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Top Ten Christmas Gifts for Alberta Food Lovers – 2018

Travel is the theme of this year’s Christmas Gift list for Alberta Food Lovers

I’ve got travel on the brain. It’s always there and it’s usually fighting for attention with my other great love – FOOD!  I’ve brokered a peace between these two great passions by calling myself a food traveller. Are you with me?

A food traveller is defined as someone who would travel across town or around the globe to experience food and/or drink. It’s a pretty inclusive definition and I’ll bet since you are reading this, you are like me, a food traveller. Here’s some great ideas to whet your whistle and inspire you to keep on exploring Alberta and the world.

1 – Make the vegan on your list happy

In Calgary, you can drive across town to stock up on vegan goodies from the freezer at Hearts Choices – The Thai Vegan Cafe. Put it all in a cooler under the tree on Christmas morning and watch the delight on your vegans face when they realize your thoughtfulness and caring. Hint: While you are at Hearts Choices, you can also hit the Spragg’s Meat Shop next door for the carnivore’s on your list. Guests on our tours love Spragg’s farmers’ sausage rings. Also, if you are taking a staycation to the Rockies over the holidays, in Canmore, you can find some great vegan treats at An Edible Life. We especially love the Goji Cocoa balls. They keep well in the fridge or freezer and will be an amazing healthy addition to any “dainty” tray.


2 – Treat yourself to French linens without leaving Alberta

Inspirati  – Fine Linens and Home Essentials supplies the perfect hostess gift every year with their exclusive Jacquard Francais tea towels featuring their custom designed calendar for the upcoming year. Order yours here for $38.00. There’s free shipping for orders over $150.00.


3 – Get Outside and Enjoy Winter

My friends Danielle and J.P. Fortin own Pursuit Adventures in Red Deer. They have an Ice Falls and Ice Bubbles trek for small groups that I think would be a wonderful way to spend a winter day – especially because Danielle makes a special lunch including her own homemade marshmallows and hot cocoa for these expeditions. Get your group together and get outside. The cocoa and s’more will be worth the effort.


4 – Stay Inside and Eat the Castle

Alberta Food Tours’ Eat the Castle food tour experience at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (FBSH) is a hit! Guests are loving the exclusive access, stories that bring the castle alive and of course the excellence in food and beverage pairings and the chance for a little hands-on dessert-making with one of the 125 chefs on the FBSH team too! We will run it Thursdays until December 20 and then start up Fridays on January 18 until May when we’ll kick it up in high gear for high season. As part of our community you qualify for 20% off this luxurious tour anytime with the promo code: CASTLE2018


5 – Enjoy Innisfail in a Basket

Giving edible gifts is great for everyone on your list. Especially when those gifts are homemade preserves from the five families that own and operate Innisfail Growers. Check out their beautifully packaged baskets of Alberta bounty at the Calgary Farmers’ Market or at their farm stores in and around Innisfail.


6 – Chocolate is Always Worth a Little Drive

Whether you are tootling on up to the McCall Lake area of Calgary to visit the HQ of Choklat (they ship anywhere in Canada now) or to visit Jacek Chocolate in Canmore, 104 St in Edmonton or the Kaska Rd HQ in Sherwood Park, Alberta you know you are going for the best chocolate your money can buy and you are going to make someone very happy on Christmas day.


7 – Visit a Trifecta of Sweetness in Edmonton’s Strathcona Neighbourhood

Forget “spitting distance,” Ohana Donuterie, Fan Fan Patisserie and Crave Cupcakes are all within a drool of each other near Whyte Ave in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona. Take a box of Ohana’s malasada donuts to the Christmas office party. Treat your family to a French Tourtiere and loads of individual tarts and cakes like my favourite – the mini caramel chocolate ganache – for a bit of French flair from Fan Fan Patisserie. Known for their cupcakes year-round, Crave bursts at the seams with bars, squares and Christmas cookies this time of year. Let them do your baking for you!


8 – Travel to Turner Valley for Clarity

Clarity of water, that is. Eau Claire – Clear water, is one of the key ingredients in Eau Claire Craft Distillery’s distillations. Visit the HQ in Turner Valley, check out their stall at the Calgary Farmers’ Market or ask for them at your favourite liquor store. My pick for the season? Why their Christmas Gin of course.


9 – Travel to the Holy Land

You can’t get much more Christmassy then thinking of making a foodie pilgrimage to where it all began. I’ll leave it to you whether your mind jumped to Jesus or Ottolenghi! Join Calgary’s Cookbook Co. Cooks’ owner Gail Norton as she teams up with Israeli natives and Sidewalk Citizen owners, Aviv Fried and Michal Lavi for a food lover’s week in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. $3800 – excluding airfare, April 28 – May 5, 2019. Contact the Cookbook Co. Cooks for more information at 403-265-6066.

10 – And for the Ultimate Gift of All Time – Take a Flight Across the Top of Canada!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I am collaborating with Eric Pateman, chef extraordinaire and owner of Edible Canada, to sell spots on his award-winning Flight Across the Top of Canada scheduled for June of 2019. This is the first time, after seven straight years, that I will take a break from my annual India sojourn. I want to explore my homeland – especially the three parts of our country I’ve not been to – Newfoundland, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

I have booked my spot on this incredible journey and for the first time ever, on one of my culinary adventures, my husband will join me. I’ve finally found the place he wants to see and it is our own true north strong and free.

The trip starts in Vancouver on June 14, 2019.

Here, we’ll board our chartered Air North 737 and fly directly to St. John’s, Newfoundland. In St. John’s, we’ll search for puffins, icebergs and hearty Atlantic seafood and craft beer exploration. On June 17, we fly directly to Iqaluit in Nunavut to immerse in Inuit culture. Here we’ll feast on wild game from the tundra. On June 19 to the 21, we visit Churchill, Manitoba – the Polar Bear Capital of the World. After meeting a few belugas, we’ll find our way to Yellowknife to explore this small town, the capital of the North West Territories, and all it has to offer. On June 21, we land in Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon. Here we’ll fish and forage and feast with boreal chefs and local legends. On June 23, it is back to Vancouver after having toured the country from coast to coast and coast!

What’s included:

  • Private chartered 737 aircraft traveling round trip from Vancouver
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 4 signature meals with top Canadian chefs
  • Breakfast each day
  • Alcohol in- flight and at signature meals
  • $1000 excursion booking credit
  • All ground transportation

What’s the price?

This once in a lifetime Canadian Epic is $14,995 based on double occupancy. When Eric Pateman scouted the trip his airfares alone came to over $11,000.

You can sign up here.

Use Alberta Food Tours as your booking code to receive two passes on our Eat the Castle experience at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel as my thank you.

Please contact me at 403-968-2783 with questions. I’ll love to talk to you about this incredible chance to see a part of country that so few have the opportunity to experience.

And so you get the full appreciation for what you will eat and experience on this incredible Canadian cuisine and culture odyssey, here’s a beautiful video from the 2017 Canada 150 Flight Across the Top of Canada.