• Erin Boukall

Gourmet Getaway Guide: Canmore

I spent a lot of time out in Canmore as I grew up. My family has owned a place out there for nearly 30 years and, as my sister and I both ski raced for the majority of our childhood, our family went out to the mountains pretty much every weekend. These frequent visits have hopefully qualified me as a some-what "local", so keep reading to get my insider tips on where and what to eat in Canmore.

Rocky Mountain Bagel Co.

No trip to Canmore is complete without picking up some fresh bagels! I always grab a baker's dozen (heavy on the "Rosemary Sea Salt" flavour) and never miss their "Hot Cheddar 4 Pepper" cream cheese. Grab some to take back home or get a takeaway picnic lunch to go and enjoy alongside some mountain views. Skip the line and visit their second Bow Valley Trail location, which is a bit more off the beaten path and you can avoid the main street crowds. Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. has been making fresh bagels ever since 1998.

Crazyweed Crazyweed is a Canmore institution. My cousin was a chef there for many years. I've always enjoyed their internationally inspired dishes, which are always rotating and evolving. On our recent visit we tried the pickle-brine fried chicken. It was wonderfully crispy, juicy on the inside, and garnished with fried coriander seeds. The cauliflower dish was also a standout, paired with labneh (thick Middle Eastern yogurt), green grapes, dukkah (a mixture of spices, herbs, and nuts), and green olives. I also really enjoyed the dessert I had; a tart passionfruit ice cream, creamy vanilla bean panna cotta (I am a sucker for panna cotta), crispy meringues, and creatively paired with pink peppercorns. Crazyweed just added a really nice patio expansion to create more room for outdoor dining. This is definitely a must for a nice dinner whilst out in Canmore!

Rocket Pie Holy moly, this is seriously good pizza. I've been so impressed with their Neapolitan style crust, cooked in their stone pizza oven. My favourite kinds are the funghi (a mushroom lovers dream, featuring a porcini parsnip base), mortadella (with a creamy garlic anchovy base and garnished with candied pistachios), and the classic pepperoni. They also make this wicked chili oil condiment, and I cannot get enough of it. The owner said they hope to bottle it soon for sale. I can't wait!

Le Fournil When a friend recommended I check this place out, I felt like I'd stumbled across an adorable little Parisian bakery. The quality of the baking and the desserts they create is exceptional. There is a focus on seasonality and this is featured throughout their rotating creations. Le Fournil prepares a variety of artisan breads and the pastry showcase looks as though you are at an art exhibit. They have also recently expanded their gourmet grocery section, with an impressive array of deluxe products (like the mojo picón olives I am obsessed with from Vezorla). I also recommend picking up their homemade s'mores kits (with in-house made graham crackers, milk chocolate, and fresh vanilla bean marshmallows) to jazz up your next campfire.

4296 (and Bar Déjà Vu) This place highlights incredibly sophisticated and globally inspired dishes. The food here is super insta-worthy! In the back of 4296 is the speakeasy (Bar Déjà Vu), with the entrance hidden behind a trick mirrored door. Once you enter, you feel like you've been transported to another planet. There are no windows, and the small bar is dimly lit with purple lighting. The cocktails here are on another level, highly creative and stunningly beautiful. Escape from reality and take a trip with Chef Blake Flann.

Tenn Roof Co. A food truck in an empty lot on main street is delivering some of the most incredible mexican food around. Also inspired by Tennessee (an ode to where one of the owners is from), you can find some fusion tacos with Nashville hot fried chicken and pulled pork. They have a liquor license so you can enjoy a cold one on their pup-friendly patio (or cat-friendly, if you are cat explorers like us). My favourites menu items are the queso dip with freshly made tajín chips, the crispy fish tacos, and some churros and chocolate dip to finish. This past winter they were parked up at Sunshine Village ski hill, which they hope to be able to do again this ski season.

514 Poutine This poutine place was formerly known as La Belle Patate, but has since parted from the Quebec franchise and rebranded. They renamed the joint 514 Poutine, after the Montreal area code. This place has seriously good poutine with tons of customizable topping options. As I am writing this I find myself craving one... Don't miss this spot if you consider yourself a poutine aficionado. Just a heads up, they are currently only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (12pm-6pm). Ankor Just, wow... We were super impressed with the level of the food and service at Ankor. The menu is small, which allows them to focus on quality. I had the lobster agnolotti pasta with house made ricotta, sugar pea vinaigrette, and served in a miso butter foam. The chef/owner (Danny Beaulieu) recommended a wine pairing with my main and the sommelier picked a dry white wine from the Rhone Valley. This pairing really accentuated the dish. It was one of those "wine-dork" pairing moments where I couldn't decide if the food made the wine better or the wine made the food better. It's the small details like sophisticated wine pairings that make dining at Ankor such a pleasure. I was also thoroughly impressed with the rhubarb curd tart for dessert. Having recently opened in the fall of 2020, there is a lot of buzz going on about this new spot, so be sure to check it out for yourself so you can understand what all of the hype is about.

Valbella Gourmet Foods Having been around since 1978, I think that definitely qualifies Valbella as yet another iconic Canmore institution. What started out as a 1,000 sq.ft. facility by the von Rotz family, has progressed into a 40,000 sq.ft. facility. You can find Valbella products all across Alberta (find out where to get their products here), with an endless array of expertly crafted charcuterie, sausages, pâtés, and more. One of my favourites is the air dried Spanish chorizo. They just opened a brand new and absolutely beautiful deli, attached to their production plant. You can come here to pick up their products, some lunch, assorted european delicacies, fresh produce, and other local goods. You can even stop by their 24 hour vending machines (located just inside the main doors) if you find yourself craving Valbella products at all hours of the night. Grab one of their little snack packs that includes a variety of charcuterie and cheeses, the perfect protein-fuelled snack to help you keep up your energy for all of your outdoor mountain adventures.

Sweet Revenge

I'll finish off my guide with something sweet, "Sweet Revenge" that is. This brand new gourmet soft serve ice cream spot is another addition to the Canmore dining scene from Blake Flann. The menu features super "extra" sundaes, some of which are even embellished with edible gold. I highly recommend the tart pineapple soft serve, and you really can't go wrong with any of the creative sundae options available. The hardest part is choosing! Other Canmore spots to check out... Eclipse Coffee Roasters to fuel your inner high-end coffee hipster. An Edible Life for the "smoothiscles" (think real fruit puree freezies) that I am low-key obsessed with. Fergie's Bakery & Convenience is a little convenience store that is just down the street from my family's place, and they have an in-house bakery and that makes some awesome stuff (like the roasted walnut brownies or their apple cinnamon bread that would make the most incredible french toast). Quikieh Asian Grocery is the only place in town (that I know of) to find inspiring asian ingredients. JK Bakery has some delicious baked treats (my favourites include their authentic apple strudels), in-house made artisan breads, and a great variety for breakfast and lunch. Their "Main" location is a bit less busy than their "Downtown" spot! Frankie's Donuts for deluxe homemade donuts (and named after their cute doodle dog, Frankie).



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