After a relaxing day at sea on the Veendam we arrive in Charlottetown, PEI the birthplace of Canada. First stop just down the road from the cruise terminal is the newly renovated Merchantman Pub. Literally putting on the finishing touches like decks and interior furnishings, Chef Adam was still ready and able to sit with me and share some of the island’s highlights, their oysters. Lucky limes, raspberry points, pickle points and shiny seas all went down easily and without any need for condiments. Smooth, salty and even creamy I just wanted more and more. Chef Adam is very excited to be able to showcase some of PEI’s best seafood. He sources locally and growing up with a father who was and still does farming, he knows how to get the absolute best. If you love seafood you might want to head over to Charlottetown September 12- 15th when they hold their famous shellfish festival including an oyster shucking championship. (I can’t even shuck one!)
Next it was to head out on a lobster boat to hear all about PEI lobstering but on the way, we passed a restaurant that my guide Corryn said serves 23 different types of poutine. If you haven’t heard of poutine, it’s a decadent Canadian dish made with french fries, gravy and cheese curds. In this case, imagine that concoction along with turkey and stuffing or pulled pork, or chili. Eating about 1/4 of what was served was more than enough. I had the turkey and it was just as if I had a full Thanksgiving meal (minus the cranberry sauce.)
Somehow, on very full stomachs, it was off on the boat to hear all about lobsters. There are 2 lobster seasons on PEI and we were in the midst of the first one. You have to really respect these fishermen/women who brave hurricane force winds at times to haul in these tasty creatures.
What better way to finish off our day than a visit and tasting at Prince Edward Island Brewery. Using only all natural ingredients, they brew hand crafted ales, lagers and limited edition beers. I tried 2 of their newer ones, the lobster ale and blueberry ale. The lobster ale was slightly bubbly, citrusy and fresh and was quite like having a light sparkling wine. The blueberry ale is unfiltered and made with local Canadian blueberries. The initial taste is subtle and light and just after swallowing you get that hint of fresh blueberries that is so delicious. Definitely not sweet as you might expect. There was also a mango ale that was again, light and refreshing and the Island red, an amber ale with lots of caramel and a slightly bitter finish (a bit bitter for my taste but would go very well with certain foods.) That reminds me, I had been told about one of the area’s most popular snacks called Cow Chips that are chocolate covered potato chips and it seems are very addictive. I found some at the brewery and picked at them while having my tasting. Yes, they were addictive and I am thankful that I only had the small bag. I am sure these can be bought online if you want to try some too.
It was a sunny, fun-filled and very tasty day in Charlottetown. Off to Nova Scotia!
Cheers and all the best,