You know you have really arrived in New Brunswick when you spot the live lobster stand at the airport. Tucked away in the south east corner of Canada, New Brunswick is remote but rich in amazing seafood and local produce.
Cracking lobsters at Lobster Tales
Darlene’s Tea House
To find Darlene’s Tea House you have to follow the tea pot stands that are posted along the road and encourage you onwards with messages of “nearly there” and “not much further”. The tea house is housed in an old building that Darlene bought off the government for $2 when it was listed for destruction.
Taking tea at Darlene’s Tea House
Darlene has packed the tea house with bric a brac ranging from a novelty salt and pepper collection to vintage cook books. She serves up traditional scones with jam and cream alongside more filling fare such as soup and pasta dishes. The scones were a dream, a cloud of light, puffy dough with a tart home made jam ($6.95). It was good to see local fiddlehead chowder ($6.95) on the menu as a local treat but the chowder was thin and some of the vibrancy of the fiddlehead’s flavour had been lost in the cooking process.
Scones with jam and cream at Darlene’s Tea House
Details: Darlene’s Tea House
, 186 Barnettville Road, Blackville New Brunswick, Canada, E9B 1X6 (Ph 506 843 7979)
Lobster doesn’t taste much better than the lobster served on board Lobster Tales a boat cruise that goes from Shediac Bay in New Brunswick. Cruising around the harbour the boat stopped to pull up lobster traps and our captain Ron explained a few salient facts such as how to tell a male from a female lobster (it’s all in the tail) and left handed versus right handed lobsters. The best part though was of course the lobster eating. Ron explained the trick to pulling apart and eating a lobster and then we all got cracking (literally) to devour the sweetest, freshest lobster meat alongside Maritime potato salad and coleslaw.
A whole lobster with potato salad on the lobster cruise
Details: 60 Pointe-du-Chêne, Wharf Road, Pointe-du-Chêne, New Brunswick, E4P 4V8, Canada (Ph 506 532 2175)
Damage: Reasonable $68 per person including the lobster lunch and cruise.
After I dissected the lobster I turned it into a lobster roll
I loved my first taste of Acadian food at La Sagouine restaurant in Bouctouche, a bowl of chicken fricot ($5.95). This was chicken soup the way I like it, hearty and packed with shreds of tender chicken, vegetables and soft, billowy dumplings. Unfortunately the rest of the meal was not quite so appetising. La Sagouine specialises in Acadian cuisine which developed when the French settlers in New Brunswick were forced to create new recipes based on the limited produce available to them.
Fricot at La Sagouine
Acadian food features lots of salted pork and potatoes, both ingredients were used in the poutine ($3.95) I tried and crêpes à râpée ($6.95). The poutine was a huge boiled potato dumpling, stuffed with the pork. Not a bad combination, but the potato had been cooked to a grey pallor in both the poutine and the crêpes à râpée. Not even the molasses and sugar which the Acadians traditionally used to accompany the dishes could improve things. It’s best to think of eating Acadian food at La Sagouine as an interesting historical and cultural experience rather than a gastronomic one.
Details: La Sagouine, 43 Irving Blvd, Bouctouche, New Brunswick E4S 3J5, Canada (Ph 506 743 6606)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
King George B&B
Sara has come up with an intriguing way of getting her guests to help her prepare dinner at her B&B. Sara runs the King George B&B in Miramichi and features lots of local produce from local suppliers on her menu. So that guests can discover these suppliers herself she has set up a GPS with the coordinates of her local fishmonger, bakery and vegetable stall and invites guests to go on a “food mystery tour”.
Meeting the local fishermen while on the food mystery tour
We felt like modern day hunter gatherers as we arrived back at the King George B&B proudly bearing our bag of scallops we had collected using a GPS Sara had programmed to track down her seafood supplier. The emphasis is certainly local with dinner featuring fiddlehead soup. Sara’s version was vibrant and fresh with the fiddleheads lightly sauteed so they still retained their bounce and bright green colour.
The best fiddlehead soup yet at King George B&B
Wild mussels completely filled their shells and had a great meaty but salty flavour. The scallops were similarly huge and had a light tan from the pan while still maintaining their creamy sweetness. It wouldn’t be a trip to Canada without trying some moose so Sara had made a rich bolognese sauce using moose meat. The bolognese was sensationally flavoursome with almost a gamey taste to the meat. We finished our meal with a local dessert, a “pothole” which has a creamy filling inside a fluffy bun.
Breakfast at the King George B&B
Details: King George B&B
, 561 King George Hwy, Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada E1V1N2 (Ph 506 352 0557)
Gourmet Travel Tips
- We flew from London to Halifax with Air Canada and then on to Moncton. Return airfares are £695.
- We stayed at the King George B&B, 561 King George Hwy, Miramichi, NB E1V1N2, Canada (Ph 506 352 0557). The B&B is located in the beautiful old Stothart House which was built in 1918 but has been completely renovated with lots of lovely white linens, antique furniture and ensuites in every room. Room rates start at £105 a night including breakfast. Dinner packages start at £50 per person.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of the Canadian Tourism Commission.