Nova Scotia is renowned for its outstanding quality of seafood and fish: lobster, scallops, oysters, mussels, Cape Breton snow crab and Atlantic salmon. Seafood chowder is ubiquitous, and every menu has its own distinct recipe. Along the Chowder Trail chefs offer a multitude of unique interpretations, typically thickened with potatoes rather than a roux or cream. Chefs love the quality and mystique of a Digby scallop; cooking with halibut; and in kitchens across Halifax there is a return to seaweed; a rediscovery of dulce that is definitive of the region. Nova Scotia is recognized around the world for its dulce. In fact, when dining in Tokyo, don’t be surprised if the seaweed or kelp on your plate is from Canada! Hana Tsunomata from Acadian Seaplants is muti-coloured dulce that is like seaweed, elevated.
A growing wine industry is gaining international acclaim: L’Acadie Blanc is the quintessential grape and pairs naturally with seafood. Also prominent: sparkling wines, apple wine, maple wine, and even single malt whisky aged in Icewine barrels. Local specialties include the donair, oat cakes, and the lobster roll. Nova Scotia’s cuisine is seasonal and Farmer’s Market driven. The first apple tree in Canada was planted here, and so apples are abundant, as are wild blueberries, and the new-to- the-scene, potent haskap berry. High quality game meats like lamb and duck also very popular.
Typical Acadian dishes include Rappie Pie or Salt Cod Beignets; and Chicken Fricot, a chicken stew with a big dumpling, is enjoying a renaissance. For Chef Michael Howell (Devour! The Food Film Fest), nothing sings of Nova Scotia more than a lobster roll with lemon zest and chives on a toasted bun served with a potato salad and some Tidal Bay wine; or mussels smoked or cooked with pine needles. “There’s something synergistic about having a lobster mushroom in Nova Scotia,” he enthuses. Dining out in Halifax reflects an eclectic and cosmopolitan food culture from land to sea.