While people used to visit ranches for the western experience of riding, roping and outdoor campfires, these days it is just as likely to be excellent food that draws them. Montana cuisine has evolved significantly, and one fine example is the Ranch at Rock Creek near Philipsburg. Executive chef at the ranch, Josh Drage, said that travellers want to feel like they have experienced the places they visit through the food they eat. “Guests savour their stay through all their senses, whether it’s the soothing sound of Rock Creek outside their room, the feel of a fly rod in the hands or the taste of locally-produced bacon”, he said.
Drage utilises local ingredients and serves dishes that guests may not have tried before, such as morel mushrooms and elk.
The Montana Office of Tourism recently launched a new marketing campaign focused on food and introduced a food truck called the Montana Mercantile which is visiting key cities including Chicago, Seattle and Minneapolis.
“This is basically a food truck that is done up to resemble an old western store front,” said Dan Iverson, public information officer for the Montana Office of Tourism.
The truck gives away free buffalo jerky and huckleberry ice cream. “We can actually give them a taste of Montana,” Iverson said. www.theranchatrockcreek.com