Cape Breton Island

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As many of you know, I am obsessed with the Fourchu lobsters. They taste like the sea and are so sweet. The ICC’s restaurant, L’Ecole celebrates them for the mere two months they are available. So you better get to L’Ecole in June and July where these delicious crustaceans are making their yearly Soho visit.

In fact, we kicked off the season with Cape Breton Tourism who brought down two native born chefs, Ardon Moffard and Brooks Hart. They joined forces with none other than Master Chef Floyd Cardoz. Chefs Ardon and Brooks delivered ‘naked lobsters’ cooked to perfection while Chef Cardoz worked his personal magic on the Fourchus. Chef C is a huge fan of these crustaceans and was happy to put his light touch of spices on the unctuous sweet meat.

In addition the former Premier (Governor) of Nova Scotia and now CEO of the Gaelic College, Rodney MacDonald treated us to his fiddle and step dancing. Cape Breton has the highest number of fiddle players per capita in the world. Here are the highlights of the ceildh-party- we had at the ICC this month.

Colin MacDonald (guitar) and Rodney MacDonald (fiddle)

Finally, Cape Breton is definitely travel destination, just look at these accolades from renowned publications and travel sites. And I promise if you ever get a chance to visit, you won’t be disappointed!

  • Top Ten Dare to Go, CNN.com 2014
  • Cape Breton Island one of the 20 Must See Places for 2013, National Geographic Traveler, World Edition
  • #1 Island Destination in North America, #3 in the World, Travel & Leisure, 2011
  • Most Romantic Place in Canada, Vacay.ca, 2012
  • Ten Best Island Holiday Destinations in Canada, Where.ca, 2011
  • Cabot Trail named #9 Cycling Destination in the world, Lonely Planet, 2011
  • Louisbourg voted #2 World’s Most Exceptional Castle Towns, msnbc.com, 2011
  • World’s Best Islands, BBC Travel, 2011
  • One of North Ameria’s Most Charming Fall Islands, Fox News, 2011
  • Cape Breton Highlands National Park, #2 Park in North America, National Geographic Traveler, 2006
  • Cape Breton Island one of Seven International Paradises, Fodor’s Online Travel Guide, 2008

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For those of you new to my blog, you might not know about my obsession with lobsters.  My grandfather was from a small lobster village on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.  I spent summers there as a child and now try to spend as much time as I can on ancestral Cann’s Point, adjacent to the village of Fourchu. In fact, I am sitting there as I write this post.

A couple of years ago a fisherman friend, Gordon MacDonald, mentioned that people from all over Nova Scotia came to buy Fourchu’s lobster right off the dock.  He said the village had the best tasting lobster.  I laughed but then started to seriously observe my tasting of lobsters from Fourchu to New York City.  My gosh, was he right! I invited a group of New York chefs to Cape Breton to taste my village’s lobsters. You can read all about that here in Departures. Now I had to find a way to get our lobsters to New York. We had been working on that challenge for a couple of years when lo and behold, I arrived in Fourchu last week and found that Gordon and Malcolm MacDonald had figured it out.  They had a refrigerated truck, the documents in hand, and 3,000 lobsters ready in the harbor to be packed up and sped down to the Big Apple.

I watched and cheered as the lobsters were loaded.  Twenty one hours later they were in New York with Aqua Best, and tonight and next week Fourchu lobsters will be on menus at Oceana,Ed’s Lobster Bar and Blue Hill.  At the FCI on Tuesday night August 2nd, we will feature them on L’Ecole’s menu.  Make your reservation quickly…there are only 3,000 in town.  Canada has strict conservation of lobsters and will only allow a 10-week season for the Fourchu lobsters.  If you don’t get one that made it to town this week, you’ll have to wait til next May. Lobster season just closed up here.

Poached Fourchu Lobster, tomato confit, zucchini, Taggiasche olives, lobster-basil jus, Oceana Restaurant, NYC, Executive Chef Ben Pollinger, Photo by Noah Fecks

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