What's in our guide to Banff :
Banff food scene goes off
By Michelle Pentz Glave Canadian Tourism Commission
Ryan Rivard puts passion on the plate at The Bison.
Ryan and Camilla Rivard’s baby is one year old. It’s not the bouncing, bundled kind, though. The couple’s dear one is a bison. Or, to be more specific, The Bison Mountain Bistro and General Store, a white hot restaurant and gourmet grocery named after two 6,000-year-old skulls discovered on the site during excavation. Set in cowtown gone glam Banff, AB, the 74-seat eatery is clearly a labour of love, and you can taste the passion in every bite.
“Banff is finally growing up as far as cuisine goes,” says Rivard, a former chef and cheesemonger. “It’s hard to do local, but it’s getting easier.”
That may be because the Bison’s continental divide coordinates allow Rivard to pluck the best comestibles from both the Pacific and the Prairies—such as Alberta beef, charcuterie and extra virgin canola oil, British Columbia hedgehog mushrooms and Saskatchewan bison. In the general store, which channels epicurean goodies à la Dean and Deluca, you’ll find Denman Island (BC) chocolates, Raincoast Crisps, house grainy mustard and smoked tomato ketchup, bison jerky, BC fireweed honey, dried cherries and Okanagan pears, duck liver paté, Kicking Horse Coffee, plus a gleaming counter packed with specialty cheeses along the lines of Sylvan Star’s Grizzly Gouda—a dry, rich, naturally hickory smoked, 14 month old stunner.
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