This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Coming soon: road tripping in Cape Breton with all the lobster! The photo above is from the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.
If it were possible to unravel the coastline of Nova Scotia, it is said that it would stretch across Canada. This can’t be true when you look at the map but it is indicative of the length of coastline that there is to explore of the Eastern Canadian province and it makes for a terrific road trip. Almost an island, but not quite, the coast line of Nova Scotia clinging on to the side of Canada, almost like a hinge.
I love Nova Scotia, I have been several times to see friends. I love the easy charm of the place, the friendly people, the vibrant local wines (particularly the sparkling and white wines) and the produce. It reminds me so much of home, yet it is different. The accent is similar yet different. The seafood is so good. Lobster and scallops are in abundance and very affordable, you see both in roadside diners wherever you stop.
Food and drinks at Obladee in Halifax
Start off in Halifax and treat yourself to a couple of nights there. My favourite place to stop is Obladee wine bar, and – full disclosure – it is owned by my good friend Heather. What she has created here is the best of what she loved when she lived in the UK and explored Europe, but with a distinct Nova Scotian flavour. Obladee serves the best of Nova Scotian and Canadian wines, and international wines too. Themed wine flights change weekly, and the food served by chef Brock is very good. The menu changes, on my recent visit I adored the chicken and wild rice soup and reuben sandwich. The toutiere pie with spiced minced pork within gorgeous flaky pastry was so good I returned the next day to have it again. The goat’s milk chocolate fudge is an essential finish.
Donair and beef brisket tacos at Field Guide in Halifax
A trip to Halifax demands a kebab, sorry, a donair. An evolution of the doner kebab, specific to Halifax and now Maritime Canada generally, the donair is a beef kebab, sliced like a doner, and served with donair sauce, a sweet garlicky sauce made of evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar and garlic. King of Donair claim to have invented it, and that is still a favourite for locals to go to. Field Guide in Halifax are doing an upmarket interpretation which I loved, more of a donair sausage served in a steamed bao. Field Guide is a lovely contemporary space serving excellent food. I loved the beef brisket tacos with housemade tortillas also. I had some local wine that night but the cocktail list looks well worth exploring.
Hit the Maple
Heading out of Halifax make Sugar Moon Farm your first stop. Sugar Moon is a small independent maple farm focussed on making maple syrup (and you can see that in action if there in season), they also have a lovely restaurant space and do an excellent brunch. Local sausages and bacon are divine, and they are deservedly proud of their pancakes. Maple Tonic is a must on a cold day (maple syrup, lemon juice, hot water and cayenne), which you can upgrade to a Maple Toddy with a shot of white rum. I had try the Irish Maple Coffee, a Sugar Moon coffee with Irish whiskey and a maple sugar rimmed glass.
Baked eggs with ham and cheese, Irish coffee and the fabulous sausages and bacon at Sugar Moon Farm
Cook Up Some Lobster with the Kilted Chef
Chef Alain Bosse is the culinary ambassador for Atlantic Canada, and runs excellent and fun cooking classes from his home in Pictou. We made gorgeous lobster rolls using fresh cooked lobster in the traditional rolls that you get in Eastern Canada. The rolls are not round rolls like we are used to, but have cut sides, which crisp beautifully when you grill them before filling them up. We also made lobster caesars, and if you don’t know what a caesar is yet, may I suggest that it is one of the first things that you try off the plane. It is the Canadian take on the bloody mary using clamato in place of tomato juice. Clamato is tomato juice with clam brine and it is a very delicious thing. Now, imagine dressing that up with some lovely fresh lobster and making your own clamato with lobster brine? Yes! Chef Alain has classes scheduled in advance but you can also book private classes.
Part 2 of a Nova Scotian Road Trip to Cape Breton including the Cabot Trail and lots of lobster, coming soon!