Canadian Cuisine: New Brunswick

Fish market sign in Alma, New Brunswick
Photo By Natalia Bratslavsky

Florenceville-Bristol is “The French Fry Capital of the World.” This is the home of McCain Foods Limited. They say that, “One in every three French fries in the world is a McCain fry.” There are plenty of potatoes here. A typical dinner in New Brunswick may be steak and potatoes, and for dessert, blueberry pie. However, lobster is abundant, as are soft shell clams. “Lobster is celebrated at high-end restaurants around the world,” asserts Chef Chris Aerni (Rossmount Inn). “But that’s our food in very casual restaurants.” He tells me that everyone has his own way of making a lobster roll, and every grandmother has her own chowder recipe. Grilled oysters, scallops, halibut and haddock are also typical, but fishing here is highly seasonal.

Acadian Sturgeon provides local restaurateurs two local species of caviar: Atlantic Sturgeon, which is the only wild caviar harvested in the world, and Short Nose Sturgeon, a rare genetic varietal. These are prized across Canada and around the world. Chefs here are also foragers, collecting cattails, fiddleheads and goose tongue greens by the shore. Dulce is also popular. There is a strong tradition of pickling. Beets and beet greens are pickled, and a classic recipe is Lady Ashburnham pickled relish using mustard. Maple syrup and wild blueberries are essentials, as well as the tradition of baking bread with molasses. Crosby’s Molasses, on shelves across Canada, has been operating out of Saint John since 1879. While much of the local cuisine in New Brunswick is ingredient driven, the Acadian side of the province enjoys traditional recipes like Ploye, pancakes made from buckwheat flour, as well as Poutine Râpée, boiled potato dumpling with a pork filling.

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