I had such an amazing time in St. John’s. The weather was beautiful. The accommodation was grand. The people I was traveling with were amazing.
But one of the best things was the food! St. John’s restaurant scene has become one of the best in the country and we were lucky enough to dine at some of the best rooms in the city, including the Mallard Cottage and the new Water West, where we met co-owner and sommelier Steve Lee, and the Merchant Tavern where we met Chef Jeremy Charles. We also had yummy lunches at famed fish and chips place Chafe’s in Petty Harbour and Bannerman’s Brewery in St. John’s
I grew up thinking that Newfoundland food was the worst in the world. This was in part because of what I now understand to be partially circumstance — not a lot grows on the rock so many things had to be shipped in making them super expensive. Plus a lot of the traditional ways of hunting, fishing and foraging were lost a bit when capitalism crept in. People weren’t just fishing or hunting for their families but for companies. Not a lot of time to go pick blueberries when you’re working for the man.
Also it was probably bad because my aunts were bad cooks.
So we had all of these memorable meals, proof that the hospitality industry in Newfoundland has figured out how to take local ingredients and traditional recipes and serve them up in a sustainable way.
In honour of this culinary adventure, I had to bring home some good memories. Jeremy Charles gave us autographed copies of his book “Wildness.” We were gifted with artisanal tonics from the local company Third Place Cocktails (who also made us the best mixed drink I have ever tasted).
And I had to bring home some staples of my youth: Purity Kisses, Pineapple Crush and some Bakeapple Jam. Plus some new found favourites from the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.