2012 PEI Chowder Hunt
On our recent trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada, we decided to go on a Chowder Hunt. We adore seafood and knew this would be the perfect time and place for an expedition to bag some chowder. PEI may be famous for their potatoes, mussels and lobster but it’s also an agricultural Mecca. Fresh and organic produce are readily available throughout the province and the flavors are incredible. PEI is justifiably proud of their culinary heritage and it was truly our pleasure to taste some ‘damn-fine’ chowders!
First Chowder Bagged in Charlottetown
Our first outing brought us into Charlottetown. Located near the visitors centre on the corner of Water St. and Prince St. is the Water-Prince Café. This café is a favorite spot for islanders and visitors alike. Their delectable fare is most-definitely a must for anyone visiting Charlottetown. Warning: it’s impossible to sample all of their specialties so you may have to visit a few times or sit down for a very long lunch that turns into dinner.
Their chowder was creamy smooth and silky; with subtle taste of the fresh fish, mussels, shrimp, scallops and other seafood was scrumptious! We will be returning.
Second Chowder was Pulled In at Montague
Windows on the Water Café, located in the fishing village of Montague, is a beautiful spot to have lunch or dinner after going for a seal-watching expedition. We prefer to do lunch since the cod cakes are not available on the dinner menu. A couple of years ago, we had lunch there and fell in love with the mother-made fish cakes. My wife dreamt about them for two years; of course, a return visit was on our impromptu itinerary. I would also like to say, the chowder was equally as good as the cod cakes. Now we have another reason to revisit Montague.
Third Chowder in New Glasgow
A couple of years ago we had visited The PEI Preserve Company while on our way to the famous New Glasgow Lobster Suppers. We were delighted to return to have the 3rd and final cream/milk based chowder of our trip. The PEI Preserve Company is one of our favorite spots on the island to just hang out.
There’s more to do at the PEI Preserve Company than buy preserves… The sit down restaurant is a great place to have lunch, the home-made ice cream blows away PEI’s own COWS franchise (oh, yes it does), the gardens are a delight to visit and now they have live music including Céilidhs. It may be a tourist destination of sorts, but very pleasant.
North Shore Chowder Captured at the Dunes Café
The Dunes Café near Brackley Beach is an artisans consignment shop and Mecca for kitschy items and knick-knacks but where we think they shine is their wonderful café. On the menu is a tomato/basil based fish chowder which is delicious, a great find!
Final Chowder, or was it a Stew?
Claddagh Oyster House was our final sit down Chowder kill, another tomato based chowder, this one could be misconstrued as a stew since it also contained Chorizo, a Portuguese sausage. The Seafood ‘Cioppino’ as they call it, has it’s roots from Portuguese and Italian fishermen on the west coast (San Francisco).
The Best of the Best
When we started this Chowder Hunt, we weren’t trying to determine which is the best chowder, we just wanted to sample the various styles and ENJOY! That part was a resounding success, and I’d say we had just tasted the tip of the iceberg regarding chowders on the island.
When on the island, you have to go to a Céilidh. A Céilidh is a traditional social gathering originating in Ireland which so-happens to include music and drink. Our Céilidh of choice in Charlottetown happens to be the one held at the Benevolent Irish Society (or BIS). We a had a great time stompin’ to a great trio playing traditional Irish songs. The price of admission is $10.00 and includes a small buffet ‘lunch,’ as they call it. Homemade snacks like shortbreads, cookies and even party sandwiches are served up during a break in entertainment. Beer and soft drinks are available, coffee and tea is FREE! What a better way to get to know some fellow travelers and locals.
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