Calgary gourmands wooed by Quebec producers at high-end food event

Quebec is hoping Alberta could be its next big market for high-end food as a type of trade mission drew about 200 interested buyers in Calgary on Wednesday.

Vendor Alana Caldarola with Première Moisson, an artisan bakery, says it's about getting their product out there and seeing if Calgary is a good fit.

"For us, it's really been our first step here in Calgary and so far I would say the response has been fantastic," said Caldarola.

"Today's number one goal is just understand what the needs of Calgary are and getting into food service and retailers first."

Fourteen food producers hoped to connect with about 200 high-end food and restaurant buyers and chefs at the first Rendez-vous Gourmet Québec in Calgary, which is hosted in part by the Quebec government.

Tony James of Calgary-based Worldwide Specialty Foods Ltd. was one of the organizers.

He says the Calgary market has evolved in recent decades.

"There is a growing demand for these types of products," said James.

"People have begun to travel more. When I came to Calgary, the demographic was a lot older. Now we are a young, vibrant city. We are a little prairie town that has grown up. We are now a vibrant, cultural centre. We have got young people who truly appreciate fine food, wine, good restaurants and Quebec has products that fill that demand."

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