Savour a gourmet getaway in Canada
Admit it: Our country is beautiful, but seeing the landscape isn’t the only way to enjoy its diversity. When it comes to great food, we grow it, catch it and make it into something special. From farm visits to food festivals, give your sense of taste a workout this season.
Here are a few getaway ideas to tempt your taste buds.
Master seafood cookery in Nova Scotia
When it comes to savouring fresh seafood, you can’t beat our coastal provinces. One destination in particular is getting the nod from the likes of Forbes Traveler, Bon Appétit and Condé Nast: Trout Point Lodge. This eco-friendly resort offers a unique dining experience with creations made from local seafood and ingredients grown on site.
However, if you’d like to bring a taste of the local delights (not to mention the local culture) home with you, get ready for some hands-on experience. The Trout Point Cooking & Wine School offers classes in cheeses and cheese making, Mediterranean cuisine, wine and food pairing and everything seafood — from selecting the freshest ingredients to curing and Creole/Cajun cookery.
Culinary vacation packages start at $799/person and include two nights’ accommodation, cooking classes, field trips and all meals. For more details, see Troutpoint.com
Festival hop in New Brunswick
Salmon, lobster, chocolate, maple syrup, fiddleheads, fresh fruit… It’s possible to eat your way through the province without breaking your healthy eating habits (though some “bending” may be in order). Not only does New Brunswick have a bevy of local foods, the area also boasts a combination of cultures — including Acadien, First Nations, Scottish and Irish — making for a nice blend of food and cultural festivals throughout the summer months.
Here’s a look at some of this year’s events:
Grand Falls Regional Potato Festival, Grand Falls/Grand-Sault, June 26-July 4
Campbellton Salmon Festival, Campbellton, June 27-July 4
Shediac Lobster Festival, Shediac, July 7-11
Fisheries and Aquaculture Festival, Shippagan, July 10-18
Northampton Strawberry Festival, Northampton, July 11
Festival des mollusques, Bouctouche, July 11-18
Richibucto Scallop Festival, Richibucto, July 14-18
Canada’s Irish Festival on the Miramichi, Miramichi, July 15-18
Saint-Léolin Corn Festival, Saint-Léolin, July 28-August 1
Chocolate Fest, St. Stephen, August 1-7
Winegarden Open Air Wine Festival, Baie Verte, August 8
Atlantic Seafood Festival, Moncton, August 19-21
While you’re there, don’t forget to try some of the local ingredients like fiddleheads and dulse, a hand-picked and dried seaweed.
For more information, visit TourismNewBrunswick.com.
Sip your way through the Niagara Region, Ontario
Thanks to it’s unique climate, the Niagara Region is a prime spot for growing fruit — especially the kind that ends up in long-neck bottles. With ongoing events like the Shaw Festival and more than two dozen wineries to explore, the region is the perfect place to test your palate.
If you’re looking for more than just a tour, many of the wineries host special events throughout the summer months, including seminars, gourmet food and wine packages and their own themed festivals. Make sure to mark June 12-27 on your calendar too: that’s when you can get your first taste of 2009’s vintages at the Niagara New Vintage Festival. Enjoy outdoor parties, educational wine tastings and wine food pairing events.
If you can’t make it in the spring, try harvest season instead with the Niagara Wine Festival, September 17-26.
To celebrate other local fruits, try the Beamsville Strawberry Festival (June 19),
For more information, visit Tourism Niagara.
Tour local flavours in Charlevoix, Quebec
Looking for a road trip idea? Drive the Flavour Trail through Charlevoix. (And by “drive”, we mean learn about, sample and stock up your car with local delights). The culinary expectations are high in this area — and local producers and chefs rise to the challenge. Enjoy fresh baked goods and luscious desserts at a boulangerie, snack on local produce on the farm and feast on locally made cheeses, wines and chocolate.
If you need to work off some of that rich fare, then the area’s diverse landscape offers a variety of outdoor experiences. Take a hike in one of the national parks in the Mountains Region, like Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie, or stroll along the trails along the edge of the St. Lawrence River. For a more active vacation, work in some kayaking, horse back riding or cycling — or hit the links at one of the picture-perfect golf courses in the area.
For more information, visit Toursime-Charlevoix.com.
Go local and organic in Victoria, British Columbia
If you love fresh, organic and local foods then Vancouver Island is the place to head this summer to celebrate the farm-to-table trend. Located just outside Victoria, Fairburn Farm offers Summer Saturday Cooking Classes with renowned chef Mara Jernigan. The full-day classes aren’t your typical fare — they start in the garden gathering fresh ingredients and end with a tasty meal you’ve prepared. (And yes, you get to take home the recipes!) For a longer stay, rent a room in the Guest House, or book a cottage stay. (Visit www.fairburnfarm.bc.ca for details.)
If your idea of a summer getaway involves letting someone else do the cooking, take in a festival instead. This year, Victoria’s first annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine will take place July 15-18. Sample locally-grown foods and wines, and learn about these tasty choices from the people who produce them.
Of course, farm visits, winery tours and dining at one of the many fine restaurants will fit into just about any itinerary. For more information, visit TourismVictoria.com.
Hungry yet? These ideas are just a few of the many tempting adventures and events you’ll find here in Canada. Even if your travels keep you close to home, look for events and attractions in your area to keep your taste buds happy this season.
Know of a destination or event you’d like to share? Post it in the comments.
Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Tatiana Makarova