CANMORE UNCORKED 2015 – DAY TWO
Luke Raymond Posted On: April 10 2015 Posted In: Canmore Uncorked
CANMORE UNCORKED 2015
Insider’s Blog Day 2: Thursday 9th
Cloning, Wow. There should be a list of people
who can and cannot clone themselves”
Today was a true test of my commitment to the festival – one of those days where cloning myself to be in two places at once would have been desperately useful. Though the quote above raises questions about whether I would qualify of course…
Another stunningly beautiful day in the mountains, and I got to start it with a drive to Kananaskis to do a presentation to the Economic Developers of Alberta Conference – co-incidentally on Canmore Uncorked as an example of positive economic development. Great subject matter (and REALLY easy to talk about with passion), great audience, and of course a beautiful drive that simply never gets boring. But then a tough decision to make; to stay in Kananaskis until my evening event or to head back to Canmore? OK not really that tough – we do have a rather good food festival underway…
Once again the inconvenience of having to work for a living got in the way and I couldn’t get free until after well lunch, so I thought I would focus on a couple of Uncorked Experiences. First up was a return trip toBlake – yes I know I was there yesterday for Gelato and already had the stamp, but he is doing a different tasting every day and I am a real sucker for oil and vinegar tasting which was on the menu for Thursday. On arrival there were NINE plates of oil to taste, with different styles and flavours from all over the world, each paired with a unique and delicious vinegar. My particular favourite was a balsamic glaze with lemon, but frankly I could have bought any of them – I have a feeling that this is going to start getting expensive! For the record, Blake’s Friday special is ‘mixology’ which apparently is WINE & CHOCOLATE PAIRING. There goes Friday afternoon then…
Now at the risk of going off on a tangent, there are a couple of really encouraging trends we are seeing in Canmore’s already remarkable food and beverage scene. One is the increase in what I will unimaginatively call ‘food manufacturing’ – businesses outside of the restaurant world who are producing foods for customers to take home, for use by other restaurants/caterers, and also for export outside of town. A couple of well established/well known examples are of course Le Chocolatier, Valbella Meats and Grizzly Paw Brewery, but over the past couple of years there seem to have been several new businesses start, grow and take on new premises – just a peek at the Uncorked Experiences section of the Uncorked brochure shows several great examples, including Cake Creations, Canmore Pasta Co, JK Bakery, Le Fournil, and Rave Coffee, all of whom will be tried in the coming days I promise.
To start I wanted to try An Edible Life – a relatively new business on Kananaskis Way that features ‘healthy, honest, ready-made meals that you only need to heat and eat’, which sounds like a pretty good idea in our frantically busy lives. A trip into the store will tell you much more than that – the food, which centres around soups, stews and smoothies is imaginative, delicious and actually extremely healthy. Carole the owner is a holistic nutritionist, and many of the food choices are gluten, dairy and nut free. When you meet her she is also one of those business owners you simply WANT to succeed, as she is pouring her heart into everything – I strongly encourage a trip out to the store to check it out. And if that doesn’t sell it enough, her Uncorked special is a bag of gluten, dairy and nut-free Goji Chocolate Balls, which are truly as addictive as advertised.
The other great trend we are seeing is that of partnership between the members of the F&B industry. An Edible Life partnering with Rave Coffee, UnWined partnering with Le Chocolatier, Canmore Organic Chef partnering with Pasta Co. etc. Wherever you go you are likely to find a collaboration between Canmore’s F&B partners – it is awesome to see and long may it continue. Today Canmore, tomorrow the world!
Next stop was Cake Creations on Bow Valley Trail. Now I will be honest here and say I am not a cupcake person – and never have been, much to the annoyance of my daughter – so the store has not previously been on my radar. Which is really the whole point of Uncorked in the first place – getting people into new places and learning what Canmore has to offer. Cake Creations’ Uncorked offer is 2 coffees (or teas) with 2 cupcakes for $10, which is an attractive deal – especially when you can sit on a comfy couch to enjoy it! The real attraction here though is the artistry at work in the store. As we arrived they were working on an order of 300 (yes, three hundred) gold-painted cupcakes for a wedding, and decorating was in full swing – which was totally worth the visit on its own. And yes, the cupcakes (which in my case was also gluten & dairy-free) were delicious.
Finally it was back to Kananaskis where I had an evening conference event, but with a Canmore Uncorked twist. Now as I mentioned earlier I never get bored of that drive, and on a blue-sky day like today it was simply beautiful, and the added bonus was that the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis has JOINED CANMORE UNCORKED for 2015 so I was headed to dinner! This is great because the Delta has some fabulous restaurants – Seasons for example being a simply outstanding steakhouse – and the chefs are highly creative. My meal was splendid, a watercress salad with blistered grapes and candied boar bacon, followed by a bison & venison meatloaf (which I shamelessly chose over the cedar plank salmon), followed by roasted pear bavarois – which I actually felt guilty eating because of the artistry involved in the ‘deconstructed’ presentation.
So with 8 stamps in the passport I figured it was time to call it day. The drive back to Canmore was in the day, but the lack of scenery was more than compensated for by the incredible Northern Lights. What an amazing place we live in….