Alberta Pantry: Savoury edible gifts to give and get

Canada Tea by VitalyTeas

Fanta Camera’s Edmonton-based tea company started with Canada Chai, a concentrate sweetened with Alberta honey and Quebec maple sugar. VitalyTeas has expanded into a caffeine-free chai (made with roasted chicory) an unsweetened chai concentrate and carefully sourced green, white and black teas. “My grandmother was a medicine woman in Mali, West Africa,” she says. “ I was accustomed to seeing her treat with herbs. I’ve always been interested in the properties of herbs and botanicals.

“The Canada teas are made with herbs from Chickadee Farms, an organic farm north of Edmonton on the banks of the Pembina River,” Fanta says.

“Why would I buy Egyptian chamomile when I can create continuity by doing business locally?”

We love not only how fabulous Fanta’s blends taste, we love that she is completely transparent in her sourcing.

Find VitalyTeas at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market, Save on Foods, Organic Box, Carbon Boutique and in restaurants. Canada Teas, 15 pyramidal tea bags, $10.

Bacon by Brad

R&D chef Brad Smoliak’s delicious new condiment is a treat to slather on burgers, or layer puff pastry for a quick and easy appetizer to have with drinks, or to eat on your toast. Bacon by Brad is a sweet/savoury blend of Alberta-raised pork bacon, onions, maple syrup, and spices, similar in texture to a jam or marmalade. “l love bacon,” says Brad, “and this makes bacon easy— you don’t have to fry it, the flavours are already there, throw it in grilled cheese, or in a pasta.”

Find it at Save-On Foods, and at on his website Bacon by Brad, 125ml, $9.

Blue Kettle Ginger Dressing and Dipping Sauce

“The ginger dressing is our number one product,” says co-owner Carol Olivieri. It’s easy to taste why. The versatile mayonnaise-based sauce packs a wallop of savoury ginger flavour. Glaze pork, chicken or seafood, or use as a dip with steak, salmon or steamed vegetables. Blue Kettle started with three products in 2000. Now they produce 15, not bad for two sisters and a batch of salsa. Find at Bon Ton Bakery, Italian Centre Shops, Paddy’s Cheese, Sandy View, Acme Meat Market. Check out their website.

Blue Kettle Ginger Dressing and Dipping Sauce, 350 mL, $7.

Food You Can Cook Puerto Sweet Chile Sauce

Not your mama’s chile sauce — this jelly packs a punch. The balanced sweet/hot flavours (in three spice levels) wake up a ham sandwich or add allure to a simple grilled cheese. Personal chef Elaine Wilson of Allium Food Works has developed a tasty line of herb and spice blends, sauces, marinades and curry bases. As much as the Puerto jelly is Mexican in inspiration, Elaine purchases most of the peppers and other ingredients she needs at Doefs’s and the Italian Centre. Available at the City Hall Saturday Market.

Puerto Sweet Chili Sauce, 125 mL, $5.

Zinter Brown Mulling Spice

We are never without Pomegranate Pepper Pot, loving its zingy kick on charcuterie boards or cheese plates. The Onion and Bacon Jamboree makes a wonderful dip for chicken satay. (Did you know that savoury jams are not allowed to use the word jam in Canada? It’s reserved for jams made with fruit. Go figure.) “Our mulling spice was huge last Christmas,” says owner Joanne Zinter. “We’re introducing tangerine, and a zesty cranberry. Mulling spice is versatile: poach pears, or add organic apple juice and gin for a lovely punch.” Zinter Brown Mulling Spice Mix, 100g, (makes 10 L) $6. Available at the Italian Centre Shops, Sandyview Farms in the Enjoy Centre, Sunterra, Save on Foods.