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When you think of Alaska, it’s likely you picture an icy world of crystal water and formidable glaciers, or perhaps wildlife such as bears and moose roaming amongst thick forests. It’s exactly these natural landscapes which provide Alaska with such an abundance of locally grown ingredients.
In this post, we’ll be introducing you to some of Alaska’s traditional delicacies and craft beverages it’s worth working up an appetite for.
You can’t discuss Alaskan food without mentioning salmon. There are five types of salmon found on Alaska’s coasts and rivers during the summer: red (sockeye), king (chinook), chum (dog), pink (humpys) and silver (coho). It’s served in a variety of ways, from smoked with eggs in the morning or in a seafood chowder, to grilled with fresh vegetables for a main course. Alaskan salmon is incredibly good for you, too, as it contains omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Introducing Alaskan street food: reindeer dogs. A sausage made up of reindeer or caribou is topped with cooked onions (usually fried in Coca Cola) and a dollop of ketchup, and served in a burger bun. It’s the perfect thing to warm you up on chilly walks through Anchorage. You’ll likely find the taste similar to vension, only a little milder and less gamey.
Snow crab is harvested during the winter, from the Bering Sea. It’s typically a little smaller than king crab, and is known for its sweet, flavoursome leg meat. Snow crab gets its name from the cooking process, as the scarlet red meat turns a snowy white when exposed to high heat. Enjoy your snow crab with garlic butter and fresh vegetables.
Experience the frozen treat like you’ve never tasted it before. Eskimo ice cream, also known as aqutak or agutuk, is made by combining animal fat (usually reindeer), seal oil, snow and wild berries. If you fancy whipping some up at home, you can substitute the animal products for vegetable shortening, which will produce the same thick and creamy consistency.
If you’re craving something sweet for dessert, you can’t go far wrong with a baked Alaska. It contains slices of soft sponge cake and ice cream within a meringue shell, which is then baked or blow-torched to brown it.
It’s said to have been created when it was served by New York’s Delmonico’s Restaurant to celebrate the sale of Alaska in 1867, but has been around in one form or another since the early 19th century.
There are two main types of shrimp you’ll find in menus in Alaska. The first, Spot Shrimp, is uncommonly large, growing up to a foot in length. They’re known for their sweet flavour when fresh, and are filling enough that you’ll only need a couple. Side Striped Shrimp live in the deep ocean, and while they’re smaller than Spot Shrimp, they’re just as sweet.
Enjoy them on a seafood platter with smoked salmon, scallops and halibut, or stir-fried with plenty of veg and noodles. Have them grilled with garlic butter for a delicious and simple snack.
Alaska’s reputation for craft beer is becoming increasingly well-known. Most of the micro-breweries can be found in Anchorage. The Anchorage Brewing Company opened in 2011 and has a taproom where you can sample the goods.
If it’s sours and fruit beers you’re into, don’t miss Turnagain Brewing. Using their own wild cultures and local raspberries, they’ve created framboise beers to tempt your taste-buds.
Take advantage of Alaska’s abundance of wild berries with a hearty and comforting cobbler. There are over 50 types of wild berries to try in Alaska, and so a cobbler is a delicious way of sampling different varieties at the same time. Common varieties include raspberries, crowberries, blueberries and lingonberries. All they need for their sharp flavours to shine is some creamy vanilla ice cream.
Try Alaska’s mouth-watering cuisine for yourself. Browse our Alaskan cruises to find your ideal itinerary – and remember to bring your appetite.
In such a richly diverse country, where do you start? We’ve put together our top picks to help inspire your next Italian cruise.
Athens is packed full of world-class galleries as well as outdoor sculptures and art boutiques. Find out more here.
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