In recent times, we have seen a resurgence of chefs who apply gourmet techniques to traditional, almost forgotten recipes using autochthonous ingredients. Raymonds Restaurant, on the island of Newfoundland, in Eastern Canada, is a perfect example of this new trend. Jeremy Charles is the founder and head chef of this great establishment; and his partner, Jeremy Bonia, acts as manager and sommelier.
The secret of Raymonds’ popularity is the use of local ingredients. Through a special license, the restaurant can offer wild game and fish; exotic birds such as partridge and Canadian rooster, scallops, sea urchins, moose ch’arki (In-house cured meat), seal meat, and fish from the nearby oceans and local rivers,. Their dishes also feature lichens, edible seaweed, and wild mushrooms of excellent quality.
The restaurant sources its products from organic vegetable producers, livestock breeders, fishermen, hunters, and independent purveyors who have become invaluable in obtaining the best and freshest ingredients in every season. This gourmet philosophy, inspired by local culinary traditions, is fast becoming a relevant gastronomic movement within the culinary community.
While all the dishes on the menu are tempting, for those who want to learn about the chef’s personality, we recommend the tasting menus with five or seven dishes including a variety of eccentricities, such as elk sausages, snow crab salad and caviar—or Canadian hedgehog. These typical treats from Newfoundland are paired to perfection with an excellent selection of wines by the sommelier, whose cellar contains more than 2,000 bottles.
Raymond’s restaurant in Newfoundland serves organically and sustainably sourced specialties.
For nature and wildlife lovers, there’s nothing like watching orcas and whales on a luxury sailboat cruising the Great Bear Sea. If you head north of Vancouver Island, just off Canada’s western coast, you’ll venture into the Great Bear Sea, adjacent to British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Visitors travel long distances for the opportunity to witness pristine nature and wildlife. They revel in the sight of whales hunting for prey, or frolicking in such a vast ecological paradise.
Outer Shores Expeditions operates a stylish 70-foot wooden schooner named Passing Cloud to observe the colossal creatures swimming just beneath the surface of the Great Bear Sea. While enjoying excellent wines and great hospitality, nature enthusiasts can view recovering whale populations — including fin whales, humpback whales, and killer whales (orcas) — in their natural habitat.
Apart from hitching a ride on a luxurious sailing vessel, and gazing awestruck at the bounty of dolphins and whales, an excursion through the Great Bear Sea offers travelers the chance to chat with researchers who study the various whale populations. They are also introduced to the abundant fauna living on or near the coast, from bears and wolves to sea lions and sea otters.
The Great Bear Sea is an ideal destination for whale watching and enjoying pristine natural landscapes.
Several trips are scheduled year round, taking small groups (6 to 8 guests) on an adventure to the heart of the natural world. Passing Cloud, captained by Russell Markel, is equipped with four private staterooms and a lovely main salon and crewed by professional mariners and expert naturalists. Beauty and knowledge, and the prospect of becoming immersed in the complicated lives of whales (if only from the deck of the boat) and other creatures await anyone who books passage and sails out into the Great Bear Sea.
Discover ice cider, a typical and delicious Canadian drink, in Hemmingford or Mont-Saint-Hilaire. One of the most unusual and exclusive spirits you can find in gourmet and wine stores is cidre de glace (or ice cider). This wine originates in the cold lands of Quebec.
More than 22 pounds of apples are required to obtain a liter of this exquisite nectar, and there are two very different production methods. The first is a breed-concentration of apples—almost always of the McIntosh variety. These are collected and refrigerated, and a few months later their juices extracted. Then, before fermentation, the juice is frozen naturally in outdoor deposits at very low temperatures.
Ice Cider is a typical brew of the Province of Quebec.
The other processing method is more natural and yields better results. It is called breed-extraction and involves picking the apples in late January, when the fruit has been subjected to temperatures as low as 1 ° F, raising the natural concentration of sugars. These freshly picked apples are squeezed by powerful industrial presses to obtain a precious and scarce juice, which is then fermented for months.
A great ice cider from Quebec stands out for its varied yellowish hues and an exquisite acidity, accompanied by aromas of caramelized apples, stewed red plum and ripe quince. In the mouth, it must have a velvety texture, smooth and creamy.
Currently, Canada has fifty ice cider producers. Some of the most exceptional manufacturers are located in the areas of Hemmingford and Mont-Saint-Hilaire. These include The Face Cachée de la Pomme, Cidreire du Minot, and Cryo. ■