Food and Travels13 Sep 2009 06:14 pm

While Mike has gone hiking several times this summer and been able to spend quite a bit of time in the mountains, I have not spent time (save for road trip pee breaks) in the mountains for nearly three years! I really enjoy hiking and back country camping, but a mix of needing new hiking boots, working weird hours and finishing school really disabled me from hiking much the past few years.

That all changed last week, I’m glad to say. Mike and I went on a two night back country hiking trip in Yoho National Park, near Field, B.C. We left early Wednesday morning, and drove about six hours in total to arrive in Field.

On the way there, we stopped at Valbella Gourmet Foods in Canmore. Valbella meats are something I have longed to have access to for a long time. Many stores in Calgary sell their products, but in Edmonton, only Sunterra does. Some downtown, but more at the southside location. Here is a list of all their retail partners.

Valbella does smoked meats well, with a specific interest in game meats and European style dried meats and sausages. We got some landjaeger and pepperoni on the way in, and on the way out, stopped for a snack of pâté.

There are also pre-made sandwiches, deli meats and other snacks available. Valbella is the perfect spot to stop before your Canmore or Banff area dayhike!

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Cooler of sausages, bacon and dried meats.

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One of our afternoon snacks. The landjaeger on the left. It’s popular with hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts as it does not require refrigeration. It’s got a hearty texture, and is protein rich. Both sausages were great picks. We ate them with aged cheddar and crackers.

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Crackers and the gourmet variety of pâté. Valbella has some picnic tables near to their store which we ate under. You can smell the smokehouse, and see the mountains. Great combo!

On the way home, we also stopped at the legendary Donut Mill on Gasoline Alley in Red Deer. You can’t miss it; it’s the huge windmill next to the huge teapot. For years I wrongly thought this might be a cheesily themed low rent diner with sad donuts. So wrong!

Sour cream glazed, foreground. Background, Venetian Cream and Vanilla Lemon, both filled donuts.

The Donut Mill makes dozens of interesting filled and classic donuts, all fresh. Sadly, many of their most popular selections are often out of stock. It’s a busy place, popular with tour buses and families. A dozen runs $7.50, and a half dozen $5.50. They have special deals on 5 dozen or more. There are also delicious sandwiches and soups, stews and chilis.

Valbella Gourmet Foods
104 Elk Run Boulevard
Canmore, Alberta
Mon – Fri 8am – 6pm, Sat 9am – 5pm. Closed Sundays.

Donut Mill
Highway 2 South (Gasoline Alley exit)
Red Deer, Alberta
5am – 11pm daily

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