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Trout Point Lodge Cookbook: Creole Cuisine from New Orleans to Nova Scotia
"The classes cover many seafood basics, from how to tell whether fish and shellfish are fresh to which kitchen equipment
you’ll need for a range of cooking processes, including grilling and salt-baking. In addition, the chefs are eager to
demonstrate advanced methods—such as tea-smoking—which you’ll probably never use in your closet-size New
York kitchen but are fun to learn nonetheless. I picked up several fundamentals of Cajun cooking, like the "holy trinity"
(a mix of chopped onion, garlic and celery that’s at the heart of many recipes) and how to make different kinds of roux.
One of the most useful skills I acquired was how to properly cut an onion so that you end up with uniform pieces, rather than
giant chunks and tiny slivers.
The lodge also provides plentiful nonfood activities. It sits between the Tusket and Napier Rivers, and is equipped with
canoes and an al fresco hot tub. A substantial garden grows many of the lodge’s vegetables, and those visitors with
ambitious culinary plans for when they return home can take notes while examining the smokehouse, typically filled with hunks
of fish. And the abundant hiking trails provide opportunities for idyllic wandering between meals."
Kate Williams, Time Out New York, May, 2006
click here for the Trout Point Lodge brochure
|Cooking class in the Trout Point kitchen
The Nova Scotia Seafood Cooking School has received recommendations from Food & Wine, Harrowsmith Country Life, and
Canadian Geographic among many others.
The allure of Nova Scotia's great lodge & guide tradition
From far and wide the
inveterate globetrotters came to Nova Scotia, Canada in the early half of the 20th century, drawn by the spirit of adventure,
exploration, and the enjoyment of pristine and uncharted nature. Bankers & industrialists joined the likes of Amelia Earhart,
Ernest Hemingway, Franklin Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Zane Grey, and America's finest adventure travel writer, Albert Paine Bigelow,
as they flocked to the southern tip of this maritime peninsula, landing at Yarmouth and then proceeding inland.
The Grand and Markland Hotels, the Lakeside Inn, and Birchdale, Braemar, and Bayview Lodges awaited their paying
summer guests who boarded the stocky Boston-Yarmouth steamers in that great age of adventure travel. Others founded private
family clubs, like the Ardnamuchan, or built secluded lodges of their own like the Argyle, where many a lobser bake and soiree
fêted the rich and famous who came to the annual World Tuna Fishing Championship on the coast.
|A cabin at Birchdale Lodge
The word "lodge" itself in the sense of a "hunter's cabin" came into use in the 15th century, with origins going back to French and German words for arbor or shelter
of foliage.Lodges were always places of attunement with nature. Akin to their southerly neighbors in the Adirondacks, the
Nova Scotia lodges were intentionally rustic but comfortable and gracious dwellings built from hand-hewn logs, stone foundations,
and rought-cut timbers. Here, without contact with the outside world of hustle and bustle, the globetrotters relaxed: "The
spell of the forest and the chase gripped me body and soul. Only these things were worth while. Nothing else mattered nothing
else existed." From: Albert Bigelow Paine, The Tent Dwellers
The heart of it all—the frontier territory—was the Tobeatic, sometime called the « empty quarter
» of Nova Scotia, a terrain left unto itself by the last glaciers. Etched, rocky, and rough with upland bogs, erratics, deadwaters,
pools, and chutes, giant boulders and granite barrens the area was always best accessible by water routes, often up the river.
Here moose, black bear, bald eagles, snapping turtles, brook trout, porcupines, and flyying squirrels far outnumber any human
denizens. Local canoeist Andy Smith describes his respect for the Tobeatic thusly:
the Tobeatic is addressed with profound reverence, in hushed, respectful tones, quietly, softly, in deference
to all the ghosts she harbors, and to all who have ever paddled her caramel waters, walked her granite face and wizened vegetation,
and felt her forbidding and sometimes inhospitable remoteness.
Some travelled further afield, to places like Milford House and Kejimikujik, however the majority centered themselves
around Yarmouth County and Argyle Muncipality with its famous Tusket River, a place where backwoods French Acadian, New England
Planters, and MicMac Indians blended culture and traditions. Some relaxed at the
shore or the nearby woodlands & lakes, near the Town of Yarmouth itself. The brave at heart, though, ventured across the
countryside by carriage to the edge of the seemingluy impenetrable Acadian forests, where the rivers became the highways.
As Michael McAdam of the Atlantic Salmon Federation has written:
her myriad lakes and tributaries fed an ever-widening stream that flowed through muskeg-laden meadows and rolling
thickets of spruce and poplar overseen by giant flat-top pines. Shards of "old man's beard" hung from the hemlock and tamarack
that lined her granite banks and her waters took on their characteristic peat stain as she picked up each tarn and brook on
her seaward course. Moose grazed in her bogs and wetland meadows and local fishermen packed thousands of barrels of salted
gaspereau (or "kiacks" as they are known on Nova Scotia's South Shore) each year for shipment to the New England states. .
. . And from those same New England states, and New York, to southwestern Nova Scotia came tbe sports; the rich and the famous.
Baseball's legendary Babe Ruth fished her waters for the large salmon which returned, virtually unmolested, to her upstream
spawning gravel each summer.
In villages like Kemptville, guiding became a major enterprise for generations of local men, while the woman
cooked and tended to the guest quarters.These were old-time backwoodsmen who knew the rivers, lakes, and trails and fishing
was the primary pursuit, with a little hunting too. One could sportfish for tuna off Wedgeport one day, and retreat to the
Tobeatic Wilderness for fly fishing the next. As early as the 1900s, Nova Scotia had grown a reputation that drew the adventurous
"Tell me about it, Eddie," ; I said. "Where are you going, this time?" Then
he unfolded to me a marvelous plan. It was a place in Nova Scotia he had been there once before, only, this time he was going
a different route, farther into the wilderness, the deep unknown, somewhere even the guides had never been. From: Albert Bigelow
Paine, The Tent Dwellers, 1908.
Peter and Lewis Vacon, local Acadian French guides, hosted Babe Ruth as he fished and camped on the Tusket.
Salmon and trout drew the enthusiasts for hours of fly casting, canoeing, and exploring. In a community where story-telling
is a favourite stoveside pastime, there is the oft-told tale of one of Babe's favourite wake-up exercises while ensconced
at Billy Lovitt's nearby woodland camp. After an evening of cards, yarns and Jack Daniels, Babe and the guides would retire
to be "up and at 'em" by dawn. The Babe would tiptoe outside at 3 or 4 a.m. and discharge both barrels of his 12-gauge Remington
into the air. Out would spill the guides, Peter and Louis, swearing in French and struggling to get their pants and shoes
on as they careened out of the doorway. Never a man to sleep more than a few hours at a time, Babe would then rack the shotgun,
march back into the cabin and make everyone breakfast as they waited for the dawn, muttering to themselves as the big slugger
grinned over the stove.
After World War II, the Grand Hotel, Braemar Lodge, and the Markland became, over time, distant memories, each
having suffered fires. The Boston steamers stopped running. Birchdale Lodge shifted to private hands, having most recently
served as a Carmelite Monastery, and the Lakeside Inn was converted to a retirement home.
In 1998, though, the Province of Nova Scotia declared the Tobeatic Wilderness a vast protected area. And with
the new millenium, a new Lodge opened on the banks of the very Tusket River where Babe Ruth had once sojourned with his Acadian
guides. Trout Point Lodge brings back the glory and romanticism of the Golden Era of Nova Scotia Great Lodges. An architectural
master piece made from giant Eastern Spruce logs, chiseled granite and sandstone, with full scribe notch and dovetail joinery,
Trout Point's owners built the Lodge in celebration of the local Great Lodge tradition.