National Post – Exotic Canada: Alberta souvenir news you can use

Nathalie Atkinson | Jun 30, 2011 2:59 PM ET

2011 06 30 NP AlbertaPut a Ring On It  The unusually hued Ammolite is Alberta’s official gemstone, mined in communities such as Canmore, and its colorations can vary from red to violet thanks to light refraction. The cheerful rainbow stone can be found in many gift shops, but for more contemporary, understated baubles, check out Coup (as in coup de foudre, or love at first sight) garment boutique in Edmonton, set among the independent shops and cafés in the historical Warehouse District on the downtown 4th Street Promenade. The new shop carries such westerly designers as Obakki, from Vancouver, and local jewellery such as Cara Cotter’s So Pretty line (coupboutique.com).

Do-Si-Do It  Howdy, pardner! Three generations of the Gerwing family have crafted custom and ready-to-wear traditional Western boots for both everyday folk and visiting dignitaries (like Prince Charles back in 1977 and now newlyweds Wills and Kate, this weekend). At their Alberta Boot Company shop and showroom, they also make the famous red Strathcona dress police boots for the Mounties, (at 50 50th Ave. S. in Calgary, albertaboot.com). Cowgirls in the know opt for pairs featuring the Edmonton stitch, a curvy butterfly pattern. Handmade boots only get better with age, but the best place to start breaking them in is a two-step at Cowboys, the local country bar.

Wear It  Architect by day and fashion designer by night, Lara Presber opened her namesake style boutique last year. Her modernist, intellectual womenswear designs are inspired by interesting structures and sculpture and just one of the handful of local designers who are part of the Fashion Central hub in downtown Calgary (8th Avenue Southwest and Stephen, fashioncentral.ca). The community includes a collaborative vintage shop and local label Motek Clothing’s more casual funky attire.

Eat It  Since 1983, cacao fanatics across the country have flocked to the confections of master chocolatier Bernard Callebaut, the great-grandson of Belgian chocolatier Eugenius Callebaut. You can bring a sweet souvenir boîte home thanks to the several locations of Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut peppered across the province (there are 10 in Calgary alone). Callebaut’s flavour pairings are inventive (the Canadienne truffle mixes maple syrup with white chocolate ganache) and you can stock up on baking bars, jars of his signature Karamel sauce or select assorted truffles like moccachino and cinnamon ginger in a custom ballotin.

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