Nova Scotia has opened its doors to the world with Tall Ships 2012, a celebration of our seafaring heritage, but you can’t have a celebration without food, right? Some of Nova Scotia’s best and most inventive restaurants and producers are involved in this year’s Food Fare by the Sea, celebrating the unique culinary landscape of our province.
From July 19-23, vendors will offer their wares to the public, along with cooking demonstrations by Nova Scotia’s culinary stars, and special guests Chuck Hughes and Anna Olson from Food Network Canada.
Your intrepid correspondent will be seeing and sampling as much as her stomach will hold, and will report back on the delicious findings.
Entering through a lobster trap, I was immediately starving and indecisive, among far too many tasty options for one meal (a great reason to come back to the Food Fare a few times over the weekend).
At the same time, I was distracted by the delicious details of a cooking lesson on the Catch Seafood Stage, where chefs are offering sessions every hour about how to prepare and serve Nova Scotia’s finest seafood. In the few hours I was on site, I watched a delicious lobster dish being prepared, as well as an instructive food and wine pairing for Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia’s signature appellation.
My own Food Fare by the Sea experience started the best possible way on a hot, sunny day: a nice cold drink. The feature cocktail of the Food Fare, the “Rogue Wave,” is a brilliant creation by the gang at Scanway Catering and Saege featuring Propeller Ginger Beer and Ironworks Distillery rum.
Fortified by the Rogue Wave, just like sailors in the good ol’ days, it was time to explore the Food Fare further. There are lots of ways to approach it – appetizers, entrées, desserts, beverages, but one piece of advice is essential: go with an empty stomach, because one stop will not be enough.
While you’re working your way through Food Fare by the Sea, be sure to fill out a ballot with each food or non-alcoholic beverage purchase (excluding water) for a grand prize draw courtesy of Air Canada Cargo: two return Air Canada airfares, valid for anywhere in North America Air Canada flies, except Hawaii.
There are so many great lunch and dinner selections; you’ll want to bring people with you so you can share many, many more meals. It goes without saying there is a lot of great Nova Scotia seafood on the menu.
Harbour City Bar and Grill has a flavourful seafood chowder. Brooklyn Warehouse is offering up fish cake burgers, White Point Beach Resort has their famous fish cakes, while Saltscapes Restaurant has seafood wraps (and landlubber fare). If traditional fish and chips are more your style, Victoria Co-op Fisheries is the place for you. If you came to Nova Scotia for the lobster, several vendors are offering their unique take on a lobster roll, or just go for a whole lobster dinner from Clearwater Seafoods.
If seafood isn’t what you had in mind, check out Meadowbrook Meat Market’s pulled pork, sausages, or “Jimmy dogs.” Grand Pré Winery has German-style bratwurst to go along with their award-winning wines. Stop by King’s Produce Processing for lighter fare like sandwiches, salads, fruit and veggie plates.
To see how locally-sourced ingredients enhance authentic Szechuan cuisine, seek out Chinese food from Cheelin. Likewise, for fresh, locally-inspired gourmet pizzas, go no further than Bramoso Gourmet Pizzeria. Finally, I’ve already had a sneak peek taste of Fid Resto’s slow roasted pork on a baguette. With its delicious toppings and “heat” options from mild to spicy, it’s one more way to beat the heat!
It’s supposed to be sunny and beautiful all weekend – so you will certainly need something to cool off. Cape Breton Resorts is offering up a delicious selection of gelato and Scanway is also offering dessert with their famous waffles.
If you can’t decide, but want something sweet, swing by the Sugah! and Rum Runners tent for some fun, tasty treats including rum cake pops and their ice cold slushies made with Beep!, the classic breakfast drink from Farmers Dairy.
Finally, take care of your thirst with sodas from Propeller Brewing Company, strawberry lemonade from Scanway, or something more “grown-up” from Scanway at the FEED NOVA SCOTIA Beer & Wine Garden featuring Ironworks, Propeller, or Grand Pré Winery.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the great food and beverage options at Food Fare by the Sea. Stay tuned for updates from the Food Fare as I delve into even more offerings, or better yet, head down and see and eat for yourself.
The Taste of Nova Scotia Food Fare by the Sea runs from Thursday, July 19 to Monday, July 23, 2012. Food Fare is open from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and from 11 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Monday.
If the Food Fare by the Sea is your first experience with Nova Scotia cuisine, fret not. You can keep the food fare going all summer long by following the Taste of Nova Scotia Chowder Trail and finding unique seafood chowders across the province. You can also download the Adventures in Taste app through the Apple iTunes store.