For those who know Greg’s history in Nova Scotia, our annual visit to the Craft Nova Scotia, open air craft market in Halifax is an expected pleasure. For me, it’s a welcome and, after 14 years, expected vacation for Greg and I. These days, when we manage to get to Halifax for the show, we often don’t have much time to visit like we did in the early days. It’s just a quick in and out, now. Even so, it’s a welcome respite from the every day work that gets done at home.
When we visit Halifax, we stay with Greg’s oldest son, Rudi. If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know Rudi’s Hot Sauces, with whom Greg began co-production for just a few short years ago.
Greg and I drove down to Halifax via St-Antoine, New Brunswick, where my Sister-in-Law and Brother-in-Law from my first husband live. The weather was fabulous and we arrived, oddly enough, at the tail end of a rainy day. As if we were bringing the good weather with us. We had a lovely visit, even if altogether too short.
Aside from the craft show and meeting all of our customers and finding new ones, the highlight of our visit to Nova Scotia is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, the food.
Maybe it’s Nova Scotia, maybe it’s the people who bring me to Nova Scotia, but I’m deeply entrenched in the area’s food producers, and after decades of Greg’s living there and my visiting, we know where to go to eat real good, real food. So, we do.
Some of the places to visit for food in Nova Scotia are legend, Jane’s on the Common, 2 Doors Down, Gio, Halliburton House, and many more. We didn’t get out to any restaurants until after the show had closed, but we did order in some amazing Chinese. There was a dumpling on the menu that we attempted to order, and the restaurant called us back and said, no, you won’t like this, order something else, so we did. We’ll get the weird dumpling next time. (If you want to know the name of the restaurant with the weird dumplings, send me an email, everything else they made, screams “try these dumplings!”).
The trick to great food in Nova Scotia, though, truly, is knowing where to shop because, like Greg, his son Rudi, is a brilliant food artisan. Thus our favourite groceries come from the markets. Nova Scotia is wild with farmer’s markets and opportunities to buy fresh, local food.
One of my favourite places to visit ios the original Halifax Brewery Market. It’s a huge courtyard attached to the old Alexander Keith’s Brewery and every Saturday artisans crowd into what seems a teeny cramped space next to the brewery. It’s rather bazaar, pardon the pun, but definitely a visit worth taking.
BUT, THE market to NEVER miss, and, if you ask me, the better market, is the Halifax Seaport Market. That place is situated in the Cruise boat terminal. There is a producers’ market every weekend, and it is replete with fresh vegetables, cheese from the Crazy Dutchman, the Tangled Garden, who makes the world’s best strawberry jam, Rudi’s hot sauces and all the food goodies one can imagine.
And while you’re looking at markets, don’t miss Pete’s Frootique. It’s THE trendy grocery in Halifax.
I cannot rave about the food near enough. See these markets. Every city that doesn’t have one, needs one.
This trip we took a day trip to the Gaspereau Valley, and stopped for lunch at Pete Luckett’s Vineyard. We had this amazingly beautiful Tidal Bay that just went beautifully with my calamari and mussels! Greg had a steak and mushroom pie. Food should have richness and flavour, and Luckett’s chef has that in spades.
We had stopped at another vineyard but weren’t so impressed with the cleanliness of the place, and I’m so glad we did, because Luckett’s turned out to be the best destination, because it was so good. Now, I should mention here that the REASON that Luckett’s WASN’T the “destination” is because, we ALL have a long-time personal connection to Mr. Luckett’s provisions and we wanted to try somewhere different. Had the other place been clean, we’d have not gone to Luckett’s.
The personal connection to Mr. Luckett is Rudi’s step-Father, Ian Hope-Simpson, who is one of Nova Scotia’s premier artisanal ironworkers.
Visit the winery, if not for the food or the wine, it’s worth the metalwork. I’ll tell you, honestly, lunch at Luckett’s was the highlight of our trip.
Now, I’m going to throw a brickbat here at Masstown Market. Who, for a VERY LONG time, has been our lunch stop on the drive INTO Nova Scotia AND on our lunch stop on the drive out of Nova Scotia.
It’s a large independent grocer right on the highway, easy access, lots of parking and the place has become a tourist attraction and just become bigger and better every year. THIS year, it even appears that they are about to turn it into a Nova Scotia food hub! There seems to be an artisanal bakery and dairy processor being set up alongside the whole circus that Masstown is already. As foodies, this is very exciting!
So, if I think so highly of this place, why am I throwing a brickbat at them???
On our arrival to Nova Scotia, we stopped for some fruit, a bit of the Crazy Dutchman’s cheese (Also available at the Halifax market) and some chowder. Usually a win.
This time, we bought some local strawberries (in season) and some “Just Picked” blueberries. The strawberries turned out to be conventional and watery and the blueberries were not “just picked”, Nova Scotia lowbush blueberries, which are ripe and in season, but rather, “Just Picked” BRAND, HIGHbush blueberries, from BC!
Anyway, brickbats to Masstown for not having fresh ripe local blueberries front and center. We picked some up in the valley, so my craving was sated.
We are home now, and I have burned off the five pounds I usually gain in Nova Scotia and we’re back to eating our usual food.
If you’ve never been, I hope you get a chance to visit Halifax, and discover the great food that Halifax and indeed, Nova Scotia has to offer. The people there are just as wonderful.
Our next show is the Brome Fair, I’m looking forward to that, and then we’ll have the open house in October, here in Rigaud (Festival des Couleurs in da house!) and then the Christmas shows. This year, we’re only doing Toronto and Montreal, but don’t worry, we’ll get back to your town soon.
In the meantime, you can order on our website. We’ve got maximum flat rate shipping of $15 in Canada, and any order over $100 will get free shipping, so, don’t deprive yourself. You know you’re running low. Click here to see what’s currently available! Use coupon code ThankYou and save an additional $5.
See you soon!