A Festive Dive into the Culinary Arts Offered in Calgary’s Southern-Most Communities
The holidays are fast-approaching, and regardless of how or when you celebrate, it’s hard to imagine them without the tasty treats that define the season. As Calgary buzzes with festive get-togethers, family gatherings and company celebrations, there’s something to be said for the shift away from the longstanding hotspots and trendy draws of downtown’s hottest avenues, towards new, less centralized neighbourhoods who refuse to take a back seat, despite their location in Calgary’s deep south.
As Calgary’s business owners embrace the growing trend of working from home, or from an office that doesn’t require the soul-draining commutes or outrageous parking prices offered by the downtown core, top restaurants and in-demand amenities are embracing the opportunity to cater to them and their families.
For those in Calgary’s southern quadrants, this means the ability to select from a much more impressive lineup of restaurants capable of attracting the top chef talent and their culinary masterpieces.
This Christmas, we invite you to consider three dishes from each of the four south-Calgary restaurants we will be featuring, each one with the ability to draw customers from the far-reaching corners of our ever-expanding city, conveniently located close to your new home, for your holiday celebrations.
Starbelly – https://www.starbelly.ca/
Located in Seton, Starbelly takes ‘made from scratch’ to entirely new and impressively stylish peaks. With a menu inspired by global cuisines, and fresh ingredients proudly sourced from local farms, Head Chef Daniel Clements prides himself on creating dishes with a story. The result: A kitchen focused on serving the local community with the very best Alberta has to offer.
While the menu doesn’t change for the holiday season, the atmosphere presented is the perfect fit for upscale holiday dinners thanks to an atmosphere that complements formalwear and spectacular dishes creatively plated to compete with even the best-dressed in the group.
Starter: Seasonal Soup – What could be better on a cold winter’s day, than a hot bowl of homemade soup? While the soup du jour changes regularly at Starbelly’s you can rest assured that it’s always delicious, made from scratch using local ingredients and is something you’ve never tried before.
Main Course : Butternut Squash Ravioli – This dish takes the flavours of fall and kicks it up a notch to offer rich, creamy flavours worthy of the holidays. Brown butter sage cream sauce, toasted walnuts, preserved lemon and grana padano. Yummy!
Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding – As a child, we always had sticky toffee pudding around Christmas, and my Nana would hide money or small toys inside it to make it extra special. And while Starbelly doesn’t hide prizes in their desserts, the flavours of dates, Fratello coffee, vanilla bean gelato and Rumchata salted caramel certainly do the trick!
Bow Valley Ranche – https://www.bvrrestaurant.com/
Regardless of the time of year, The Bow Valley Ranche is among the most popular and sought after venues for fine-dining, high-profile events and historic tourism.
Located deep in the wooded valley of Fish Creek Park, this legacy building has a history of hosting the best social gatherings that spans more than 12 decades, and backed by one of Calgary’s top executive chefs, offers a unique menu that boasts Canadian themes of Rocky Mountain game meats, local harvest vegetables and, during the warmer months, a full on-site vegetable and herb garden.
If you are lucky enough to be invited to an event at the Bow Valley Ranche, we strongly recommend accepting. Until then, why not create your own social occasion for the chance to try these festive favourites?
Brunch: A la Carte – You haven’t had brunch quite like they serve it here; with cured meats, artisan cheeses, fresh baked goods and a commitment to fresh ingredients that is surpassed by few, regardless of what you decide to order, you are in for a unique treat. Having said this, the Toasty Mushroom Eggs Benedict complete with truffle hollandaise and mixed mushroom demi-glace on grilled brioche is something not to be missed!
Dinner: Duck a l’Orange – There aren’t a lot of places that serve duck in Calgary, certainly none that do so with quite the same flair and flavours as The Ranche. A feast for the senses, this colourful, succulent dish comes complete with purple potatoes, parsnip puree, confit Cipollini and an experience that will highlight your own Christmas story.
Dessert: Grand Marnier Soufflé – My father once told me, if they have a pork chop or a soufflé on the menu – get it. I have always obeyed the former, but the latter has always been dependent on how much time I have at my disposal — but when it comes to this soufflé, I make time. Orange Creme Anglais and candied orange make this a special treat that’s the perfect gift to give yourself or share with a loved one!
Bro’Kin Yolk – https://www.brokinyolk.ca/
Holiday mornings represent some of the best-spent times during the holidays. Opening gifts, lazy days watching movies with visiting family, heck, even sleeping in can bring some joy to those of us who work or raise children during the day. And if you’re looking for something tasty, without the effort, may we recommend adding a little Bro’Kin Yolk to your most anticipated traditions?
Already a local favourite, you’ll want to get there early on the weekend to avoid a line-up, but don’t worry, the line moves fast and you can even get on the list using your phone!
Breakfast: Belgian Waffles – These homemade beauties are the perfect side or main dish. Made fresh daily, and priced by the waffle, you can add this onto another favourite, or make it a meal complete with as big a stack as you can handle and delicious topping options like Nutella sauce, white chocolate lavender and berry compotes.
Eggs: Baked Veggie Frittata -This one is for the veggie-lovers; Ms. Veggie presents the never greasy, always cooked to perfection mix of spinach, Broxburn tomatoes, mushrooms and goat cheese. It’s a delicious holiday breakfast dish, without any of the guilt!
Lattes: Peppermint and Gingerbread Latte – Not that they need to, but the Bro’Kin Yolk gives its customers yet another reason to ensure they come by during the holidays… About halfway through December, they launch a Christmas Treats drink menu that features two classics. Both are uniquely delicious and only available for a few weeks! Don’t miss out.
Pie Junkie – http://piejunkie.ca/
Arguably, the best thing about the holidays, is how everyone seems to be on board to collectively gain a few pounds. With all the catered affairs, holiday baking and baggy sweaters that surround us, winter is a time best spent treating yourself, and few places in Calgary’s south provide tastier options than Pie Junkie…especially when it comes to classics!
Pie Junkie isn’t just about sweet treats either; they have a ton of savoury rolls, pies and pastries perfect for snacks and lunches, and have even won an award for their sausage rolls.
And all their pies come in individual or full sizes, so everyone can get what they want, and can save the act of sharing for another day!
Savoury: Turkey Dinner Pie – Made by special order only, this pie is a unique and delicious spin on Turkey dinner. Packed with all the savoury treats that make up your traditional turkey dinner feast, and topped with homemade cranberry sauce, it’s the dishes you crave, without all the dishes.
Treats: Mincemeat Tarts and Shortbread Cookies – There’s much more baked daily than pies at the Pie Junkie, whether you are looking for a quick treat on the go, or for a little help in the baking department for the season, the selection here is always fresh and always delicious.
Dessert: Pies – Simply put – there are too many pies to pick just a couple, but based on the title of this article, we are going to recommend those with the most holiday focus: Pumpkin Candied Ginger Cheesecake, Christmas Orange Cream and Maple Pecan with Chocolate Drizzle. What can I say about these pies that hasn’t already been said about sunsets, Christmas mornings and true love’s kiss?
As you can see, there’s plenty of mouth-watering reasons to stay down south over the holidays, and plenty of gifts to discover around our fast-growing quadrant.
Hopefully we’ve inspired your minds, teased your taste buds and solidified the case for a happier holidays, right here in South Calgary.