eat drink & be local

12 Days of YEG: Eat, Drink & Be Local This Holiday Season

Food and drink have the power to bring people and communities together, from holidays and celebrations to times of crisis. In a year filled with both, our local restaurants and businesses have risen to the challenge time and time again this year to adapt to constantly changing restrictions and priorities as we battle Covid-19 in Alberta. 

A lot of traditional holiday experiences involve food. With so many unable to spend time with loved ones over the holiday this year, consider instead treating them (or yourself!) to a great meal or a tasty treat

Many of our favorite pubs, breweries, and local eateries had no choice but to let staff go indefinitely, with many owners facing a number of operational uncertainties and some even having to close their doors permanently. If you can this holiday season, consider giving back to those that have been doing the best they can to feed our community in a time when it has been anything but business as usual. 

We are bursting with ideas on how to show some local goodness to your favourite breweries, restaurants, cafes and more! 

The first, most obvious answer, is to order your food and dinks locally this holiday season. But also consider purchasing a gift card for you or someone you know. Gift cards don’t expire, and they give local business owners much needed operating cash upfront. Or, gift someone with a tasty care package of all your favourite local treats.

Combine your favourite local goodies for a festive holiday feast (Biera)

Start your mornings local 

See if you’ve been to all the local cafes and coffee shops listed in our Local Goodness Project back in May (including some details on great local roasters if you prefer making your coffee at home these days). For breakfast check out another article all about local bakeries (with a fascinating side of labour movement history, too!)

Where to eat local

If we started to list all our favourite local restaurants and eateries, we would be here all day. Plus, we want to hear from YOU on all your favourite local gems to support this season. But in case you need a little inspiration, start here…

  • Linda Hoang’s blog is full of local foodie tips and stories.
  • Check out #EatWithMeYEG’s comprehensive list of Edmonton restaurants 
  • Sonic has been sharing their own series on supporting local this season, check out the sweet treats section, and pick up some other inspiration to shop local in YEG. 
  • Give the gift of nourishment while supporting local by gifting someone a box of local food, in the style of YEGbox, or take inspiration from Biera’s holiday market packages, or Mewleys DIY charcuterie boards.
  • If you’re enjoying the extra time at home for cooking, you can support local when getting your groceries to support local food producers and vendors. Plus, consider your local farmers market – some are even offering online sales and contactless pickup. Uproot Collective is also a great alternative to markets right now.
  • Try out the Holiday Cultural Boxes from Edmonton Eats and cook traditional multicultural meals with their recipe kits (pssst – one lucky winner will get the celebration box as a prize for participating in our  #12DaysofYEG!)

Cheers to local drinks!

Like restaurants, local breweries have had to quickly pivot to online sales and local deliveries. Here’s a short list we created with local breweries offering online ordering, and delivery around Edmonton. If we want to be able to continue enjoying these local beverages once the crisis has lifted, we have to support them through these tough times as well. 

Looking for non-alcohol ways to support these businesses? Buy some product from local distillers Strathcona Spirits, who rose to solve the issue of hand sanitizer shortages by creating a hand sanitizer from an alcohol waste by-product that abides by the World Health Organization’s standards. Help reduce waste and  keep yourself safe all while supporting local. Or, for a non-alcoholic beverage, check out YEG’s own boocha.

Analog Brewery preparing holiday gift pack doorstep deliveries

We encourage you to walk, cycle, or drive to pick up directly from these businesses whenever you can. Take some time to research how third-party delivery apps gouge local businesses, and consider the privileges afforded to those who have the ability to spend their money this way. Typically, third-party apps like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes take around a 30% cut from the sale of local restaurants. Instead, try calling the restaurant directly for take-out or pick-up options, or check out their websites and social media pages for updates. You can even check out this list from Avenue Edmonton to see some of the many places offering their own local delivery, without third party price gouging. 

Of course, don’t forget to show your support by tipping generously when you can. In addition to providing a sense of gratitude at this challenging time, this may also help workers offset additional costs associated with working at this time to protect their personal safety. 

Volunteers with local non-profit provide meals to improve food security – primarily to Edmonton’s Afro-Canadian, Indigenous and newcomer communities. (CBC)

While on the topic of food, consider how Covid-19 has meant that record numbers of Edmontonians are relying on food security services like the Edmonton Food Bank and Meals on Wheels and help ensure those in our community who need food security the most are getting it. Also, look how CANAVUA has come together to feed those in need with the help of a food truck this year!

Even in a year of social distancing, a good meal has the power to connect people, make memories, and warm hearts. Coordinate a nice local dinner with special online events or show releases, or host a virtual ‘happy hour’ with your friends this holiday season. 

Be sure to tell us all about your favourite local eats and drinks! Share on your social media with the hashtag #12DaysofYEG and you’ll be entered to win a celebration box from Edmonton Eats!

More from 12 Days of YEG:

Support Your Local Community this Holiday Season

Sustainability During the Holiday Season

Support Local on Any Budget This Holiday Season