Fall getaway : Food / Wine

Halifax, NS

Halifax, Nova Scotia, CanadaGo east for good wine, great food and generous hospitality.

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DAY ONE
Morning

A mere hour’s drive from Halifax is the UNESCO town of Lunenberg. Home of the Blue Nose II, this small community delivers more than one would expect given its population of less than 2,500. If you happen to be there on a Thursday, stop into the year-round farmers’ market to see what the locals have on offer. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, rent a bike from the Rhumb Line Lunenberg Bike Shop [https://lunenburgbikeshop.com] and hop onto the Rum Runners Trail for the first leg, only 11 kilometres, and learn about the new super berry haskapa and sample their wares (jams, syrups, chutney) at Haskapa [https://haskapa.com] in neighbouring Mahone Bay.

 Afternoon

Sure, for years it’s been all about Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital. But just over the bridge is a city that’s been often forgotten. Dartmouth, once the ugly duckling, has in recent years attracted restauranteurs and brewers that have helped to revitalize the city. But to find its true heart, head back to one of the original must-visit spots, John’s Lunch [https://johnslunch.com]. Said to have the best fish and chips in Canada, this small eatery near the ferry terminal is a must for lunch, east coast style.

For the last meal of the day, head to Halifax’s Bar Kismet [https://barkismet.com]. The intimate atmosphere is the perfect place for the delicate flavours that come out of the kitchen, paired with the cocktail genius from behind the bar. Chef and co-owner Annie Brace-Lavoie comes into her own after years in Canada’s major kitchens including Bar Isabel, Buca and Joe Beef, and her co-owner Jenner Cormier brings his magic to the bar and front-of-house.

SLEEP

DAY TWO

Grab a rental car and head north out-of-town to Wolfville to check out Devour: The Food Film Fest [https://devourfest.com](October 23-28, 2018), the world’s largest film and food festival. Last year’s festival included over 60 films and excursions like “The Bubble Bus” which took participants on a tasting tour of the regions finest sparkling wine makers (L’Acadie Vineyards and Benjamin Bridge), “The Everything Apple Express” a guided cider tasting at the Annapolis Cider Company with a tour through the orchards and a stop at Noggins Corner Farm Market, and “The Devour Street Food Party” to sample local fare.

Not in town during the festival? Explore the offerings of the region on your own! Drop into Barrelling Tide Distillery [http://www.barrellingtidedistillery.com/location] in Port Williams for a tipple of their vodka, gin or rum. Or try one of their fruit liquors for a little something sweet. And a trip to the area wouldn’t be complete without stopping in to this Annapolis Valley institution — Just Us! Coffee Roasters. The first fair trade roasters in all of Canada, Just Us! have been around for over 20 years and have a location in Wolfville, just down the road from Grand Pré where they’ve had a home since 2005. If you’re peckish, check out the casual Mediterranean fare at Troy [https://www.troyrestaurant.ca], right in Wolfville.

SLEEP

DAY THREE
Morning

A true sensory feast, the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market [https://www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com] is the perfect place to start the day. Established in 1750 and still running as the oldest continuously operating market in North America, today it boasts over 250 vendors and is an excellent spot to get a sense of what the food scene in Hali is about. For a morning nosh, check out Chenpapa’s for steam buns, and Bramoso for breakfast pizza. Bon appetit!

Afternoon

Propeller Brewery [http://www.drinkpropeller.ca] turned 20 last year and is a must-stop in the city’s north end. Located in the now trendy north-end neighbourhood, the brewery offers tours where you can see where they make their perfectly hoppy IPA and crisp pilsner. Don’t drink? Indulge in their non-alcoholic natural sodas — ginger beer and root beer.

For your final meal, stay in the north end and head to Edna [http://ednarestaurant.com]. With an impressive wine list and ever-changing seasonal menu, the 5-year-old resto stays on top of its game and doesn’t disappoint. The brainchild of Jenna Moore (who is the daughter of Jane Wright from iconic Halifax resto Jane’s on the Common), Edna doesn’t take reservations, so you may have to wait for a table, but the large bar at the front of the resto provides an excellent vantage point to people watch in the meantime.

UNTIL NEXT TIME.

Quebec City, QC

Canada, Quebec, Quebec City, Rue St LouisWith streets steeped in history and innovation, it’s no wonder Quebec City offers the best of old and new for a foodie’s palate.

 

 

 

 

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DAY ONE
Morning

A grocery store may not be at the top of everyone’s list when thinking about compelling hot spots, but J.A. Moisan [http://jamoisan.com/en/ja-moisan-en/] is not to be missed. The oldest grocery store in North America, this gourmet food store offers prepared foods to grab and go, alongside some of the province’s best artisanal treats.

Afternoon

La Barberie [http://labarberie.com], a cooperative microbrewery, has been making craft beers since the late 1990s, making it a pioneer and the one to “beat”. With no less than 8 beers on tap at any given time, a flight of their brews will give you a sense of their full menu. If you’re feeling peckish, you can bring in your own snacks to go with the beer. La Barberie offers the use of a toaster oven, microwaves, plates, cutlery and menus for nearby restaurants. Small, intimate, local and full of life, L’Affair Est Ketchup [https://www.facebook.com/laffaireest.ketchup/] is a gem. With only 8 tables and an open kitchen at the back, it’s no wonder it was a favourite stop when Anthony Bourdain last breezed through town. An ever-changing menu, it is fantastically delicious, well considered and slightly sophisticated fare in a super casual environment. A beautiful paring.

SLEEP

DAY TWO
Morning and Afternoon

Buying local is not only on trend, but an important part of how stores stock their shelves and restaurants fill their larders in the province of Quebec. And while food is produced everywhere throughout the province, there is no region quite as prolific as Charlevoix. Rent a car and head north east to experience some of the best cheeses in the world from Maison Maurice Dufour [http://famillemigneron.com], local honey and mushrooms, foie gras from La ferme Basque de Charlevoix [http://www.lafermebasque.ca] and Omerto [https://omerto.com/en], a local tomato wine.

To celebrate the bounty of the region, the 18th Gala des Grands Chefs will be held at the end of October (26, 27) at Le Manoir Richelieu. The highlight of the culinary events in Charlevoix, top chefs participate in the two-day celebration of all things food. And at the beginning of November from the 2nd to the 4th, in Baie-Saint-Paul, the food film festival Cuisine Cinéma et Confidences [https://www.cuisine-cinema-et-confidences.com] hits the big screens to honour the fabulousness of food.

SLEEP

DAY THREE
Morning

Head to the Champlain neighbourhood for an excellent view and great food to start the day off right at Cochon Dingue [http://www.cochondingue.com/#/english]. What started in 1979 as a single restaurant has now blossomed into five, dotted throughout the city. Take a seat at the original resto and order the traditional French toast made with brioche, and of course served with maple syrup.

After your belly is full, head to Île d’Orleans and enjoy two of the region’s most innovative vineyards. Cassis Monna & Filles [http://www.cassismonna.com/fr] has been using black currants since their vineyard opened 25 years ago to make everything from Crème de Cassis to their fortified port-style wine called Capiteux. And Vignoble Sainte-Pétronille’s [http://vs-p.ca] famous white fortified wine is the perfect pairing for an after-meal cheese plate.

 Afternoon

Chez Gaston Casse Croute [https://www.facebook.com/chezgaston.quebec]. Poutine. The Best. Mic drop.

End your stay in Quebec City with a traditional Quebecoise meal at Aux Ancien Canadiens [http://www.auxancienscanadiens.qc.ca/en/index.htm], open since 1966. Menu options include the expected caribou, tourtiere, duck confit, smoked bison, and of course grandmother’s pea soup. Despite the enduring menu, the quality is fresh and the flavours current.

UNTIL NEXT TIME.

Saskatoon, SK

Sunset over the City of SaskatoonDubbed the Paris of the Prairies, this Saskatchewan city is making a name for itself when it comes to the quality food and drink.

 

 

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ARRIVE

DAY ONE
Morning

Open at the very civilized hour of 10am throughout most of the week, the open-all-year-round Saskatoon Farmers Market [https://www.saskatoonfarmersmarket.com] is an important first-stop when it comes to experiencing the food renaissance in the region. Stop in to see Rachel Buhler from Floating Gardens and learn about their innovative growing techniques that produce in season veggies by the bushel full, and don’t miss Last Mountain Distillery, Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery.

Afternoon

Post lunch, take your culinary discovery all the way back to the source with Farm One Forty [http://www.farmoneforty.ca] and their customizable farm tours. Located 15 minutes outside of the city, the 1.5-hour tour will give you a chance to see a working farm up close and learn how your food makes it from farm to table.Finish up the day at Primal [http://primalpasta.ca]. Owned and operated by Kyle Michael and Christie Peters, the same two chefs behind The Hollows, Primal uses Saskatchewan heritage grains in their house-made pastas, and are committed to delivering a nose-to-tail dining experience.

SLEEP

DAY TWO
Late Morning

If you have to rent a car for only this reason, it is well worth it to be able to order perogies from the world’s only drive-up perogie window. Housed in a nondescript one-story grey brick industrial building, Baba’s Homestyle Perogies [https://babasperogies.com] has been feeding folks for over 30 years. Over the course of their three decades in business, they have perfected their hand-pinched perogies that they serve with sour cream, bacon bits and fried onions, of course.

Afternoon

Lucky Bastard Distillers [https://luckybastard.ca], located in the city’s North Industrial neighbourhood, offers tours of their facility where you can learn about their process. At six years old, Lucky Bastard produces vodka, gin, rum and a single malt, as well as a selection of liqueurs and two bitters, including Bowman’s Bacon Bettah Bitters.

Learn to cook like a local chef at The Local Kitchen [https://www.thelocalkitchenyxe.com/cooking-classes]. Their mandate is to connect people through their love of food and they’ve been doing it non-stop since the opening at the beginning of 2017. Every month The Local offers classes taught by local chefs that help take the at home cook to the next level. Last fall/winter season offered classes including “Sausage Making for Hunting Season” and “Gnocchi”. Book in advance to ensure your spot.

SLEEP

DAY THREE
Late Morning

Not quite Chicago deep dish, and miles away from thin-crust, Saskatoon pizza has a style all its own. Toppings stacked on top of each other create a sandwich type effect between the thick layer of cheese and bottom crust. Not for the faint of heart, grab a slice at one of the pizzerias around town. Try one of the three Vern’s [https://www.vernspizza.com] locations for the real deal.

Afternoon

Prairie Sun Brewery [http://www.prairiesun.ca] is about “delicious beer and local ingredients”, just what you want in a craft brewery. Regularly on offer is their lager, ale, red ale, and porter that has a “slightly sweet toffee flavour and is a perfect balance to the roasty and bitter chocolate notes.” Stop by the facility to learn how they perfect their brews and sample some of their season offerings.

End the day at Ayden Kitchen and Bar [http://www.aydenkitchenandbar.com]. Chef Dale MacKay, co-Chef Nathan Guggenheimer, Mixologist Christopher Cho and Head Chef Benet Hunt make sure that your senses are satisfied from the moment you arrive. Start with a signature cocktail and enjoy the dinner menu, carefully considered to highlight global influences, while still featuring some of the region’s best ingredients.

UNTIL NEXT TIME