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Hunting big game

EmeraldlakeLast year, DPaul and I undertook a very aggressive itinerary, touring through Western Canada doing research for some stories I was writing for PlanetOut. I’ve been poring over the materials again of late, updating information for the stories, and I was reminded of some of the more remarkable meals we had while on the road.

Firstly, I think it’s worth mentioning that we have had an amazing amount of really excellent food in Canada, on both coasts as well as in between. Our country could learn a thing or two, culinarily and otherwise, from its neighbor to the north. But I digress.

While trucking up the Canadian Rockies, we had the extreme pleasure to stay at Emerald Lake Lodge, an exceptional property just over the BC border from Lake Louise. It’s 45 minutes away and a world apart. Lake Louise is phenomenal, there’s no denying, but it is heavily touristed, which I found to be a pretty major turnoff. Emerald Lake, while lacking the truly astonishingly day-glo turquoise color of Louise, is still quite beautiful and, best of all, utterly serene.

The company that runs the lodge also runs sister properties at Lake Louise and Banff, and all are recommendable. Most significantly, the company also runs its own ranches in the province, where they raise elk, caribou and bison (as well as grow produce) for the restaurants. Throughout Alberta, we frequently had varying preparations of these game meats (and beef, lots of beef – it is the Texas of Canada, after all). Most remarkably, though, the restaurant at Emerald Lake had a clever plate of house-cured salumi from game meats, with bison prosciutto, duck sausage, elk salami, and so on. Really excellent, and totally unique.

Normally when we return from a trip we host a dinner party or five so we can share some of the taste experiences we had while traveling. We never did our Taste of Western Canada dinner, because we were simply unable to source the ingredients. Never mind trying to find bison prosciutto; other than basic bison we were not able to find any of the big game meats. If anyone knows how or where to get elk or caribou, or anyone who produces salumi from game meats, I would be greatly interested.

[Photo of Emerald Lake Lodge courtesy DPaul Brown]
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