Canmore Uncorked is a bit like Christmas. There’s 12 days of fabulous festivities. Only instead of all those maids a milking and lords a leaping, there’s set price menus, free tasting experiences, a whiskey, wine and beer festival, progressive dinners, cooking classes, and of course, our own Canmore Food Tours’ behind the scenes food tours (more about those soon).
My name is Callandra Caufield and I’m the operations manager at Alberta Food Tours, Inc. I was raised in Canmore and I love this town. Canmore Uncorked started in 2014 and I’ve had the pleasure of participating since inception.
Though it’s tempting, I can tell you first hand, it’s impossible to experience everything this festival has to offer. Because most of us have limited time (and waist bands) for the festival, I’m going to share my “must eat” list of Canmore Uncorked events and activities hoping it will help you as you make your choices.
I was fortunate to attend the very first bistro tour (which interestingly, was spontaneously conceived about 24 hours before it took place). It is still in my top 10 of best ever food experiences. I’ll never forget eating our way through some of Canmore’s most unique restaurants and art galleries with Juno nominated string quartet Quartetto Gelato following us and entertaining us each step of the way. Tip: expect the unexpected. This group’s violinist also happens to be an acrobat and the accordion player is a world champion. The experience has left an indelible mark on my memory.
Parmesan cheese comes in huge wheels. We tend to see little wedges at the grocery store but each year Mountain Mercato orders in a monster-size wheel and kicks off their Canmore Uncorked festivities on May 5 by cracking into it. If you’ve never seen this done, this is your chance. Our partners at Mountain Mercato host one heck of a party, including a super fresh samples of that fresh (aged) Parmesan, lots of other great local vendors with samples and stories, wine tastings and live music to keep things lively.
Our friends at Paintbox Lodge are hosting cooking classes every day of the festival. The Paintbox Lodge kitchen is one of the coziest spots in Canmore, and the perfect place to spend the evening. I have my eye on the class called “Mystery Box Sunday” with local private chef Sue Shih. You bring an ingredient (any ingredient!) and Sue will whip up a tapas style meal with the combined offerings. Cooking at “the box” is truly culinary fun that’s outside the box.
Some of the Canmore Uncorked experiences are FREE and I think that speaks to the genuine hospitality and values of this Rocky Mountain community. You can tour a coffee roaster at Canmore’s own Rave Coffee Roasters, try Alberta local TruBuch Kombucha at Mountain Mercato, sip wine at Canmore Wine Merchants or slip into Communitea for their free daily tea tasting. For a mere $5 dollars you can try hidden gem Edible Life’s new chia seed donuts with cashew cream (I’ve eaten at least two dozen of these since owner Carole Beaton developed this recipe a few months ago). My pick at the $10 dolllar price point is to sip on Canmore’s first distilled spirits ( made with 100% Alberta grains) at Wild Life Distillery.
I could write a whole blog post just about the $22, $33, and $44 set price menus. I’m going to narrow it down to the three my tummy’s grumbling for: the $22 menu at the Market Bistro at Three sisters (I drool over their duck terrine), the $33 menu at Tapas (the avocado fries are to die for) and the $44 menu at Blake Canmore (I’d like to taste how magical the new Alberta made burrata cheese dish will be.)
Last but not least, I highly recommend our very own Canmore Food Tours’ Behind the Scenes Canmore Uncorked food tour. Full disclosure: I will be the guide for all four of these tours. We’re going to spend three hours learning about the real Canmore (both past and present) and eating food from some of the best chefs and food purveyors in town. We’ll taste forno roasted flatbread piled hight with fresh local toppings, carefully chosen wines, a unique bison dish, Alberta beef prepared with Brazilian pazzaz and some of Alberta’s most scrumptious (and highly fashionable) chocolates. There will even be a few goodies for you to take home and ease into the next day with.
I look forward to seeing you soon to celebrate Canmore and share our special brand of food, fun and adventure at the fourth annual Canmore Uncorked and beyond.