The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 11.03.03


Eatin' High Down East

All pepperoni all the time is my motto. That wonderful invention that spikes pizza from coast to coast is still hot in my books.

Sure, there are lots of pizza topping alternatives and we can thank California and Wolfgang Puck for toppings that are more suited to the goat cheese and sun dried tomato crowd out in Arnold land.

A recent business trip Down East proved that Nova Scotians still like things simple. They don't like anyone to mess with their pepperoni either. I noted with interest an item on the menu at the Mug and Anchor pub in Mahone Bay that I just had to try. Deep fried pepperoni leapt off the page like few foods can.

Could it be? Had I found the world's best-kept secret? How could I have been so ignorant of such an obviously profound culinary treat? A happy pub patron confirmed my suspicions and the truth was revealed. What you see is what you get when you order deep-fried pepperoni Down East. Sliced, greasy and ever so tasty, I ate the whole basket myself.

A second treat of a local favorite did not impress so much. Solomon Gundy may sound good to some but I can attest that pickled herring leaves an aftertaste that only northern Europeans will enjoy. Must be a Viking thing. Sorry.

An offer of pickled eggs followed and. although I have enjoyed them on occasion here in Quebec at the brasserie, I took a pass. Had there been an offer for pickled pepperoni however I would have jumped on it with glee.

I will say that some of the best fish, scallops (pronounced scawllops, I'm told) and mussels were had. I learned that a lobster sandwich is best when made on good old white bread and that Lunenburg sausage is my new favorite, other than pepperoni. Should you venture Down East, take the time to visit Mahone Bay during their annual Scarecrow Festival whereby locals seem to have a knack for creating highly unusual scarecrows. I saw the Beatles and a gay wedding on my visit.

Think global and act local is the rule of the day, so get your fresh lobster now at your nearest fish market so you can partake of this chowder that I enjoyed last weekend in Chester. This recipe makes enough to feed a good crowd.

Nova Scotia Lobster Chowder

4 Cups Lobster meat (canned will do), fresh preferred
Salt and white pepper
6 oz. salt pork or bacon (diced)
Qt. Milk
2 large onions
1 can evaporated milk
1 lb. potatoes (diced)
1/4 lb. butter

Sauté lobster in butter on low heat until butter clears. Set meat aside. Cook salt pork or bacon in medium soup pot until crisp, add diced potatoes, onions and salt and white pepper.

Add 4 cups of water, boil slowly until potatoes are done. Add lobster meat, milk, and season (if needed) with salt and pepper. Heat until mixture begins to steam, turn off heat and let chowder stand for several hours, covered. Reheat (do not boil) before serving.