When gas prices rise *gulp* and oilfield chatter abounds, it can be easy to forget that Alberta is a lot more than just Oil Country. In addition to being Canada’s largest beef producer, Alberta is also there or thereabouts when it comes to leading the country in grain production, cattle, fruits, vegetables and just about every agricultural sector. Alberta has long been a cornucopia in disguise, and from August 6 to 15, Alberta on the Plate is celebrating the province’s farm-to-table pipeline with its third annual dine-around festival.
Featuring over 80 restaurants in 26 different cities, Alberta on the Plate’s dine-around festival is giving Albertans a chance to taste the best the province has to offer, no matter where they might be located. The festival is being organized in collaboration with local growers and restaurants, and for the length of its 10-day run, diners will be able to visit participating restaurants and sample multi-course, fixed price menus that highlight distinctly Albertan flavours.
“It’s all about growing, supporting and leveraging our local food industry to create a more sustainable economy, both from the agricultural and food side, as well as the tourism side,” says Rheannon Green, partner at Food Tourism Strategies Inc. and Alberta on the Plate festival producer.
Alberta on the Plate is set to kick off just two days before the start of Local Food Week, which is an initiative created by the provincial government in 2018 to encourage Albertans to get to know the farmers, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs responsible for getting local products onto their plates. Unsurprisingly, the festival will also wrap up on the same weekend as Open Farm Days, giving curious diners the perfect opportunity to close the loop between local producers and restaurants.
“[We] have some great opportunities to showcase different types of cuisine [and] different styles of meals, from share-plate places to independent courses, and some of them are multi-course menus,” Green says. “So [there are] some really great opportunities to celebrate the local ingredients from in and around the area.”
Edmonton-area participating restaurants include Culina Muttart Café, Dalla Tavola Zenari, Three Vikings, Tryst and more. Alberta on the Plate has also joined together with hotel partners to offer exclusive rates and “Dine & Doze” staycation packages.
Information regarding participating restaurants and hotels can be found online at Alberta on the Plate’s website.