April 14, 2012

Gluten-free in Banff


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A few weeks ago we spent the weekend in Banff with friends. It was a really nice getaway, especially as the birth of our baby gets closer and closer. We hadn't been to the mountains since last summer, and I always feel like I need to take advantage of their proximity while living here in Alberta.

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Banff is a very gluten-free friendly town for tourists. Here are a few of the highlights:

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We stayed at A Banff Boutique Inn, a B&B on the edge of town. I'd definitely recommend it. We got a deal on our rooms so it was a very reasonable price - not sure we could afford to stay here in the high season. It's an old house built in the 1940s, and the rooms have retained some old-fashioned charm. There are hardwood floors, big windows, and simple, classic furnishings. Our room had a cute little built-in vanity with two closets on either side. The rooms are comfortable but not big, and we were in a wing of the house with a shared shower/sink and shared separate toilet. It worked well since our friends stayed in the other room of the wing.

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The breakfast they offered was fantastic. It was continental but quite deluxe: all kinds of breads and bagels, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, fresh fruit including berries and pineapple, homemade granola bars and banana bread, cereals, nuts and dried fruit, coffee, and a good tea selection. And ... gluten-free bread and cereal! Unfortunately there was only one toaster so I didn't take a chance with the bread, but the cereal (Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise with raisins) was delicious, especially with all the nice toppings. I also enjoyed delicious chocolate mint rooibos tea from the Banff Tea Company.

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There's a wonderful bakery in Banff, Wild Flour, that sells many gluten-free baked goods. We went there twice in two days so I could sample their treats. The mint "rawreo" (in second photo above) had a delicious mint flavour, though the texture of the cookie was a bit weird - I guess that's because they're raw. The next day I tried a ginger peach muffin which was a bit dense, but otherwise really good. Sadly I didn’t feel like I could indulge in the Mexican chocolate cookie or the brownie as well. The bakery also makes a delicious cappuccino and a yummy lunch, with lots of GF options for soups and salads. And of course, there are plenty of gluten-filled baked goods and fresh-baked breads.

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We went to the Bear Street Tavern for supper because I read online that they have gluten-free pizza. I chose one with wild mushrooms, pine nuts, and pesto, which was just as delicious as it sounds. The crust was thin and crispy, with none of the beautiful puckering and air-filled holes of the gluten version, but still good. J unfortunately was disappointed with his pork belly mac and cheese, since the pork was rubbery and the flavour nothing special. But we all enjoyed the atmosphere of the place – casual and trendy.

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We also had a taste of home in Banff at Cows Ice Cream, the company from PEI. We introduced our friends to the joys of 16 percent butterfat and whimsical flavours like Gooey Mooey (burnt sugar with chocolate caramel cups) and Wowie Cowie (vanilla with english toffee swirl, chocolate flakes and Skor bits).

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When you enter the store, the intoxicating scent of freshly baked, sugary waffle cones (with just a hint of almond) hits your nose. Sadly, I can't eat the cones anymore, but my cup of Chunky Chocolate Mint was still delicious, and reminded me of summers on PEI.

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The next time we visit the mountains it will be with our baby. With our baby! I still can't quite believe it. 

2 comments:

M K H said...

Looks gorgeous, and so surprised with glutenfree options in Banff. The pizza looks delicious. I think they should keep experimenting get with gf stuff, most can be made delicious.

M K H said...

With* gf stuff.