Anohka Distillery looks forward to Alberta on the Plate

· The Pulse

The award-winning Anohka Distillery in Parkland County is participating for the first time in Alberta on the Plate, a 10-day celebration of local food and drink.

"We're pretty excited about it because that was the reason we started the distillery ... I was looking around, and we produce all of these raw ingredients here," said owner Gurpreet Ranu, noting that Alberta's barley and wheat tend to be exported and then sold back to us in value-added products instead of being processed here.

His "farm to flask" distillery uses malt sourced in Alix and barley harvested within 500 km. It won the best Canadian London dry gin at the World Gin Awards, and its aged whisky won gold at the International Wine and Spirits competition in London.

Anohka is one of a dozen Edmonton-area restaurants and distilleries participating in the fourth annual Alberta on the Plate, a "dine around festival" that runs from Aug. 12 to 21, coinciding with Open Farm Days and overlapping with Alberta Local Food Week.

The other local participants include HomeRoom Diner in Devon and Rig Hand Distillery in Nisku, as well as several restaurants in Edmonton. They're among more than 100 restaurants in 25 communities throughout Alberta.

Two peaked metal structures in front of a stand of trees, with a big sky above

Anohka Distillery at 53124 Highway 770 in Parkland County is one of a dozen Edmonton-area participants in this year's Alberta on the Plate festival. (Alberta on the Plate)

Full-service establishments will feature multi-course menus, while quick-service restaurants will offer drink-and-snack pairings or signature Alberta dishes, said Rheannon Green, director of finer details for Food Tourism Strategies.

"We noticed an area of opportunity to bring the farm story into the restaurants, so consumers can celebrate these farms and producers right in the restaurant," she said, calling a dynamic restaurant scene "an important part of making Alberta not only a great place to live but a great tourist destination as well."

There will be daily giveaways on the Alberta on the Plate Instagram account, and diners are encouraged to share their experiences using the hashtag #ABonthePlate.

The event also raises awareness among those who make the food that local sources are available.

"We have heard from our establishments that these are extremely valuable, as one of the main hurdles for chefs and restaurateurs is finding time to source new ingredients," Green said.

Ranu is looking forward to welcoming visitors to his distillery, which is south of Highway 16 between Stony Plain and Wabamun.

"We are going to be serving burgers and hot dogs this weekend because we can't offer a regular menu," Ranu said. "But they're all from local producers. So there's somebody that makes burgers and hot dogs on their farm, literally two minutes from the distillery."