Cooking class at Charlottetown's Holland College (photo: Stephen DesRoches/Tourism PEI)

5 Prince Edward Island Food Experiences to Savour

By Kellie Davenport

A visit to PEI isn’t complete without a few Maritime meals!

Try the catch of the day at this celebration of the sea. The Charlottetown-centred festival (Sept. 13–16) hosts competitions for both the public and seafood professionals. Try your shuck luck at oyster-opening races or whip up your best Caesar to win cash prizes. Then fill up on championship chowder and flavourful oysters and mussels. Celebrity chefs and local seafood purveyors also host hands-on demonstrations and cooking shows throughout the weekend.

Learn to make island specialties during a full- or half-day hands-on cooking class. The DIY food experiences are hosted by the Culinary Institute of Canada at Charlottetown’s Holland College. Professional chefs show you the ins and outs of prepping various East Coast dishes, from mussels to chowder. Enjoy the fruits of your labour by feasting on your creations after class.

Don’t leave the province without trying the quintessential island feast. New Glasgow Lobster Suppers originally began in the 1950s as fundraisers for area Junior Farmers organizations. They’ve been whetting appetites ever since. Dinner includes your choice of a starter, entree (lobster, beef and chicken, among others), salad and homemade dessert. At these no-frills-but-very-friendly community affairs, you’ll get to know locals while indulging in the day’s clawed catch.

Make like an islander and find your own dinner along the shoreline. Local guide Jim Conohan shows visitors how to scour the beach of the Boughton River in eastern P.E.I. to find soft-shelled clams, quahogs, bay scallops, razor clams, mussels, oysters, periwinkles and snails. Newbie beachcombers might also spot some souvenirs in the form of beach glass, driftwood and stones. The group’s edible haul is then boiled into a hearty East Coast supper.

This foodie-focused walking tour explores Charlottetown’s city centre, which dates to 1720. Starting at Founders’ Hall, visit attractions, such as St. Dunstan’s Basilica, a National Historic Site, with breaks at quaint restaurants along the way. Among the tasty samples are local mussels at the Olde Dublin Pub, and the province’s finest French fries—perfectly golden and crisp, made with P.E.I. potatoes—from The Chip Shack.