Everyone knows that Nova Scotia is world-famous for our lobster and that it is a must-try while visiting. From a traditional lobster dinner to a beach-side lobster boil to lobster rolls, creamed lobster, lobster poutine, and even lobster beer, Nova Scotia can quell your lobster cravings. But, did you know about the other delicious foods worth trying during your visit? Here are 10 dishes for you to chew on.
Digby scallops are world-famous for being succulent and fresh, caught off the shores of the Bay of Fundy by the largest scallop fishing fleet in the world based in Digby. Several restaurants throughout the province serve these sweet little morsels in a variety of delicious ways: from bacon wrapped to pan seared; from battered and deep fried to served on top of seafood linguine; as a salad topper or in chowder; the list goes on!
Wild blueberries are Nova Scotia’s provincial berry with over 40 million pounds produced in the province each year and shipped all over the world. Oxford, Nova Scotia is Canada’s wild blueberry capital and wild blueberry grunt is a delicious and iconic Nova Scotia dessert. Visit a u-pick during harvest time - that’s August to late September - or pick up a pint of fresh berries at the nearest farmers’ market. Going on a wild blueberry binge? Check out other Nova Scotia made wild blueberry products like juice, liqueur, syrup, beer, soap, lip balm, baked goods, chocolates, preserves, wine, tea, or coffee which you can drink from your handcrafted blueberry mug.
The iconic donair has been steadily infiltrating other parts of Canada, but make no mistake, its roots are deep in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2015 this saucy, meaty, messy wrap became the official food of Halifax. So, what is it anyway? Spiced beef, cooked on a spit and shaved onto a pita, doused in a sweet garlic sauce and garnished with tomatoes and raw onions is the best way to describe it. But to locals it’s just wrapped up goodness. While there is no beating the classic, innovations in the donair space have been surfacing in recent years. Creative cooks have come up with donair pie, pizza, poutine, burgers, eggrolls, subs, sausages, springrolls, and soup. Need your donair to go? Pick up a bottle of donair sauce or a kit at a local grocery store to make your own. If you’re really needing that donair fix, check out the Donair Cam to keep an eye on things back in Halifax.
Dulse is an edible red seaweed that grows in the Bay of Fundy. After being harvested, dulse can be eaten as is as a seaweed snack, added to recipes, or made into things like flakes, powder, or soap. Some say it is an acquired taste, but relatively easy to find around Nova Scotia and worth a try! Want to pick your own? Check out Fundy Adventures for a hands-on dulse picking experience in Gulliver’s Cove on the Bay of Fundy. Your host will help you identify different sea plants and treat you to dulse biscuits, fried dulse and tomato sandwiches, and dulse tea!
Oatcakes like many things in Nova Scotia, originate with the Scottish (we are New Scotland after all). This treat is just the right amount of sweet and salty and pairs perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee. Some variations are even flavoured with peanut butter or dipped in chocolate for that extra sweet touch. Whether you prefer chewy or crunchy, oatcakes can be found throughout the province at bakeries and cafes.
When you think of Nova Scotian foods, apples probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind. But the province’s fertile Annapolis Valley is ripe with apple orchards, covering thousands of acres of land. This humble fruit is celebrated each spring at the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival and harvested each fall, from mid-September to the end of October, with many u-pick options available. There really is nothing like a fresh, juicy apple picked straight from the tree. With over 20 varieties of apples to choose from, your favourite for snacking or baking is sure to be available. Cideries in the province also utilize local apples as the main ingredient when brewing their crisp and flavourful ciders.
There are a few different varieties of oysters grown in the coastal waters of Nova Scotia, each with their own distinct characteristics and flavours but all providing a hit of refreshing, salty brine that can only be found in a just-plucked-from-the-water-yesterday oyster. Roll up your sleeves and participate in the Oyster Learning Experience with Bay Enterprises or let the oysters come to you at one of the many restaurants offering up fresh oysters on the daily along the Oyster Trail, part of the Seafood Trail.
Rappie pie is a traditional Acadian dish made up of grated potatoes and meat. This dish is available at many restaurants throughout the province but while travelling through the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores region, stop by the Red Cap Restaurant or La Cuisine Robicheau to give it a try. You can even pick up a rappie pie from D’Eon’s to take and bake at home.
The Nova Scotia Lobster Trail and the Nova Scotia Chowder Trail are unique to Nova Scotia, each highlighting the incredible fresh seafood that Nova Scotia is famous for. It’s a worthy feat to try and eat at every location on the trail but with dozens of stops you may need to make a second or third visit back to Nova Scotia!
Need something to wash this all down with? Visit a Nova Scotia winery, distillery, brewery or cidery to pick up a locally crafted beverage or order one off a restaurant menu to sip with your meal. The craft beverage scene has been booming in recent years with producers located in every region of the province. Wine, on the other hand, has a deep history which date back to the 1600s with the Annapolis Valley being one of the first areas in North America to cultivate grapes for wine. Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia’s first wine appellation and this crisp, aromatic white is the perfect pairing for our fresh seafood.