Eating Local in Eastern Newfoundland

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have always looked to their surroundings for sustenance, and recently the local food scene has seen a renaissance of hyper local ingredients and traditional methods of cooking. Achieving acclaim on the international stage for both our restaurants and chefs, we are bringing our story full circle. Our food history is also rich and varied, telling a story of resilience and reliance on the land and sea. With Newfoundland and Labrador chefs now looking to revive and reinvent the methods and ingredients locals often take for granted, there’s never been a better time to enjoy our cuisine. Here are our favourite ways to eat local in Eastern Newfoundland.

Look to the land

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to a bounty of wild edibles.

 

Living off the land was the rule rather than the exception for most of our history. From berry picking to moose hunting, the options for finding food here are varied and intimately connected to the natural environment. Depending on the season, Newfoundland and Labrador offers up a bounty of ingredients such as mushrooms, berries, game, wild edibles, and of course a variety of creatures and plants from the sea. Historically, food needed to be preserved over the winter season, and many methods such as pickling, smoking, curing, and canning are still prevalent in today’s local food culture.

How to do it

Book a foraging tour or culinary workshop with Cod Sounds for an intimate look at how food is foraged and preserved in traditional ways; you’ll get up close and personal with our way of life and leave with a whole new appreciation for our local ingredients. For a traditional beach boil up or foraging tour in Bonavista, try Bonavista Adventure Tours.

Dining with a local twist 

At Grates Cove Studios, you’ll find a fusion menu of Asian and Creole flavours with local ingredients. Photo: Danielle Ambs.

If sitting down in a restaurant is more your style, you’ll find plenty of mouth-watering options in Eastern Newfoundland. With a renewed focus on locally sourced ingredients, chefs in many of our favourite restaurants use creativity to put their own modern spin on simple traditions.

How to do it

Try Grates Cove Studios for an award-winning menu that fuses Cajun and Korean flavours with traditional Newfoundland ingredients – think étouffée made with local cod and crab or Korean pancakes infused with locally grown root vegetables. If you enjoy the food, why not sign up for a cooking workshop too?

Just like Nan used to make

At Ferryland Lighthouse Picnics, everything is homemade with love. © Egzi Polat

Some of Newfoundland and Labrador's most beloved dishes come straight from Nan’s cookbook – thick and creamy pea soup, salty and savoury Jigg’s Dinner, or fresh bread still warm from the oven (and hopefully a few toutons fried up from the extra dough and smothered in molasses). Our comfort food is an important part of our culture, and it just wouldn’t be Sunday without a traditional "cooked" dinner which varies depending on who the chef is!

How to do it

Check out Ferryland Lighthouse Picnics for an outdoor dining experience next to a picturesque lighthouse. Everything is made by hand and with love, right down to the sandwich bread and jams. For a hearty meal and an extra helping of Newfoundland hospitality, try the Pantry in the tiny community of Lord’s Cove. You’ll enter as a stranger and leave as a full-bellied friend!

Feast at a festival 

At Roots Rants and Roars, top chefs come together to transform local ingredients into exciting dishes. 

Eastern Newfoundland is home to some of the province’s most delectable festivals. Featuring top chefs from home and away, these events are a great way to mingle with the locals while enjoying creative dishes made from delicious Newfoundland ingredients.

How to do it

Roots Rants and Roars takes place every year in Elliston and showcases big names in the local and national culinary scene. Traditionally, the festival was a way to take in the scenery while eating your way along the coastline for the Food Hike, and cap it all off at the Feast – a family style multi-course smorgasbord complete with musical entertainment. The festival’s focus on sustainability and exclusively local ingredients means you’re sure to get a true taste of our province. Recently, they have added My Food Hike which allows hikers and walkers to experience the great tasting food and walking paths of Newfoundland and Labrador while safely inside their bubble. Roots, Rants and Roars has also created playlist so you can take the music with you as well.

Go fish

Scallops plucked straight from the sea… is there anything better? Photo courtesy of Kathi’s Road Trips.

Throughout history, Newfoundland and Labrador has been synonymous with many things, including fish, and fishing is still an important part of local culture and cuisine. While cod is king, we’ve got plenty more to try. From scallops to mussels, capelin to mackerel…Newfoundland and Labrador is a seafood-lover’s dream. To get hands on and experience a true culinary adventure, why not go fishing for your next meal?

How to do it

Book a cod-jigging tour with Ocean Quest Adventures to take home your own catch of the day…you may even find a fisherman on the wharf who will help you fillet your prize. For a full culinary experience, try Saltwater Charters – you’ll enjoy some time fishing on the water before being treated to a meal on the beach, prepared by a talented chef. To experience our local scallops, head out with Dildo Boat Tours – your guide will dive for scallops and deliver them straight to your plate!

A taste of France

Enjoy a taste of France just 25 km from the shores of Newfoundland! Photo courtesy of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon Tourism.

 

A visit to our neighbours in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon is a must for foodies looking to experience a taste of France in North America. Local chefs practice authentic French cuisine with a North Atlantic twist, while shops and bakeries offer a vast selection of fine wines, fresh pastries, bread, cheeses, charcuterie, and local seafood delights. Bon appétit!

How to do it

Book your ferry ride to France and visit www.spm-tourisme.fr to plan your trip. Check out this list of mouth-watering local delicacies to get your taste buds tingling. Don’t forget to reserve your table well in advance during the summer months, as restaurants fill up daily!

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Share your food experiences and journeys with us by tagging your posts with #ExploreNL and check out our food and dining page for more great ideas. 

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