Food has forever inspired travel to faraway places, but the farm-to-table movement has created plenty of food-focused adventures closer to home, too. Here are four Southern Alberta food producers and where to sample their tasty goods.
White Gold Cheese Factory, Calgary
Italy is transplanted into Alberta at this small Italian-owned factory where master cheese-makers produce fresh and aged cheeses made with all-natural Canadian milk in northeast Calgary. If you’re going for a tour, be sure to bring your wellies to wear through the milky water splish-splashing around as you sample warm burrata.
Get a taste: Try the tomato salad with White Gold fior di latte at Il Sogno, an Italian-inspired restaurant inside a 100-year-old building in Bridgeland. In the same neighbourhood, the Black Pig Bistro offers the fior di latte as a starter with a side of crostini.
Chinook Honey Company, Okotoks
Passionate owners Art and Cherie Andrews guide you through their Okotoks honey farm amidst the backdrop of the Rockies and vast Alberta fields. Bring the kids for some bee education while you sip dry to sweet meads at Alberta’s first honey winery. Afterward, browse the store for handmade candles, lotions and a variety of other honey products.
Get a taste: Opt for the wild boar with smoked Chinook honey at Farm on 17th Avenue or head to Catch and The Oyster Bar on Stephen Avenue for oysters with their Showstopper Hot Sauce, which uses Chinook honey.
Highwood Crossing, High River
This rural Alberta farm has been in the family for over 100 years. Owners Tony and Penny Marshall have been growing their own fertilizer and using traditional, sustainable farming methods since 1989. Their factory in High River makes organic, nut- and peanut-free and gluten-free products including oils, flour and granola. Their cold-pressed canola and flaxseed oils are simply pressed, left to settle naturally, bottled and sold for their bold, forward taste—perfect as a finishing oil or salad dressing.
Get a taste: Take a walk through Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary to the award-winning River Café and try the red lentil hummus paired with Highwood Crossing canola seed flatbread.
Eau Claire Distillery, Turner Valley
Alberta’s first independent craft distillery farms and directly sources local grains and botanicals like Saskatoon berry, juniper and coriander for hand-crafted gin and vodka (and rye whisky to come). Custom-made German machinery in their small-town factory—a 1920s-era movie theatre—creates smooth, expertly measured libations. Starting at the end of November, tour the distillery, learn about prohibition in Alberta and enjoy the fruits of their labor in the tasting room.
Get a taste: Quench your thirst at the famous Charcut Roast House downtown with a Charcut Crafted Tonic made with Eau Claire Parlour Gin, soda water and homemade tonic syrup.
The Anatomy of a Canadian Festival
From St. John’s to Whistler, Canada’s festivals are as diverse as its landscapes, but there are four traits you’ll find at many of the country’s most beloved events, including the Calgary Stampede, the George Street Festival in St. John's and Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I.