonal foods, global dishes and wine-maker talks – while you watch, sip and taste in the modern private kitchen space.
Eating on the Farm
Prairie Gardens is a working farm, 45 minutes north of Edmonton, with a petting zoo, greenhouse, gem mine and ice cream. Pick a bucket of strawberries from the field or try the corn maze – then sit down to a local chef-prepared dinner in the rolling field. The farm’s popular field-to-fork long table dinners are prepared on the farm by RGE RD, one of the city’s top rated restaurants, using the food that grows right where you’re eating it.
Here in festival city, we throw parties for everything – especially for food! Heritage Days on August long weekend celebrates food from 85 cultures around the world – and Taste of Edmonton is a hot summer food festival with the best chefs and food trucks in our downtown city hall square. During the festival, join a series of culinary adventures that take you out to the country markets and growing farm fields.
Top Restaurants Cook Local
Edmontonians love to dine out, so you’ll eat well when you’re here. Many restaurants have embraced a farm-to-table attitude and added seasonal items to their menus – but you’ll also find food inspired by cultures from around the globe. The city’s best restaurants serve Italian, French, Mexican, South Asian and Japanese food – and of course sizzling burgers and steaks. And keep your eye out for the independent food trucks that serve gourmet everything to go – from mac and cheese and buttermilk fried chicken to vegan Reuben sandwiches and creamy curry poutine.