Cuisine

Cusine
Photographer
Jeff Bartlett

Cuisine

Food can certainly please your palate but it can also evoke a sense of place. Think, freshly caught seafood on the West and East coasts, or eating a just-picked strawberry from a local farmer’s market in the Okanagan or in Alberta’s heartland. Cities like Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary are home to some of the top restaurants and chefs in North America where you can watch, or learn the secrets in private cooking classes.

When you're talking handmade, you can't get more hands-on than the artisans I met in Cranbrook who hail from India, Northern China, Marysville, Fort McMurray and the East Kootenays. They all have one thing in common: They saw a need in their community, so they decided to hone their skills and meet it.

Without hesitation, Chef Michael Buffett of Start Fresh Kitchen declares his pasta-making classes the most popular.

The aha moments come thick and fast while cycling the section of the Okanagan Rail Trail that hugs glinting green Kalamalka Lake. There are jaw-dropping vistas galore along the 23-kilometre glacial body of water.

From McIntyre Bluff to the Canada-U.S. border, from the Black Sage Bench to the Golden Mile Bench and everywhere in between, Oliver and Osoyoos are pure South Okanagan wine region eye candy.

At approximately 7:25 AM, the sun crested the eastern horizon and brilliant beams of white light shot through the leaning lodge poles on the massive teepee (the largest teepee in the world, they say!). It was a classic prairie sunrise and, given the temperature hovered around zero, I welcomed the warmth. But, to be completely honest, I wasn't actually cold. When you cycle along the amazing biking trails in Medicine Hat you tend to work up a pretty good sweat!

In front of me, on a polished long table in a refurbished industrial building on the outskirts of Medicine Hat, sits a piece of wood cut in the shape of the province of Alberta.

Our zen hits its zenith when we sip the 2013 Perpetua Chardonnay following a hearty spoonful of the Ocean Wise seafood chowder.

"This," said Jessie the guide "is your holy crap strap. If you go over, pull it!" That all-important strap was stitched to the front of the spray-skirt, which would shortly be attached to my kayak – a kayak soon to be launched into heavy seas just off the shores of Vancouver Island.