Trend to Try: Food and Drinks That Taste Like the Forest

Sun-baked pine, fragrant spruce, soft and fruity cedar—the aromas and flavours of the forest are inspiring chefs and bartenders.
 

Smoked Spruce Collins at Klein/Harris, photo by Tieran Green

Get a taste of nature at these spots.

Smoked Spruce Collins at Klein/Harris, Calgary

Chef James Waters and bartender Christina Mah aim for True North cuisine and cocktails at Klein/Harris. The flagship Smoked Spruce Collins shakes Parlour Gin from Alberta’s Eau Claire Distillery with citric acid, maple syrup and a spruce tip, for a “Canadiana” Tom Collins that’s then smoked with maple wood before serving.

Tofu sorbet with wood ants at Flat Three

Tofu sorbet with wood ants at Flat Three, London, UK

Nature is always on the menu here, whether in the form of a lentil dish containing dew plant or a beet dish with sesame leaf and black currants. For entomology-inspired dining, order the tofu sorbet with wood ants. Head chef Pavel Kanja sources the insects from a forager in Kent and adds them raw to the dessert. The ants’ formic acid imparts a lemon-like taste that enhances the sweet flavour of the sorbet.

Alpine Hippie Juice at MiniBar

Alpine Hippie Juice at MiniBar, Los Angeles

This LA spot strives to challenge taste buds with unexpected flavours, and it definitely succeeds with Alpine Hippie Juice, a cocktail that showcases Zirbenz Pine Liqueur, made from a rare pine fruit found in the Swiss Alps, as an accent flavour alongside cassis, lime and soda water. The pine adds a tart dryness, for a unique taste.

Birch Bark cocktail at Manoir Hovey

Birch Bark cocktails at Manoir Hovey, North Hatley, Que.

Mixologist Warren Long wanted to create a tipple that represented the woods surrounding this Relais & Chateaux hotel. He started by infusing vodka with foraged spruce buds for a base with the flavour of a freshly snapped twig. He then added lemon juice for tartness and house-made beet shrub for a sweet earthy flavour. Finally, when preparing each Birch Bark cocktail, he smokes a coupe glass with birch bark to give it a smoky essence.

Beef pemmican at Red Fox Club, photo by Andrea Callan

Beef pemmican at Red Fox Club, Kelowna, B.C.

Modern Indigenous cuisine is on the menu at this restaurant, located inside Kelowna’s Indigenous World Winery. “We believe that farm-to-table is essentially aboriginal… using what is naturally grown here,” says chef de cuisine Andrea Callan. Don’t miss the beef pemmican, which is beef jerky that has been pounded with pickled spruce tips, haskap berries, wild sage, peppercorns and dried blueberries.

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