Canmore Uncorked Food and Drink Festival
By Erin Lawrence
Canmore restaurants are flexing their foodie muscles, getting ready to show off for the city’s annual Canmore Uncorked Food and Drink Festival.
The festival takes place April 25-May 5 and features festival-style events like a long table dinner, tastings and bike tours. But it’s also a great chance for locals and visitors to sample their way through the city’s cuisine by taking advantage of one of the three-course set-price menus. For $25, $37, or $49 you can enjoy an appetizer, main course and dessert at about twenty-five local establishments.
Canmore Uncorked is a great excuse to re-visit longstanding favourites like Crazyweed Kitchen, where a refreshing green mango salad will have you feeling like spring. Paired with oven roasted Icelandic Cod, and followed up by a salted caramel mousse, it’s a light and delicious seasonal meal.
Crazyweed Kitchen Fried Chicken Wraps
Another perennial Canmore dining spot is Sage Bistro and Wine Lounge. Try their $49 Canmore Uncorked menu featuring warm sweet potato and spinach salad, a feta-stuffed chicken breast with garlicky mashed potatoes, and then wrap it up with the decadent peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. When you’re done, make sure you aim to walk back to your hotel. We can recommend the newly opened Basecamp Lodge, a do-it-yourself style hotel where, not unlike an Airbnb, you are e-mailed a passcode and you’ll let yourself into your room for the night. There is a front desk and staff is available, but for those who like to travel without fuss, this fits the bill nicely. Your room also includes breakfast.
If you’re only up for a day trip, why not drive up to Canmore for lunch and enjoy the mountain air? Brand new and opening just in time for Canmore Uncorked, The Sensory is the city’s newest restaurant. It’s also one of the most gossiped about. During a stroll down Canmore’s Main Street, when one local shop owner heard we were getting a sneak peek at the sizeable dining spot, she was ecstatic, saying locals have been speculating about what’s going in the space for months.
The Sensory is a high-end spot, evidenced by the chic modern decor and designer touches inside. While on the day we visited, the restaurant was still draped in plastic and masking tape, the stunning mountain views were on full display in the restaurant’s second floor main dining room. We had a chance to sample from The Sensory’s unusual new tasting menu concept with owners Terry and Laurie Jensen.
The Sensory Dessert
Created by chef Tracy Little as an homage to the Bow Valley and its vast outdoor culture, the menu will feature foraged foods. Each course is named for a stop along a fictional hike. At our private tasting we start with The Forest, a salad of selected greens, crunchy quinoa “dirt”, foraged mushrooms and edible florals dusted with a vibrant matcha powder.
We move onto the main dish, dubbed The Bison, though today we’re sampling it with venison. It’s presented alongside parsnip purée, potatoes confited in butter, roasted mini cauliflower steaks in a brown butter, and a swipe of demi-glaze.
We wrap up our outing with a dessert that looks like nothing you’d expect; it’s dessert art at its finest. A torn chunk of chocolate cake sits atop a sweet cherry purée, with chocolate ‘dirt’ made of crushed hazelnuts. A dazzling pine and coffee-infused ganache is chilled just so, so that it resembles a bit of wayward bark or branch. The plate is topped by a charcoal-infused meringue wafer that looks like a slice of crunchy snow.
The Sensory’s delicious food will be complimented by a huge wine list and creative cocktails. They’re planning to open up at the end of April and be fully operational for Canmore Uncorked so that the locals and visitors alike can stop gossiping, and start tasting.