Our final night in Canada took us to The Bushwakker, a famous Regina watering hole which brews its own beer. We were introduced to current manager Grant, a good friend of Tourism Saskatchewan's Shane Owen, who took us on a tour of what was once a huge Chinese laundry building.
Using only local produce and grain, his team produces millions of gallons of ale a year with titles such as MacGregor's Wee Heavy, Honey Thistle Wit, Cheryl's Blonde, Dungarvon Irish Red and Stubblejumper Pils.
There is also a huge call for Bushwakker's speciality products and especially their Blackberry Mead and Missiletow Ale at Christmas-time when there are apparently queues going right around the block. And it's not just alcohol that The Bushwakker is famous for as its huge menu features just about every kind of 'pub grub' that you can think of.
Like the rest of Canada, Saskatchewan is a vibrant combination of peoples and cultures and nowhere is this diversity better reflected than in the range of flavours and styles that come together to define the provinces cuisine.
Native Indian tribes such as Cree and Sioux are known as First Nation citizens and their traditional foods include a variety of dishes made from bison (buffalo). This healthy, low-fat meat is certainly increasing in popularity while a fried flatbread called bannock is commonly served at 'powwows' and other celebrations. Meanwhile native fruits including Saskatoon berries, chokecherries and blueberries also find their way into many dishes.
The first wave of European settlers to Canada came in the late 1800s and early 1900s, many arriving from the UK, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia and, to this day, family gatherings and restaurant menus feature hearty traditional dishes that reflect these heritages: sausage, perogies (also known by many variations including pieroshki), cabbage rolls, roasted meats and potatoes.
While Chinese-Canadian restaurants have been a staple for decades, the late 1970s saw a huge influx of new Canadians... the displaced Vietnamese boat people. Many of these families established restaurants and, as a result, Saskatchewan is blessed with an amazing array of Vietnamese dishes. And within the last ten years, a general increase in the popularity of Asian cuisine has led to a new wave of Japanese, Thai and Korean restaurants.
Today Saskatchewan’s doors remain open to new Canadians from all over the world while restaurants featuring the flavours of Italy, India, Mexico, Africa, France, Afghanistan and others allow Saskatchewanians and visitors to savour the flavours of the world.
Saskatchewan is a Canadian province that seldom gets a mention in Britain while it's certainly not on many people's radar, but believe me if my seven days there were anything to go by, then there's still so much more waiting to be discovered.
Tunnels of Moose Jaw - 18 Main St N, Moose Jaw, SK S6H 3J6, Canada Phone: +1 306-693-5261
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre - RCMP 'Depot' Division Tel: 3060780-8332
Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan - 2125 Victoria Aveue, Regina, SKS4P 0S3 Phone: +1 306-522-7691 www.radisson.com/regina-hotel-sk-s4p0s3/skregdt