Local gastronomy trips that involve Slow Food is a type of travel Canadians are doing in 2020. Since we all enjoy a good farm-to-table meal, we’ve picked out some of our favourites for you to try across the country!
What is the Slow Food Movement?
Did you know that our food travels an average of 1500 miles to get on our plate? That’s about the same distance as a road trip from Halifax to Thunder Bay! And that’s a lot of water, energy, and waste. In an effort to lessen our carbon footprints, more Canadians are eating what’s known as “slow food.”
Slow Food is a global movement that was started by a man named Carlo Petrini. His intention was to defend local traditions and keep great tasting food on our plate, which was sourced and created just a few miles away. The Slow Food in Canada movement first took off in Vancouver, and it’s now spread across the country. Its goal is to combat our fast food life (which can really just slow our bodies down!) and reinvigorate our passion for an environmentally-friendly and authentic local dining experience. Supporting Slow Food is also about putting power back in the hands of local farmers and fishers, helping them work to preserve our natural and animal resources.
Interested in learning more about the slow food movement in general? Check out their history.
The Best Slow Food Experiences in Canada
A Slow Food trip combines three of our favourite 2020 travel trends; slow travel, sustainable travel and local gastronomy. If you’re looking for some great Slow Food Canada destinations this year while you travel our beautiful country, we have five cities for you to check out.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Enjoy some of the best sustainably-sourced seafood in the world
Vancouver is a great destination to experience Slow Food. Discover how the movement has expanded to Slow Fish Canada, where there’s a push towards consuming wild salmon versus farmed salmon in order to preserve our “small-scale fishing communities.”
Here in Vancouver, you can find locally owned and operated restaurants that offer delicious farm-to-table choices. From fancy eateries to casual local spots, every traveller can find a favourite bite that hasn’t cost the air a lot of carbon!
Where to eat for slow food in Vancouver
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar: Trip Savvy ranks Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar their number one farm-to-table restaurant in Vancouver. According to them, the Blue Water Cafe “maintains a year-round focus on fresh, sustainable coastal species” which means if you’re looking for local, delicious seafood, this is your place.
The Acorn Restaurant: According to USA Today’s Vancouver local expert Natasha John, The Acorn is an upscale vegan and gluten-free friendly restaurant in Vancouver that you don’t want to miss. Located on Main Street, The Acorn has recently named the number one vegan restaurant in the world! The menu consists of dishes made with local farm-fresh ingredients for brunch and dinner, and a drink menu featuring of the Okanagan Valley’s finest wines. There’s even sake made in the nearby Granville Island.
Discover how Slow Food has really picked up in Canada’s Wild West
This western province has really stepped up its food game in recent years. Of the 12 restaurants in Alberta that made it onto Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants List, 9 of them are located in Calgary. If you’re looking for a Slow Food Canada adventure, you’ll find it here!
Where to eat for slow food in Calgary
Rouge Restaurant & Bistro: Slow Food fine-dining at its best, Calgary’s Rouge Restaurant specializes in French food. Located in the Calgary neighbourhood of Inglewood, Rouge has an onsite garden where they grow the produce used in some of the dishes – you can’t get much more local than that! The establishment also hosted Slow Food Calgary’s 12th Annual Feast of Fields, which featured the best Slow Food concoctions from some of Calgary’s top chefs.
Market: One of the top restaurants in Cowtown and a true partner of the Slow Food movement, Market is the first restaurant in the city to source ingredients from their own home garden. Their menu changes with the seasons (which is the norm for Slow Food!) so whenever you come here, you’re bound to be surprised by something new on the menu. Some dinner items include crispy porkbelly tacos with pork from 4k Farms and grilled Broxburn Farm vegetables.
Go local here in Winnipeg with some of Canada’s most unique dishes
Winnipeg might not seem like a mecca destination for the Slow Food movement, but it turns out they have a super active foodie community that loves their farm-fresh dishes. If you’re looking for a new place to add to your list, this Canadian destination is it.
Where to eat in Winnipeg
Feast Café & Bistro: This Indigenous-owned café and eatery is a local favourite, serving up delicious farm-to-table dishes like bison chilli and wild smoked salmon. All of their bison meat is from grass-fed Manitoba bison and they spice their dishes up with Canadian flavours like Saskatoon berry vinaigrette and maple chipotle sour cream. If you’re looking for a truly slow food-focused experience, you’re bound to find it at Feast Café & Bistro.
Deer + Almond: Winnipeg has a ton of cool experiences if you’re looking to do something a little different for your meal, specifically for those looking for inventive and local meat experiences, Deer + Almond has some interesting dishes like deer tartare for you to try out. They encourage their patrons to share their dishes and enjoy dining together.
Fredericton, New Brunswick
This historic Canadian city has a great food scene that includes excellent farm-to-table restaurants
In between visiting Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Science East, you’ll want to find somewhere good to eat while in Fredericton. From smaller cafés and restaurants to joints that offer your favourite comfort foods, there is something for everyone to eat here in Fredericton. If you’re joining the Slow Food movement on the East Coast, mark a dot on the map!
Where to eat in Fredericton
Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market: This Canadian top-10 market is only open on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m/, but if you’re in the area you’ll definitely want to drop in for breakfast or an early lunch. The Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market features over 200 vendors where you can sample and enjoy lots of local eats. Grab a “taste of greek” or enjoy some new favourite cheese from the dairy shop!
The Palate: The Palate is one of Fredericton’s best reasonably priced farm-to-table establishments serving delicious eats like stir fry, lemon meringue salmon and a weekly pasta feature. You can find this casual fine-dining eatery on Fredericton’s Queen Street.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Local seafood is just the beginning here in Halifax
Travellers looking for a casual and unique east coast experience will find a thriving food experience in Halifax. In between taking in the beautiful sights, rich history and the calming waterfront, you’ll find a few places to grab a great bite to eat.
Not only do they have great farm-to-table options, but due to their location right on the coast, Halifax’s seafood game is on point. So make sure to order yourself something scrumptious!
Where to eat in Halifax
Chives Canadian Bistro: The Chives Canadian Bistro made the Food Network’s list of 12 farm-to-table restaurants that celebrate Canadian cuisine. If you’re looking for a seafood dish, something fresh from the farm or a delicious appetizer, then this is your place.
The Wooden Monkey: If you’re looking for a casual meal in a pub atmosphere, then The Wooden Monkey is a great choice. You can get everything from seafood chowder to vegetable curry—so, bring your eating pants.
Why Go Local?
Eating “local food” or using the term “local” in any context when it comes to travel can be a bit of a generalization sometimes, so it’s best to be aware of just how local you are going. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, “local” food is defined as:
- Food produced in the province or territory in which it is sold, or
- food sold across provincial borders within 50 km of the originating province or territory
So, when hunting for your Slow Food eats in Canada, maybe opt for the Pacific wild salmon (or local oyster mushrooms) over the East Coast oysters on the menu if you’re in somewhere like Vancouver. Anything that is from a nearby farm or body of water, the better!
If you’re interested, Slow Food communities can found in many cities across Canada. You can check out your local community and how to get involved here.
Find more food-related gems
Check out these guides below that focus on local food in new and exciting destinations.
- What is a Donair? Getting to Know Halifax’s Official Food
- Taipei Travel Guide: Food, History, Hiking and More
- 5 Street Food Dishes to Eat in Malaysia
Start your local gastronomy adventures below by searching for flights to your next Slow Food destination! 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽