These delicious little dumplings have transcended their historical roots and people from all walks of life claim perogies as the perfect prairie food.
What’s In a Perogy?
Perogies are a traditional food that originated in the Ukraine, Poland, and around Eastern Europe. Traditionally, perogies (also spelled pierogi, pyrogi, pyrohy and a number of other ways) are dumplings filled with savoury or sweet filling and boiled or fried.
Most savory perogies in Alberta are stuffed with mashed potato along with onions, cheddar cheese, or cottage cheese. They are often topped with butter, sour cream, bacon bits and sauteed onions.
Sweet perogies are commonly filled with blueberries or other seasonal fruit. The sweet versions don’t contain mashed potatoes and the filling is similar to pie filling. Sweet perogies, like the blueberry perogies found at The Loft in Spruce Grove west of Edmonton, are often served on the breakfast menus around Alberta.
How Did Perogies Come to Alberta?
Between 1891 and 1914, many Ukrainians immigrated to Alberta in order to take advantage of the vast farmland available on the prairies. Since then, Alberta has been the destination for multiple waves of Ukrainian immigrants. Canada is now home to the third largest Ukrainian population in the world (after the Ukraine itself and Russia).
Luckily for Albertans, Ukrainian immigrants brought their traditional Eastern European recipes with them. Since perogies are made with ingredients that are readily produced on the prairies, it makes sense that this incredibly convenient food has become a staple for people of all backgrounds across the province.
The Largest Perogy
The Village of Glendon, located about two hours north of Edmonton, is home to the world’s largest perogy. Visitors can find this 7.6 meter high sculpture of Alberta’s favourite food on Perogy Drive in the heart of the village. Glendon also celebrates the popular dish at their annual Perogy Festival that is held on the Labour Day long weekend at Perogy Park.
While in Glendon, check out Bistro 56 for their signature perogy dishes. Perogy Wreck is a delicious plate of Ukrainian fare that includes perogies, fried cabbage, garlic sausage, onions. Perogy lasagna features perogies baked in a creamy dill sauce.
Orthodox Churches Serving Up the Best Perogies in the Province
Though it may seem like an unlikely place to get a great meal, Orthodox churches around Alberta have been serving up some of the best perogies outside of Eastern Europe for decades. They have become so renowned for their incredible dishes that churches like St. Anthony Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Edmonton actually sell perogies and other Ukrainian delights through their church website. Perogies are available hot and ready for pick up on designated “Pyrohy Dinner Nights,” or can be purchased frozen.
Tasting Across the Province
The search for the best perogies in Alberta could take a lifetime. From the hidden gems that are produced in church basements around the province to speciality perogy restaurants like Baba Kay’s Perogies in Calgary, perogies are one of the most readily available foods around. Albertans are definitely lucky to have such a delicious taste of Eastern Europe everywhere they go.