Wild Game Meals
Another group meal option in Bismarck offers visitors the chance to taste the types of wild game that are native to North Dakota.
Although some local restaurants carry wild game on their menus, the CVB generally works with local caterers to prepare wild game meals featuring pheasant, venison, duck, goose, grouse or partridge, all served with wild rice or squash, for tour groups or convention groups. Caterers don’t use locally hunted game — the food comes from a food service provider — but they try to give each meal the feel of an authentic wild game feed.
A similar type of meal is available featuring the state’s wide array of native fish, such as salmon, walleye, bass and northern pike, which is North Dakota’s state fish.
Showcasing Diverse Heritage
The CVB also works with local caterers to provide ethnic meals that showcase different aspects of North Dakota’s history and heritage.
European immigrants, primarily Norwegians and Germans, made their way to North Dakota in the late 1800s, lured by the promise of 160 acres under the Homestead Act.
Although today the entire state has fewer than 700,000 residents, about 47 percent of those are of German descent, and one-third of the population is Norwegian.
A custom catered German meal can include anything from homemade German potato salad to a traditional German meat pie called “fleischkuekle.” The dish is similar to a turnover and is made by stuffing pastry dough with seasoned hamburger and onions, then deep-frying it.
“It’s definitely not low-calorie,” Horner said with a laugh. “When we host a street fair, that’s one of the more popular items.”
Before any European immigrants or fur traders stepped foot in the region, the Dakota territory was home to several Native American tribes, among them the Chippewa, the Cheyenne, the Mandan, the Hidatsa and the Assiniboine.
Native American-themed group meals typically include buffalo meat, corn-meal-based dishes and a range of vegetables, usually with a variety of squashes, Horner said.
No trip to North Dakota would be complete without a taste of some lean, grass-fed buffalo meat.
The Bismarck-Mandan CVB arranges group meals that showcase buffalo meat, which often comes from buffalo raised on nearby ranches. The meat can be cooked many different ways: buried in a coal-filled pit, roasted on a spit or tenderized in a smoker.