The Flavours of Newfoundland
When travelling to Newfoundland, bring your appetite!
Though we were pretty far from home, the famous Newfoundlander hospitality made us feel like that was never the case at all. Everywhere we went we were surrounded by friendly people, and their delicious food.
From the beginning of the trip, the island in our mind already had a reputation for culinary excellence. From breakfasts of yogurt with fresh bakeapple, blueberries and partridge berries, to (REAL!) smoked salmon, grilled cod, cod tongues and cod au gratin, the food was reflective of the regional practices and seasonal availability.
One of our most interesting meals – a must have for any visitor to Newfoundland – was the Jiggs Dinner, which we were treated to in Elliston, the Root Cellar Capital of the World. Restored and converted to a restaurant, the old Orange Lodge now houses Nanny’s Root Cellar Kitchen, a favourite place among visitors and locals alike. There we learned about the prevalence of root cellars in fishing outports, their function as nature’s fridge, and their significance in sustaining a population through the harsh winters on preserves and root vegetables. Supper was served up to our great delight, a Jiggs Dinner, composed of carrots, turnips, cabbage, beets and potatoes, a piece of salt beef, peas pudding, and figgy duff. The food in this case reflects the traditions of locally grown produce, preserved in root cellars and then boiled and served together. The salt beef is – quite obviously – salted beef, which has been boiled together with the root vegetables and puddings, adding flavour.
This tradition of locally grown food, though not as prevalent as it once was, is enjoying a revival in places like the Root Cellar Kitchen and the Bonavista Social Club. Located in Upper Amherst Cove, the Bonavista Social Club has a stunning view out to the ocean, as well as their own gardens on site and in the window boxes. We feasted on fresh greens and goat cheese, turnip soup, lamb pasta, wood oven pizza, rhubarb lemonade and finally turnip cake and partridgeberry pudding.
We got to try partridgeberry pudding a few times over the course of the trip, each prepared slightly differently. In fact, we even learned to make it when Chris Sheppard of the Bonavista Institute for Cultural Tourism showed us a new version of it, with a (flaming) vodka sauce, made with Iceberg Vodka, which itself is made of iceberg water, with the bottles produced in the old Salt Fish Factory right in Port Union.
Watch the cooking video here
Finally, a bit of local – international cuisine was the McLobster, sold only on the East Coast. Let’s just say it couldn’t live up to the fresh, locally caught lobster that our friends Edith, Donna, Thersea and Debbie cooked up for us back (at home) in Port Union. If you’re travelling to Newfoundland be sure to bring your appetite!