Culinary tourism up close and personal
The first time I had a taste of “le ploye,” was in Edmundston, NB. (Think buckwheat pancake smeared with butter and a glob of brown sugar or maple syrup—undeniably addictive.)
This is also where I learned that, in 1949, two enthusiastic citizens invented the concept of the “Republic of Madawaska,” including a flag, coat of arms, and the Order of the Knights of the Republic. The concept stuck; Edmundston was declared the capital of the Republic, and whoever sits in the mayor’s seat automatically becomes the president of the Republic.
A place with a story like that has to be interesting: but there’s more. The city now offers tasting tours weekday afternoons. Visitors drop into six places downtown that feature Acadian and local foods. And, yes, you will likely have taste of le ploye! (www.tourismedmundston.com)
Bonus: Edmundston is also part of Acadie Gourmet, a group of agribusinesses in the region that includes the Témiscouata region in Quebec, the Aroostook County in Maine, and the North Western part of New Brunswick. Check out the food events!
Have a hankerin’ to take a culinary class? Bistro 33 in Moncton is the place to go. Imagine learning how to make Lonza di maiale arrotolata con prosciutto di parma e parmigiano reggiano. And that’s only one out of four courses on an Italian night. (In case you’re wondering, it means “Rolled pork loin with Parma ham and parmesan.”)
Chef Marc at Bistro 33 offers numerous courses starting in September through to the following spring. Every class has as different theme. For example, this May focuses on Butchery, charcuterie and garnishes. As well, he provides special classes to complement a variety of festivals in the region.
During the summer, Chef offers 3-day Junior Chef Culinary Classes, and Survival in the kitchen 101—with basic tips and recipe ideas for youth going away from home for studies or work. Chef Marc is also game to work out special cooking class so gather a group of friends and get in touch with him this summer! Note: Chef gives courses in both French and English on different dates and they are listed on site.
Quite often you’ll discover an Inn or B&B in the province where the innkeeper is also a chef and is willing to take you behind the scenes and will provide culinary insights. For example, you can join Chef Chris Aerni at Rossmount Inn in St. Andrews for a short hike up the mountain to forage, or you can help him select fresh herbs and vegetables from his garden and get up close and personal with the process of preparing your meal. Check out this experience called “A Taste of the Good Life” here: rossmountinn.com.
For a walk on the wild side, sign up for the Sustainable Sturgeon and Caviar Safari which takes place from Eagle’s Eye View Cottages on the Kingston Peninsula. The two-day experience organized by the owners of Acadian Sturgeon includes everything from a sturgeon barbecue and beach bonfire, to heading out on a boat to be part of a commercial and scientific sturgeon fishing expedition (6-9 feet long fish, 100-300lbs!) You’ll also visit the sturgeon hatchery and caviar processing plant. The experience is topped off with a sturgeon, caviar & champagne feast.
Cornel Ceapa and his wife Dorina operate Acadian Sturgeon, a company they started in 2005. Cornel has a PhD in Sturgeon Biology and is a world authority on the subject. He loves his sturgeons, and loves getting people excited about this special product of Atlantic Canada.