Merroir: The Terroir of the Sea

Lia Rinaldo, Managing Director,  Devour!The Food Film FestLucky us!

Here we are in beautiful Nova Scotia in spring, and as we look ahead to another plentiful year of planting, growing and harvesting fresh bounty from the land, I am going to draw your attention to the sea.

It just so happens that Nova Scotia’s first appellation, Tidal Bay, pairs magnificently with our local seafood. These crisp, bright white wines are a product of our unique terroir — soil, topography and climate. This applies to what’s happening underwater and along our coastlines in our merroir — all of the factors that affect a specific ocean habitat. Nowhere  is this more obvious than in the taste of a fresh oyster from Sober Island on the Eastern Shore, all the way to Malagash Oysters on Tatamagouche Bay. Fresh oysters are offered on most menus from new restaurants like Studio East Food + Drink to a pure classic like downtown Halifax’s The Five Fishermen with their daily oyster happy hour.

As we head into 2016, and the trend towards healthy, mindful eating continues … there are many people and networks committed to ensuring you are informed and have access to local, sustainable seafood. Check out Ocean Wise, Slow Fish Canada and two local CSFs (community supported fisheries) — Off the Hook and Af ishionado Fishmongers —  who work with small-scale fishermen direct  to consumers.

And finally, can I get an amen for a classic fried-fish sandwich? You know the kind, synonymous with a sunny day at the beach. Again, a nod to a classic family fishing business — Evan’s Fresh Seafood in Dartmouth’s Alderney Landing has a haddock burger that will cure what ails you. And be sure to check out The Canteen, where a calamari po-boy or a coldwater shrimp salad sandwich might show up in one of their weekly specials.

Spring Back with Local Brews

Shawn Meek and Chris MacDonald, Atlantic Beer Blog

Every year, it seems like winter will never end. When it finally does, our first instinct is to leave the darker, stronger beers of the season behind and jump into the wheat beers and pale ales associated with warmer temperatures. What’s really nice, however, is taking the time to enjoy the season with several beer styles that are somewhere in between these two extremes.

Garrison Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA may be extremely dark, but is lighter in body than many Winter Warmers, and while showing some notes of roasted malts, it balances well with plenty of hops.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Sessionista Ale is described by the brewery as a ’bold session ale.’ While only 3.5 per cent ABV, it still exhibits plenty of flavour to keep your taste buds’ attention.

Already missing  the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day? Keep the sentiment alive and start the new season  off with Propeller’s Irish Red Ale.

Blessed Spring

Evelyn Friedrich, Sommelier,  Coordinator Atlantic Canada Beer Awards

After enduring the doldrums of a long cold winter, springtime is the season that brings with it an awakening and rejuvenation of the senses. We feel  the warmth and brightness of the sun, notice the smells of new life in the air and begin to crave all things fresh and new. To enjoy this experience to the fullest, treat yourself to locally grown and produced wines.  Let Blomidon Seyval Blanc be your sunshine in a glass. This aromatic and fresh, slightly off-dry wine, with a citrusy crisp finish, will show off  its versatility and food friendliness when paired with almost anything, from fresh local seafood, to spring leeks and greens, to spicy Asian cuisine.

For something pink and pretty, Avondale Sky Lady Slipper, vinified from Leon Millot grapes, offers a delicate complexity, a palate of juicy fresh berries, crisp and clean with a hint of balancing sweetness.  It is a perfect match with mild local cheeses and a sunny afternoon on the deck. And if you’re game  for something to enjoy with spring lamb, try Petite Riviere LaHave Red, a medium-bodied wine with rich, dark cherry fruit, a touch of new ground earthiness and leather-like flavours.

Ah, blessed spring.  We welcome you.

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