The Sundance Tipi Taco has become the stuff of legend for Winnipeg diners. Slow-roasted maple chipotle chicken gets piled high on bannock and topped with local cheddar, red onion, roasted tomato and bean and corn salsa. It’s just one of the plates that have made Feast Café Bistro the destination for Indigenous-inspired dining in Manitoba. Christa Bruneau-Guenther is the home cook turned owner and head chef of this thriving eatery. And it’s her vision that has marked its success. “As we eat together, we honour our connections, preserve our history, and share our stories. We are fed in mind, body, and spirit,” she says.
Tucked along the eastern border of Ontario, historic Haileybury is the home of L’Autochtone, an Indigenous urban style bar and grill that has found the sweet spot between traditional ingredients and modern methods. Chef Gerry Brandon’s menus start with walleye, duck and rabbit and transform them into sophisticated starters and mains. Peppered venison carpaccio has tenderloin rolled in cracked pepper, fennel, rosemary and chilli, seared, sliced and served on micro greens with roasted garlic olive oil and Parmigiana. The Colonizer Punch features Empress Gin and delicious St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
At Tea Horse Teas in Northwestern Ontario, the iconic ingredient of wild rice is transformed into a soothing sip. Traditionally harvested wild rice, sourced directly from lakes in the area, is roasted then combined with selected teas to create three custom blends. Denise Atkinson and Marc H. Bohémier are committed to purchasing non-cultivated, natural wild rice and supporting Indigenous harvesters to preserve Indigenous food sovereignty and the ecosystem in which it grows. Among their offers is ManoominCha Dark, a blend of hojicha, a roasted green tea, and wild rice to create a complex and full-bodied mocha-flavoured experience.
For more than a decade, Restaurant Sagamité has been transforming traditional ingredients into Michelin-worthy meals at this Quebec City institution. Cold smoked trout, venison in puff pastry and a parmentier of wild turkey—a casserole of leeks, potatoes, Perigord sauce and candied cranberries—are just a sampling of the snug space that encourages conversations over fine food. Named for the squash, corn and red bean soup with game that’s at the heart of Wendat culinary culture, Niva and Steeve Wadohandik Gros-Louis continue to lead the Indigenous culinary charge.
Indigenous World Winery draws on the rich lands of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys to bring world-class British Columbia wines to the table. The province’s first fully Indigenous-owned winery is courtesy of Robert and Bernice Louie who have found a way to connect the ancient Okanagan Syilx culture with the region’s thriving wine scene. The Hee-Hee-Tel-Kin Red blend, named for their youngest son Trenton features notes of cloves, sweet plums and vanilla. The traditional name of the wine translates into a mystical high-country stag with large antlers.
In Osoyoos, British Columbia, the hot, long and dry summers make for excellent vineyards. And it’s here that North America’s first Indigenous-owned winery was born. Nk’Mip Cellars celebrates a passion for nature by showcasing both the landscape and the products it produces. Wine tastings, show-stopping dinners and an ever-growing list of awards underlines an undeniable love of the land. Their estate wine, Qwam Qwmt (pronounced kw-em kw-empt), translates to achieving excellence and is produced in very limited quantities sourced primarily from the finest grapes grown on the 40-year old Inkameep Vineyards.