Winter Culinary Food & Drink
Published November 27, 2023 | Shannon Courtney
by Shannon Courtney
On Canada's Food Island, world-class food including lobster, oysters, mussels, beef and potatoes paired with prize-winning craft beverages are the key ingredients for a magical winter getaway to Prince Edward Island. Here's your culinary how-to guide...
Enjoy oysters and mussels at their best
Have you always considered shellfish a summer thing? If so, you’ll be delighted to learn that PEI oysters and mussels are at their very best during the winter months. Don’t get us wrong, they are available fresh year-round and sensational no matter what season you enjoy them.
Still, some gourmands insist that these mollusks are at their prime over the cooler months as they are not spawning. The meat may be plumper and more flavourful as a result. You’ll find plenty of restaurants offering up an array of PEI oysters and mussel dishes, or you can buy them fresh from a local grocer or fishmonger and prepare them where you are staying.
Find the perfect bowl of seafood chowder
The truth is, there’s no singular bowl of PEI seafood chowder that can ever be considered 'the best’ for the simple reason that everyone has different tastes! Some folks love a creamy seafood chowder, packed to the brim with lobster. Others prefer a broth-based chowder with several types of seafood mingling together. Many an Islander insists that the only chowder worth eating is one filled with PEI potatoes. Still others claim that bacon is a necessary ingredient. The only way to find your perfect bowl of chowder is to sample a lot of them. Only then will you discover what floats your chowder boat! Insider tip: Chef Landon's chowder at Claddagh Oyster House and Olde Dublin Pub was crowned the champion at the 2023 PEI International Shellfish Festival.
Say cheers to local beverages
Over the last decade or so, the Island’s craft beverage scene has grown from almost non-existent to a thriving space where innovation and tradition mingle in perfect harmony. Many of our beloved craft breweries, cideries and distilleries remain open year round and offer an open invitation to sit back, relax and sample whatever is one tap! Be sure to check for events, as live music and trivia are often on tap.
Buy local at farmers’ markets
Our PEI farmers’ markets in Charlottetown and Summerside are treasured community spaces where Islanders come together to shop local, enjoy good food and catch up on the latest news. In other words, if you want to get the lay of the land when it comes to PEI culture, the market is a great place to start! You’ll find all sorts of fresh produce, local meats/fish, homemade baked goods, preserves, craft beverages and other yummy goodies. The best souvenirs are the ones you can eat, right?
WinterDine in Charlottetown
January 22 to February 11, 2024
Raise a toast to winter and discover the inviting culinary scene in downtown Charlottetown during this annual three-week festival for food lovers. Participating restaurants will woo you with their exclusive three-course menus, designed to warm your heart and fill your belly. From delectable Island beef cuts to luxurious potato sides, lobster appetizers, fresh shellfish dishes and many globally inspired dishes, chefs love to showcase the versatility of our best ingredients. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the city’s diverse dining scene and find your new favourite place to eat!
Take Home a Bit of Canada's Food Island
Now that we’ve whet your appetite with just a few of the many food and drink adventures you can enjoy during your winter getaway, it’s time to book your winter getaway to Canada's Food Island. Pro tip: Save space for take home treats and a copy of the Canada's Food Island cookbook.