Christmas Tree Hunt Day of Adventures - What's better than one adventure in a day? Three adventures of course! Our annual Christmas Tree hunt is a family tradition. We typically drive about 1.5 hours west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to find a spot in search of the perfect tree to cut for Christmas. Finding our Christmas tree by lunch time we decided to add to our adventure with a little foodsploring (food + exploring = foodsploring) at Java and Gems Get Stuffed Restaurant in Gainford. After which, we capped off the evening with a visit to Anohka Distillery for a tasting and tour experience.
An annual Christmas Tree hunt makes for a fun family tradition. Beyond the experience of creating a nostalgic Christmas family tradition, real trees are simply more magical. Personally, I love the way the pine needles make the house smell like Christmas. In Alberta, a permit is required for cutting down trees on Crown Land. We choose a new ornament for the tree each year to commemorate an adventure, a vacation or a milestone. This year we chose a canoe ornament to remember our Maligne Lake Backcountry Canoe Camping Trip.
We had worked up quite an appetite during our recent Christmas Tree Hunt Day of Adventures and were looking for a place to grab lunch. Having driven by several times we noticed that the Gainford Hotel had re-opened. And each time we passed there were lots of cars outside. Thinking that must mean that the new business was good we decided to stop and check it out. There are two business open currently open in the Gainford Hotel. The first is Java and Gems Get Stuffed. It is a cute little restaurant and gift shop. The second is the Iron Lady Saloon. After spending the morning outside, we grabbed a seat in Java and Gems Get Stuffed and ordered the homemade coconut chicken soup. Get Stuffed also makes homemade pie. Powerless to resist that, we ordered the homemade blueberry pie. Our lunch at Java and Gems Get Stuffed as a perfect stop after cutting down a Christmas tree.
The next stop on our Christmas Tree Hunt Day of Adventures was at Anohka Distillery in Parkland Country. It is Alberta's newest craft distillery. Having been in operation for 2 years now, it was high time that we stopped in to check it out. Anohka is a farm to flask craft distillery that offers tastings, tours, and a restaurant service light fare.
The menu looks amazing; however, we had just finished lunch so our Anohka food tasting experience will have to wait until next time. However, we did try a couple of cocktails. Anohka makes three award winning spirits, two gins and one peat-based spirit called Not-a-Whisky. Because, in Canada, a whisky must age a minimum of three years and Not-a-Whisky is younger than this limit. Since Anohka Distillery is currently known for its gins, we decided to try two gin cocktails. The two cocktails that we ordered to share were the Highway 770 and the L-Train. We enjoyed both.
Gurpreet Ranu, owner of Anohka Distillery took us on a free tour of the facility. His vision for Anohka Distillery is to redefine the Canadian spirit's game. This is achieved by using old-world distilling practices combined with the latest in science and technology. Anohka Distillery uses 55 botanicals from around the world to make their gin. To create their Tempest Gin, they use ten times more botanicals than is typical resulting in a gin that lives up to its name by producing a storm of flavours with each sip.
Anohka Distillery believes in supporting local business. The grains used to create their spirits are sourced from within 500km of the distillery. Beyond sourcing local ingredients, the people at Anohka also believe in supporting local artisans. While we were visiting, they were hosting a Christmas Market featuring the works of local artists.
An annual Christmas Tree Hunt Day of Adventures is a fun family tradition made even better by adding on a few other adventures to the day. Having enjoyed the adding lunch at Java and Gems Get stuffed in Gainford and a cocktail at Anohka Distillery in Parkland County, I think we will make these permanent additions to our annual Christmas Tree Hunting Family Tradition.
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