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Why the sourdough craze has Aussie travellers dreaming of Yukon

June 2, 2020 Visit USA No Comments Email Email

Sourdough has become the baking craze of the pandemic, with countless people across the globe taking advantage of the slower pace to return to the simple things in life: decluttering the house, gardening and baking.

Whether it’s a reflection of our nostalgic desire to return to a time when life was less uncertain, or a craving for the comforting aroma of freshly baked loaf, Australians have joined the sourdough baking obsession, finding solace in the kitchen and a deep satisfaction from producing our own sustaining loaves.

Traditional sourdough is strongly associated with the gold rushes of North America, none more so than the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 in Canada’s north-west Yukon Territory.

Sourdough was an integral part of the harsh life of a miner during the Klondike Gold Rush, when food was scarce, winters were long, and having some sourdough starter and a large bag of flour could greatly increase a miner’s quality of life.

Miners would fiercely guard their precious sourdough starter, often carrying it in a pouch around their neck to keep it safe.  Even today, Yukon old-timers are still referred to as ‘sourdoughs’, with the nickname immortalised by author Robert Service in his ‘Songs of a Sourdough’.

In the Klondike today, there are people who still share sourdough starter which originally came over the Chilkoot Trail.

While we can’t yet visit the Yukon to taste genuine Klondike Sourdough first-hand, now is the time to plan the ultimate Yukon adventure and daydream about experiencing the Klondike and its rich traditions born from the gold rush era:

Read on for four of the best:

  1. One of Canada’s most historical and quirky townships, Dawson City like a movie set with its gold-rush era buildings and boardwalks. Stay at Bombay Peggy’s, a glamorous former brothel built in 1900. This beautifully restored Gold Rush inn features classic Victorian decor, antique furnishings, contemporary art and modern amenities. Stop by the adjoining pub for unique Yukon-brewed beers, a fine selection of single malt scotch, and the most creative martini menu in town.
  2. Step back to a time when thousands of miners struggled across the Chilkoot Pass and floated the Yukon River to Dawson City, surviving on stories of riches found in the creek. Gold Bottom Mine Tours offers the only authentic operating placer gold mine tour in the Klondike. Learn the art of panning in the creek and listen to the incredible stories about life in the goldfields.
  3. Now that you’re an authentic prospector, make your own golden dreams come true at Free Claim #6 where you can try your luck. Visitors are welcome to bring their own pan and take away whatever they find. Spend your winnings at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, a local gambling hall and entertainment venue in a historic building in downtown Dawson City. Catch one of three nightly can-can shows and get the real turn-of-the-century Gold Rush experience.
  4. This is one club you can’t join anywhere else on Earth. For just $5 at the Downtown Hotel Saloon, you’ll be given a shot of whiskey, complete with a severed toe.  The tradition dates back to 1973 with the mummified toe of a miner which had been amputated in the 1920s. Since then, nearly 90,000 people have joined the club simply by following this rule: YOU CAN DRINK IT FAST, YOU CAN DRINK IT SLOW – BUT THE LIPS HAVE GOTTA TOUCH THE TOE. Be brave and earn yourself the official certificate, not to mention the respect of Dawson City locals and the ultimate bragging rights back home.

As we wait for life to return to normal, why not start your own sourdough living tradition and share your starter too – pioneer style!  Click HERE for a mouth-watering Yukon Sourdough bread recipe. For something a little more decadent, click HERE to create your own delicious Sourdough Chocolate Torte.

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