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7 days on Prince Edward Island: the food

7 days on Prince Edward Island: the food
7 days on Prince Edward Island: the food

For 20 years, my family and I spent a few weeks every summer on Prince Edward Island in Canada’s East Coast. I also spent 4 years away at university in small town New Brunswick. The Maritimes have a special place in my heart. 

I was excited to return to PEI for the first time in 5 years last week. My parents are always up for adventures and my Mom is a fantastic tour guide. Over 7 days, we managed to squeeze in plenty of exploring, beach walks, food, and more.

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Here is part 1 of my Prince Edward Island adventures: starting off with the most important part, the food. 

Charlottetown Farmers Market (near downtown Charlottetown)

The market takes place on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 9 am to 2 pm and is a must-stop while we were are on the island. It is very busy on Saturdays and slightly smaller on Wednesdays. I would recommend getting there early either day you go.

Market Favourites: Caledonia coffee, local organic greens with edible flours and fresh herbs, seasonal organic produce, spelt and shiitake mushroom bread, hummus and roasted red pepper pesto.

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Home cooking with our Farmers Market goodies

I love having more time to spend in the kitchen while on vacation. Our kitchen in PEI is also nice and open, sunny and bright. A great place to get creative. Here are a few of the recipes my family and I made with local produce we bought at the market.

Organic greens salad with edible flours, fresh herbs and spiralized beets; local nectarines, peaches, and blueberries

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Oh She Glows zucchini noodle pesto pasta

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Spicy arugula salad with roasted butternut squash, red onions, and lemony vinaigrette

Leonhard’s Cafe (downtown Charlottetown)

The cafe focuses on quality, natural ingredients and creates healthy and delicious meals. All meals are made daily from scratch, there are plenty of gluten-free and dairy-free options, and the cafe itself is lovely inside. The owners are strong supporters of the Charlottetown Farmers Market and most of the food they use is sourced from local farms.

Menu Favourites: americano or cappuccino, farmers market salad with local smoked salmon, Bavarian breakfast omelette with potatoes and bacon, yogurt with fresh fruit and granola

Blue Mussel Cafe (North Rustico)

This restaurant is an old family favourite for incredibly fresh seafood and locally sourced meals. Despite changing owners a few times over the years, the food is excellent, the service friendly, and the location is beautiful with outdoor seating. It is busy, especially on nice days, but worth the wait. If you have to wait for a table, take a walk on the nearby North Rustico boardwalk or beach.

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Halibut caught earlier that morning served with red baby potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and mango salsa

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Minutes from Blue Mussel Cafe, North Rustico Beach and breakwater on a cloudy day

Coffee or cappuccino from Receiver Coffee Co. (downtown Charlottetown)

We brew up a grew pot of Caledonia coffee from the farmers market at home. But it’s also nice to have someone else make you coffee. When in Charlottetown, my Mom and I picked up cappuccinos at Receiver Coffee – almond milk me for me! They were delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a stroll on the Victoria Park boardwalk nearby.

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Point Prim Chowder House (Belfast)

At the end of a road, halfway between Charlottetown and Woods Island (where you catch the ferry to Nova Scotia) is Point Prim Chowder House. The restaurant is located right on the ocean and steps from PEI’s oldest lighthouse. My Dad and I shared the seafood steamer pot pictured below and loved it. Admittedly, we weren’t the biggest fans of the side dishes so I would stick to seafood and dessert next time.

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Lunch with a view at Point Prim Chowder House

Bakeries

There is certainly no shortage of bakeries on the island. We regularly visit: Olde Village Bakery in North Rustico, Glasgow Glen Farm shop in New Glasgow (get the cinnamon buns), and Mary’s Bake Shoppe in Kensington (my Dad likes the chocolate coconut macaroons).

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Ship to Shore Restaurant and Lounge (North Shore in Darnley)

Years ago, I came to Ship to Shore and ate the largest and one of the best fish and chips I have ever had. This time around, I decided to give my stomach a break and went with a garden salad topped with some fantastic pan-seared salmon and dairy-free creamy basil dressing. My parents both loved their burgers. We were impressed by the restaurant’s ability to accommodate any food allergies and how they cook food separately to avoid any cross-contamination, especially if you have seafood allergies.

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Honourable Mentions: other places to try

Shipwright Cafe: pick up prepared foods and baked goods or stay to eat at this cafe located in an old house

The Dunes Studio Gallery and Cafe: browse the unique craft and woodwork, jewellery, clothing, art, and more, walk through the beautiful gardens, and enjoy a fancier lunch at their cafe

Richard’s Fresh Seafood: delicious french fries and waterfront views at this casual cafe in Covehead within PEI’s National Park

Dalvay-by-the-Sea: did you watch Road to Avonlea or the Anne of Green Gables movies? This is the White Sands Hotel featured in the shows. Enjoy afternoon tea or a hearty snack in their lounge.

Red Door Oyster Co. Cafe: coffee, brunch, lunch or dinner in the Stanley Bridge area

Splendid Essence: vegetarian Chinese in downtown Charlottetown

PEI Preserves: sample the tea and jam while you wait and wander the aptly named butterfly gardens

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Big serving of mussels served in thai curry broth at Dalvay-by-the-Sea

Coming up next: my favourite PEI beaches, hiking, and other places to explore while you’re on the island. 

Have you been to Canada’s East Coast or Prince Edward Island before? 

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  • While I love life on the west coast, it's never easy living on the other side of the country from many friends and family. Grateful for trips home, no matter how long or short (this weekend!) they may be. Back to YVR ✈️
  • Soaking up that Toronto sunshine ☀️
  • Had some of the best vegan food ever at @plantatoronto tonight! I've often been left disappointed (and hungry 😅) by new plant based eateries but this totally exceeded expectations. Loved all the dishes we tried from the cheesy queso dip (pictured here) to the peanut butter chocolate "terrarium" for dessert.
  • Springtime in Victoria #flashbackfriday meanwhile in Toronto... ❄️🌧☀️
  • Last night's surprisingly purple sunset, a welcome sight after a day of rain #tbt
  • From west coast to east coast (sort of! 😛) Toronto bound ✈️ where there is apparently a rainfall warning #cantescapeit
  • The ferry is fun, but these views can't be beat. YYJ ➡️ YVR ✈️
  • Thanks Victoria for the sunshine, great eats, good coffee, and those Island views. Now to the float plane!