We’ve been having fun in and around Twillingate, Newfoundland, for the past few days. That includes a visit to Auk Island Winery, some hiking, and a sampling of some of the local seafood. We’re up here in shoulder season, so a lot of businesses aren’t open…but we pretty much have the place to ourselves (along with 2,500 delightfully friendly residents).
Of course, the hiking trails around Twillingate don’t ever really close down (depending on your tolerance for cold weather, I guess), and we had an awesome day for a hike. After a visit to Crow Head and Long Point Lighthouse, we enjoyed hikes to French Beach and French Head. The views were stunning, the sky was crystal blue, and we were the only folks around.
As nice as the hiking was, the highlight of the day was our visit to Auk Island Winery, where we chatted with our friendly host, Nicole, for nearly an hour. She shared a lot of insight into their berry wines, and also shared her love for Twillingate and the surrounding country. We covered a lot of ground, including stories of Nicole’s travels to the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and a brief conversation about her experience during 9-11.
Our cottage in Twillingate is really terrific, located up on a bluff overlooking the harbour with windows across the whole back of the place. I’ve gotten more vitamin D on the porch here in the last few days than in the last month. And Souzz has spent every possible moment enjoying the sounds of the waves slapping against the rocks in Twillingate Harbour. The cottage also includes a full kitchen, which is a great luxury.
As for the kitchen, we’ve continued our obsession with local cuisines and regional dishes. Our menu has included cod, Atlantic salmon, mussels, and lobster. Also on the list is a locally bottled rum called Screech, a brand that has been somewhat taken over by tourists but is a regional specialty just the same.
As the Screech story goes, an American military officer stationed here back in the day let out a loud screech the first time he took a shot. Whether that is true or not is hardly the point. We tried it straight up, and also made our own signature cocktail with pineapple juice and cinnamon, which Souzz called a Twillingate Tangle. Pineapples and cinammon aren’t native to Newfoundland, but neither are we–so we figured why not.
In addition to the cod, salmon, and Screech, there are some more obscure traditional foods, like seal flipper pie, pickled herring, and a natural sea vegetable called dulse. We are still looking for seal flipper pie (it’s out of season, much to Souzz’s relief), but we have found the herring and the dulse and they are on the menu for the next few nights (wish me luck).
So far, our dinners have included cod au gratin, steamed mussels, maple smoked salmon, and lobster risotto (ok, so risotto isn’t really a Newfoundland dish). As I watch the waves roll in, I appreciate that the ocean is the source for food here more often than not. Let’s hope that Souzz agrees. 🙂