By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor
I love taking food-centric road trips with family and friends. Before Josh married Rachel, he and I headed north along on Australia’s east coast from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef. Along the way, we sampled local shellfish, seafood and Aussie hospitality. Josh’s now-famous “before and after” food photos began on that trip with an afternoon snack of Sydney Rock, Coffin Bay and Kangaroo Island oysters at Coff’s Harbor. The “before” picture was an artfully presented platter of three dozen oysters; the “after” was our own oyster mound.
On last summer's road trip, my partner Michael and I spent a few days in Bilbao, Spain before we picked up a car and headed off toward Paris. During our week wandering wine country in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley on the way to the City of Lights, we enjoyed the culinary expertise of some of the world’s most creative chefs. Our rented apartment on Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris was a short walk from a great huîtrerie (oyster bar). Enjoying platters of fines de claire, speciales de Normandie, speciales de marennes (the Belons were overpriced) and a few bottles of Sancerre proved to be a wonderful way to spend a lazy afternoon.
So when Michael and I began to plan this summer’s road trip, we went in search of some of the world’s best oysters, mussels, scallops and lobster. A little research led us to one place we can find them all. So, we're off to Canada’s easternmost Atlantic Provinces: Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Our itinerary is set -- more or less -- and we leave in mid-August. Upon landing in Halifax we’ll head to Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton, driving through Highlands National Park from Chéticamp onto Baddeck. Along the way, we’ll do some hiking, check out a few beaches, visit a raw bar or two and maybe even hop on a boat to see some puffins.
Leaving Baddeck, we’ll drive to the ferry landing in Carabou to cross the Northumberland Straight to Prince Edward Island. There we will be based for several days on the island's northeast coast. We'll also spend a night in Charlottetown.
During our stay on PEI, we'll be zigzagging across the island, meeting with oysterman and restauranteurs, sampling an amazing array of oysters along the way.
Next we'll head back Nova Scotia via the Confederation Bridge, driving down the Fundy Coast to Annapolis Royal. Our stay on Nova Scotia's west coast will include a drive down to Tiverton for some whale watching from Zodiacs off Long Beach.
Winding down our road trip, we'll head back east, visiting Lunenberg and Peggy’s Cove on our way to Halifax where we'll spend our last few days.
With the basic logistics under control, we now have to get ready for a surprisingly wide array of oysters from both provinces, as well as the famous Prince Edward Island mussels, the renowned Digby scallops and the unsurpassed North American lobsters. With the help of a few seafood purveyors in the Northeast and a few raw bars owners here in the Palm Beaches, it ought to be a great trip.
We look forward to keeping you updated along the way with pictures and stories, stay tuned.
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