Prince Edward Island: A Maritime Must-See
Enjoy our recipe for PEI Mussels and Oysters!
When the plane banks over the Northumberland Strait, the first view of Prince Edward Island (PEI) is of red clay cliffs, gently sloping to the sea, and patchworks of color.
In the spring and summer it’s as green as Ireland, and as golden as Vermont on a crisp autumn day.
In another month, it’ll be a perfect time to visit Canada’s smallest province.
Charlottetown, the capital, is as laid back as it gets, with incorrigibly friendly people.
Some shops are charming; some ordinary.
A handful of stately hotels lines the tree-shaded streets, along with red brick B&B’s.
Several small outdoor café’s punctuate the space with colorful umbrellas.
The town is a rich venue for performing and visual arts, including of course, the venerable, never-ending story of Anne of Green Gables. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s feisty red-headed heroine is a national treasure, and she stares out at visitors everywhere.
There are even Anne of Green Gables potato chips.
|From Blogger Pictures|
Interestingly, the Japanese love her, and many Japanese brides don an Anne red wig to get married at the Green Gables House.
Apparently the book is one way Japanese school kids learn English, so she’s imprinted on their consciousness.
Then head east, along the shore route.
The winding roads are empty.
There are no billboards, no used car lots, no fast food joints, no going-out-of-business sales or grocery stores.
Nothing, except sad-faced cows, green rolling fields and the vivid lupines standing like multicolored sentinels.
One of my favorite towns at the top of the north coast is North Rustico, a former Acadian stronghold.
Longfellow set part of his Evangeline, here a long tale about the expulsion of the Acadians by the British, an early example of ethnic cleansing.
The Acadians fled south to New Orleans, where they became known as Cajuns.
Today, there are few Acadian Stella Maris flags, just superb lobster and the sound of the sea.
Myth has it, the Miqkmaq indian’s chief god, Glooskap, saved his most vivid colors for this gentle island, generously painting it as only a caring god could.
Shuck ‘em and Eat ‘em
Prince Edward Island’s Malpeque Oysters and Blue Mussels have earned Canada’s smallest province a big reputation worldwide. “Ten years ago, customers were ordering 200 pounds a week,” says mussel man Brian Fortune of Atlantic Aqua Farms in Orwell Cove. “Now, they’re taking 16,000 pounds a week.”
With their sweet meat and glossy black shells, mussels have muscled their way into all the best restaurants, and supermarkets.
Mussels A la PEI
2 lbs. PEI mussels, rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine or beer
2 Tbsp. diced celery
2 Tbsp. diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Place wine, celery, onion, garlic and mussels in a large pan. Cover and steam over high heat for 6 minutes or until mussels
open. Discard any that don’t open. Serve immediately with juice, sprinkled with black pepper and parsley. Serves 2.