Culture & Entertainment

Tasteful travel on the Rocky Mountaineer

By: Doug O'Neill
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Tasteful travel on the Rocky Mountaineer

By: Doug O'Neill
It's the honest-to-goodness truth: It is indeed possible to eat a meal on a moving train that's so lavish it actually competes with the stunning scenery outside the window. You read it here. That’s a common conundrum on the Rocky Mountaineer, the deluxe train service that takes passengers through the Canadian West: Do I take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to admire that snow-capped mountain peak looming over the Cariboo Mountain range in the distance or, instead, devote my rapt attention to the beautifully-set dinner in front of me of fresh B.C. Salmon and black prawns and exquisite barley risotto complete with white linen, fine cutlery and British Columbia wine? Aye, there's the rub.

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Crossing the Canadian West in style and comfort on the Rocky Mountaineer

The best part about travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer is that if you do happen to divert your attention from the passing scenery even for a moment (or a mouthful), there are plenty more stunning vistas coming down the line. There's no rush, no hurry on this locomotive. At 50 kilometres (30 miles) per hour, the scenic rail journey is conducive to sitting back, enjoying the ride and allowing your mind – and well-fed imagination to wander. As a good friend said after his holiday on the Rocky Mountaineer, "Somehow they managed the perfect synchronicity between the golden glow of a Rocky Mountain sunset and the burnt-gold hue of an oh-so perfect crème brulee." Now that, my friends, is poetry in motion. The Gold Leaf Service on the Rocky Mountaineer reflects a commitment to service – on whatever route you take, be it First Passage to the West (Vancouver – Lake Louise - Banff) or Rainforest to Gold Rush (Whistler – Jasper). Rocky Mountaineer

Chef's specialty: Crème brûlée (Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer)

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Wild BC Sockeye Salmon (Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer)

The Rocky Mountaineer rail journeys can take you through temperate rainforests, semi-arid desert, lush green forests, past cascading waterfalls, aquamarine lakes, glacier-capped mountain tops – and chances are you'll catch sight of big-horn sheep, eagles, bears and deer, to name a smattering of the wildlife roaming the wilds of Western Canada, and which you can easily spot from your comfortable recliner in the glass-domed viewing car. Black Tiger Prawns 063

Black Tiger prawns (Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer)

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Sir Sanford Fleming Eggs Benedict (Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer)

Like me, you're probably wondering how they manage to serve up such gourmet meals from a galley kitchen? Two words: talent and innovation. The executive chefs onboard the Rocky Mountaineer earn their stripes in hotels and resorts around the world. "We train and train and train some more," says Executive Chef Jean Pierre Guerin. "It's my mission to make the food as exquisite as the scenery – and that's no small task."  The mandate on the “Rocky” is to use as many local, in-season ingredients as possible. In Western Canada, this means Alberta beef, Pacific salmon and wines from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The Rocky Mountaineer culinary team, led by Executive Chefs Jean Pierre Guerin and Frederic Couton, has reproduced some of their best recipes in an easy-to-follow cookbook titled “Eat Play Love: Regionally Inspired Cuisine.” 013-3-0234

Service and scenery go hand-in-hand on the Rocky Mountaineer

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Memories and photographs, the makings of a bucket-list holiday (Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer)

  A sampling from the Rocky Mountaineer menu:Roasted Rocky Mountain Elk Loin (served in a reduction of pinot noir and wild honey with jalapeno cornbread) • Lightly Roasted Wild BC Sockeye Salmon (with shaved fennel slaw, vegetable salad and mustard seed vinaigrette) • Creamy Canadian Barley RisottoSpinach & Cascade Mountain Porcini Mushroom QuicheBraised Alberta Beef Short Ribs (simmered in Okanagan Valley Merlot and served with horseradish-mashed potatoes) Just as you would the unforgettable scenery, you'll want to snap a photograph of the food to take home with you – one more reason to get the cookbook, or better yet, book your train holiday. Visit www.rockymountaineer.com.
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Tasteful travel on the Rocky Mountaineer

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