Alberta is a vast province, larger than any country in the European Union. From the great boreal forests of the north to the dry prairie grasslands in the south to the mountainous chain running along its western flank, it’s a province of infinite variety and subtlety. The same can be said about its culinary culture.
Banff at a Glance
- Population 8,905
- Median Family Income $98,070
- Unemployment Rate 4.7%
- Residential Vacancy Rate 3.2%
- Life Stress 20.9%
- Sense of Belonging 75.2%
Source: Government of Alberta
Traditionally, Indigenous Peoples lived off the land, harvesting wild game like bison, deer, elk, moose, prairie chickens, mackerel and trout. They took advantage of the many wild berries, including chokecherries, blueberries and saskatoons. Mushrooms, wild rice, bitter root, wild onions and wild turnips helped fill out their diet.
You can still find these traditional ingredients at restaurants across Alberta, but of course the nature and variety of the culinary experiences in the province have taken off in every direction. Playing to one of the province’s great strengths, you will find Alberta beef on most menus, and any omnivore should be sure to try it. But any illusion that Alberta is all about beef can be quickly dispensed with, and visitors can be sure to find fabulous vegetarian and vegan options among many other offerings.
The province has benefitted from successive generations of immigrants who have each brought their own traditions to Alberta’s kitchens, from the Eastern European settlers who arrived in the 19th century to the more recent waves of immigrants from Asia, Africa and South America. That means whether you want a traditional Ukrainian pierogi with all the toppings or Brazilian picanha with chimichurri sauce, you’ll find what you want in Alberta.