As we walked into the beautiful river view room at the Shaw Conference Centre, Sarah and I saw an abundant of food stations ready to feed bits of local fair to those invited to Taste Alberta‘s launch party. From lamb and chicken to pork and cheese, I arrived with the impression that these Alberta producers, and the food they so loving produce, would show everyone how tasty our own backyard is.
Produced in partnership with ALMA, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, and with the support of Save-On-Foods, Taste Alberta is a 30 week series that will appear in both the Edmonton Journal (Wednesday) and the Calgary Herald (Sunday). Its mission from what I gather; create a resource for its readers which will help you to engage with your neighbours about the huge variety of food produced and processed in the province, where to buy it and how to prepare it. As a big believer that food connects us, I’m going to hang myself out there and say I don’t feel the need to spend $98 on an organic carrot that saw its dirt toiled by unicorns to feel good about myself. Instead, I start to feel good when people take the time to sit down, eat real food, and talk about life. So as Kerry Powell, Edmonton Journal Food Editor, took the mic to talk about this new adventure, my apprehensions began to be eased. Kerry was talking about a wider audience; something for the masses. One of the biggest problems I see with most food groups is their lack of ability to branch out; instead, almost choosing to preach to the same people year after year. Basically, in a world where foodies create more walls and rules to live by on a seemingly daily basis, I’m moved by this mission to break a few down and welcome the masses.
After the speeches were taken care of, Sarah and I mingled around the room engaging with everyone from farmers and producers, to fellow bloggers and friends. Each food station showcased a specific provider, not just with their food, but with their story which was set alongside the station. Want to know a little more about Sunterra or Lilydale, look no further than the pamphlet at the table. Better yet, go talk to them in person.
With so many dishes enticing us, it took a bit to conquer them all. Yet, the best dishes on the night seemed unanimous. The braised bison short rib, for example, was running low relatively early in the evening as seconds and then thirds were required to satiate desires. As well, the pork and lamb stations provided some delectable and tummy bulging treats. In fact I could have easily passed on the dessert offering, and stood by the cheese station chatting with Alan and Nicola from Irvings Farm Fresh for the entire event. This was turning into some meal.
I want to thank Kerry Powell and the entire team for the gracious invite. As an avid Bistro reader, I’m now even more excited for the weekly food section. Hopefully people will read this new feature and get out. To see what’s available, to hear the stories, and most importantly, to eat. Eat with friends. Eat with family. Eat with strangers.