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Epicurean Destination Guide to Nova Scotia, Canada
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Nova Scotia Restaurants & Nova Scotia Dining, Seafood, Food Stores & Markets

Nova Scotia can be a most delicious destination. The bounty of the land and sea keep great traditional cuisine alive and inspire new contemporary tastes. Fresh seafood lies at centre stage for many dining experiences. The fertile rolling fields, valleys and orchards yield a cornucopia of local produce to tempt your taste buds. Pick fresh apples in the Valley orchards, stomp grapes and sample wine at one of our award winning vineyards, or discover the delights of one of our many harvest celebrations and farmers markets for a true taste of Nova Scotia. Look for the Taste of Nova Scotia logo at local restaurants and food producers.

Recommended Nova Scotia Dining

An excellent general guide to what's available restaurant wise in Nova Scotia is e-dining from the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.
 
Our editors' picks follow:
 
Getting our vote for the best dining in Halifax is, we're afraid to admit, a hotel restaurant: Gio. The freshness of the ingredients and preperation, inventiveness, and well-trained staff came as a pleasant surprise after several dissapointments in this maritime capital. The ambiance is elegant but not uptight, and a bit trendy. Gio does a good job of not just being the hotel restaurant, and creating its own seperate identity.
 
The current menu may have gone a bit off the deep end towards Asian influence--didn't fusion cusine die out?--but we can forgive. A sample from the menu:

polenta

seared polenta - tomato sauce - japanese eggplant - zucchini & asparagus - tomato - goat cheese - $15

with string frites, sweet potato frites, salad or soup

bentobox

katafi shrimp - noodle salad - miso soup - pork gyoza - vegetable rice paper wrap - $14

Thai

green curry - coconut - chicken - glass noodles - julienne vegetables - bean sprouts - $14

india

shrimp - tikka curry sauce - coconut milk - flat rice noodle - snow peas - sweet peppers - red onion - cilantro - $15

with string frites, sweet potato frites, salad or soup

lobster club

nova scotia lobster - jicima & mango slaw - iceberg lettuce - galangal & tarragon mayo - $16

with string frites, sweet potato frites, salad or soup

 
1725 Market Street, just insideThe Prince George Hotel
Halifax
Tel. (902) 425-1987
 
 
 
 

Recommended Nova Scotia travel web resources:
 

Also in Halifax is jane's on the common, notable for its quality and value, promotion of local ingredients, and informal atmosphere. This is a great lunch and brunch spot.
 
jane's on the commmon
2394 Robie Street
Halifax
Tel. (902) 431-5683

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Taste of Nova Scotia is a unique, province-wide, marketing program, whose members are committed to offering the very best culinary experience Nova Scotia has to offer. There are more than 100 reasons to love the "Taste" of Nova Scotia and they can be experienced through any one of our valued members.

Each member listing in our annual Taste of Nova Scotia Culinary Experience Guide has met and is committed to maintaining the program’s quality standards for food, service and hospitality.

Southwest Nova Scotia Lobster: Best in the World

In food circles it's fairly common knowledge that Nova Scotia lobster counts among the best available, even surpassing Maine lobster. However, within Nova Scotia waters themselves, there lies a difference in the quality of lobsters caught, with the hard-shelled, Fall & Winter lobsters of Southwest Nova leading the way.
 
These are lobster caught between November and May and landed at places such as Yarmouth and Port Maitland, Nova Scotia.
 
The lobsters during winter develop a hard shell, lots of flesh, and delicious flavor in the cold North Atlantic water. At places such as SeaKist Lobster, the creatures are graded:
CULLS = Lobsters with 1 or no claws.
CHIX = .91 pounds to 1.18 pounds
QUARTERS = 1.19 pounds to 1.45 pounds
HALVES = 1.46 pounds to 1.69 pounds
3 QUARTERS = 1.70 pounds ot 1.99
SELECTS = 2.00 pounds to 2.99 pounds
3-5's = 3.00 pounds to 5.00 pounds
7 -> = 7.00 pounds and over

What to look for in lobster, from a culinary perspective? Try to find lobsters, not too big and not too small, with a hard shell. Inspect the lobster and make sure it is not beaten up--missing antennae or stubby are a good indicator--which would show a long time in storage with other lobsters. The lobster shell should be full of meat--a shell that's not full indicates lobster caught in a poor season or stored for long periods without food, i.e. wasting.

Many consider lobsters of about 1.5 - 2 lbs as the best tasting and least fibrous. The best value usually lies in larger lobsters.

Lobster is one of the most flavourful and satisfying of seafoods. It has less calories, less total fat and less cholesterol (based on 100 grams of cooked product) than lean beef; whole poached eggs; and even roasted, skinless chicken breast. Lobster is also high in amino acids; potassium and magnesium; Vitamins A, B12, B6, B3 (niacin) and B2 (riboflavin); calcium and phosphorus; iron; and zinc.


Nova Scotia to Host Inaugural World Culinary Tourism Summit in 2010

Halifax, N.S. – Nova Scotia has been chosen to host the inaugural World Culinary
Tourism Thought Leadership World Summit and Consumer Marketplace being
coordinated by the International Culinary Tourism Association (ICTA) in September 2010.
“We were competing against established culinary destinations from around the globe,”
says Janice Ruddock, executive director of Taste of Nova Scotia. “Winning the bid for
this summit confirms what we have known for a while…that our local farmers, fishermen,
chefs, winemakers and tourism partners are producing international caliber culinary
experiences for consumers.”

The 2010 Culinary Tourism Thought Leadership World Summit and Consumer
Marketplace is the first ever conference that will bring together 300 to 500 leaders of the
culinary tourism industry to discuss the state of the industry today as well as best
practices for sustaining and developing the future of the culinary tourism industry.
“The dedication to culinary tourism, this conference and participation from so many
different governing agencies within Nova Scotia made Nova Scotia an ideal pick for our
first conference,” says Casey Canevari of the International Culinary Tourism Institute.
“Pop the sparkling!”

Representatives from Taste of Nova Scotia, Winery Association of Nova Scotia (WANS),
ACOA, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, Restaurant Association of
Nova Scotia (RANS), Nova Scotia Association of Cooks & Chefs (NSACC) as well as
Slow Food Nova Scotia will make up the Nova Scotia host committee.

“As the first summit, Nova Scotia will set the bar for future world culinary tourism
conferences,” says Ruddock. “We are very excited about this opportunity but it would
have never been possible without the support and passion for culinary tourism of so
many people in this province.”

Gourmet, fireside dining at Trout Point Lodge
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Going south towards Yarmouth there's a place well worth considering for dinner or an overnight stay. It's the only Relais & Chateaux member in Nova Scotia: Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia.

The dining rooms open to the public for dinner only; Lodge guests get to enjoy breakfast and lunch as well, if they wish.

The place lies in a scenic and secluded area, next to a vast wilderness preserve, about 3 hous from Halifax, and has become somewhat of an epicurean mecca for Atlantic Canada. The food bursts with flavour and focuses on local seafood, but through the prism of two chef-proprietors who have travelled the world over and hail from New Orleans. Don't be surprised at a Saffron Lobster Risotto, Prime Rib & Celery Root Soup,  Black-eyed Pea Soup with Lamb, Red Seafood Chowder, Sesame & Dill Crusted Haddock, or North Atlantic Fish Gumbo.

However, don't think you'll get to choose your fare! Menus are not only prix-fixe but totally fixe. Dinners are 4-course with no choice unless you are a vegetarian, have religious restrictions, or have a food allergy.  Cost in 2009 was $105 per couple. They change the menu everyday and the Lodge swears that they will never serve the same dish to a guest twice.

This is the only hotel in Nova Scotia we know of that has also authored a full-fledged cookbook that received tremendous critical praise and offers culinary vacations. Trout Point Lodge features local seafood including the world's best scallops, lobster, & oysters, and grows a lot of its own vegetables, salad greens, and herbs in ever-expanding gardens.

Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia, Relais & Chateaux

189 Trout Point Road

East Kemptville, Yarmouth County

Tel. (902) 761-2142

"Not to belittle any of Trout Point’s many compelling features – fishing, hiking, canoeing, hot tub – but the main attraction is the cooking. In Trout Point’s kitchen, the province’s abundant and fresh seafood and produce come head to head with [Chef] Perret, who is on a mission to rediscover Acadian cuisine. To achieve that, he has blended local culinary lore with his own background of Cajun and Creole cookery. The results, I can report, are delicious."
Mark Shatzker,
Pure Canada

halibut_small.jpg

Onyx Restaurant
5680 Spring Garden Road
Halifax
Tel. 428-5680

Always on the lookout for good dining experiences in Halifax, we had high expectations of Onyx, sporting as it does a 4-diamond award from AAA/CAA.
 
Unfortunately, expectations were not met. The restaurant itself is pleasant and comfortable, tending towards the trendy side of things. Service was well above average, but the food fell short.
 
Almost all the dishes, from the bread to the desserts, lacked freshness and vitality. While the effort was there and presentation was pretty, it was all just more about contrivance than flavour.
 
 

Nova Scotia Food Markets & Seafood Sources

Unique in the world: Pete's Frootique

Sometimes thinking we are in a culinary no man's land, a quick stop at Pete's Frootique shores up confidence in Nova Scotia's capacities. Among the best specialty food shops around, Pete's claim to fame is the selection of quality produce from around the world.

The original location in Bedford probably beats out the Halifax store just off Spring Garden Road, but both try hard, including well-stocked deli departments, cheeses, specialty goods, pasta, and breads as well as the green grocer stuff.

1515 Dresden Row
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 4B1
Tel.  (902) 425-5700

1595 Bedford Highway, Sunnyside Mall
Bedford, Nova Scotia B4A 3Y4
Tel. (902) 835-4997

For a great seafood selection at reasonable prices: Fisherman's Market.
 
Fisherman’s Market is a diverse operation. The company is involved in every aspect of the fishery, from fishing and processing to export, retail sales and distribution. It operates numerous strategically-located buying sites/wharfs throughout the province  where catches are off-loaded and shipped by specially-designed trucks to Fisherman’s Market for processing, shipping or sale in the retail store. Fisherman’s Market has a working relationship with hundreds of fisherman as well as suppliers throughout the Maritimes, from the boat to customers tables.

The bounty served up by the sea is truly breathtaking in its variety. From shark to squid and from prawns to lobster, if it comes out of the sea, it can be found at Fisherman’s Market. No matter what you buy from Fisherman’s Market, the shop has a firm policy - 100% guaranteed customer satisfaction.

Fisherman's Market

607 Bedford Highway Halifax Nova Scotia B3M-2L6

Morgan Thornhill 
Retail and Marketing Manager

(902) 443-3474 retail store
(902) 446-3016 fax 
(902) 445-2458 ext 278 automated
morgan@fishermansmarket.com 

The Ruisseau Oyster
 
Eel Lake is a very long (about 5 miles in length) saltwater lake near St. Anne du Ruisseau, Nova Scotia, and is home to some of the best-tasting oysters in North America. Proprietor Nolan D'Eon and his family have worked since 1995 to bring these delectable creatures to world attention.
 
In the waters of Eel Lake, more than one million oysters can be found. It takes about three years for these Nova Scotia oysters to reach market size. Hard work, determination and a relentless quest for quality has made Eel Lake Oyster Farm a major producer of Atlantic Oysters that should not be missed on a visit to the province.
 
P.O. Box 185 Ste. Anne-Du-Ruisseau
Yarmouth County
Nova Scotia
B0W 2X0

Tel. 902 - 648 - 3472
nolan@ruisseauoysters.com

Nova Scotia, Canada Gourmet Dining

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