Local blue potatoes, fabulously fresh seafood, wild game and wild berries, and a tradition of homey baked goods help define delicious local eating in Newfoundland and Labrador.
1. Newfoundland and Labrador Seasonal Produce and Blue Potatoes
Photo @ Laszlo Selly, used with permission from Getty Images
Newfoundland and Labrador have woefully short growing seasons, but local produce is to be had (see this Guide to Newfoundland and Labrador Seasonal Produce
for what to expect when). Its spare, rocky soil grows wonderful potatoes, including the famous Newfoundland blue potatoes, which have a distinctly purple-blue tinge to their flesh that dulls, but in no way disappears, when cooked.
2. Newfoundland and Labrador Traditions: Cod
Photo @ Arctic-Images, used with permission from Getty Images
Great schools of cod were what fed what is now this province for centuries, and attracted travelers from Spain and Scandinavia well before Columbus sailed the seas. Fresh cod is wonderfully flaky and tender, but most cod was eaten after it had been dried (like those on these racks) for storage and reconstituted, often in soups and stews.
A collapse in cod stocks has greatly limited the cod fishery, but Newfoundland specialties of fish and brewis (brewis in hardtack softened by cooking in pork fat), cod tongues, cod cheeks, and cod roe (or "britches" in local parlance) can still be found and are important cultural touch-stones.
3. Newfoundland Labrador Seafood
Photo © Richard Boll, used with permission from Getty Images
With cod stocks depleted, other seafood—including tasty lobster—are being commercially fished and are widely available in Newfoundland. The squid and shellfish fisheries are growing to appeal to modern eaters.
4. Newfoundland and Labrador Game
Photo @ Paul E Tessier, used with permission from Getty Images
Game is popular in the province. Moose, caribou, rabbit, and deer are commonly eaten and game is served in all the ways one might find beef or pork in other parts of Canada and the U.S. Even moose burgers are a regional specialty and not too difficult to find.
5. Newfoundland and Labrador Berries
Photo © Molly Watson
Wild berries, particularly cloudberries—plump amber berries that look like overgrown and pale raspberries but with a delicate flavor all their own—and blueberries. Cloudberries are often called bog-apples or baked apples locally, and are known as salmonberries in the West.
6. Newfoundland and Labrador Baked GoodsThe tradition of delicious baked goods—served with a cup of tea, of course—is alive and well in Newfoundland. Look for local lassy mogs (molasses cookies) and jam-jams (jam cookies), as well as English traditional treats like trifle and figgy pudding.
7. Newfoundland Specialties: Seal Flipper PieNo entry about Newfoundland foods would be even a decent start without mentioning the traditional seal flipper pie. It's essentially a pot pie made with seal flipper meat, which is dark and meaty and rich. Seal flipper pie was traditionally served in the spring during the harper seal hunt season.
8. New Newfoundland Cuisine
As in many places, there are chefs in Newfoundland putting new spins on traditional dishes and using regional ingredients in new ways. For example, Bacalao in St. John's
transforms the traditional boiled salted beef and vegetable "jiggs dinner" into elegant cabbage rolls served with housemade mustard pickles.