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Alberta’s Culinary Scene by Season

FALL

Tap Your Inner Scarecrow and Celebrate Harvests Here
Harvest time in the Prairies is a cultural, culinary and communal high point of the year. Throughout the province, a pop-up party atmosphere pervades as seasons shift from summer to fall. Explore and discover threshing bees, herb drying, feather stripping, wheat grinding and flavourful samples from heritage gardens. Country Fair lovers won’t want to miss the Great White North Pumpkin Fair and Weigh-Off in Smoky Lake for its mammoth-pumpkin competition.

WINTER

Bundle Up for Bundles of Culinary Travel Fun
Hibernation has its merits. But visiting food lovers are advised to leave hibernation to the bears and brave the elements for unforgettable opportunities to eat and drink, inside and out. The mountains make most sense for winter culinary adventures from top restaurants in resort towns of Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore – or poured from a thermos pulled from a backpack at the end of a gondola ride or mountain traverse. Winter culinary fun can also be found on the banks of frozen lakes and rivers where locals don their skates and put fire pits to use into the night (marshmallows and hot chocolate do count as culinary goodness, especially when there is a local twist). Scout artisanal marshmallows by Paul Jones (aka the Mallow Fellow), who makes 20 different flavours from scratch like Cherry Bomb, Mint Chocolate Chip, Maple Bacon Apple and Neapolitan.

SPRING

Forage, Foray and Feast in Good Health
What Alberta’s growing season lacks in length – it gains in variety. Simple foods shine in spring as the season’s best ingredients are healthy, light and sustainable. Pack yourself a picnic to enjoy on a day trip to Alberta’s famed World Heritage Sites or stop in the city where patio sunshades burst open like spring flowers. Order a pint (Alberta is known for its malt barley harvests and resulting superb craft beer) and balance your indulgence with spring vegetables. Did you know that artichokes grow in the Prairies? Or that foraging for mushrooms is a growing hobby in Alberta? Foray for morels in May amid the poplars and aspens. Or if you find yourself in loftier elevations, search by the conifers when the early blue violets and saskatoons come into bloom. Restaurants in synch with the seasons are sure to feature locally grown goodness as a rite of spring.

SUMMER

Savour the Long Days of Summer
With longer daylight hours and notoriously big, bright Alberta skies, summer is the season to freewheel through rural byways, discover local flavours in lively urban neighbourhoods, strike festivals and events off your to-do list, try new restaurants and enjoy the parks and attractions. Superb spreads await – whichever path you pick.