I got the opportunity to experience Canada Food Day today in Prince Edward Island, Canada. It’s all about eating locally, both traditionally and modernly. These are all values we also appreciate in the United States. Whenever I travel somewhere, people always ask me first, “What do they eat there?”
The media picnic I attended on the waterfront was hosted by Canadian food celebrity Chef Michael Smith. He spoke about the importance of supporting local farmers. The event was also sponsored by the Canadian lentil association. Lentils aren’t always on people’s minds, but they’re a healthy substitute for meat and apparently, great for adding nutrition to baked goods. I learned that one can bake with the less expensive red lentils, while using black lentils — called “beluga caviar lentils” by some — for garnish.
There were some chef winners of a competition who got to show off recipes, such as lentil burgers and lentil ravioli. Chef Michael Smith contributed a salad with locally caught lobster and lentils.
He also made an impromptu cocktail with ice wine, edible nasturtiums, Canada Dry tonic water (well, of course!), Canadian sparkling wine that was sabered with a knife, potato vodka from Prince Edward Distillery and . . . lentils! Will lentils become the next big thing in cocktails? Doubtful.
There was also a good selection of Canadian beers, including some from Prince Edward Island.
It was great to see people take such pride in the bounty of their own land. They have a saying on PEI, “Come from away,” meaning imported from off the island. It used to be a hallmark of status and wealth eating packaged goods “come from away”. Now, they are taking localvore to a new level.