Most people never associate Saint John’s, the capital and largest city of Newfoundland with innovative gourmet food, but tourists are surprised at this city’s culinary liveliness.
It is North America’s oldest city, founded before 1620. John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto was a Genovese) made landfall in Newfoundland June 24 1497, and laid the foundations of St. John’s.
Portuguese fishermen from the Azores islands, Spaniards, and French, all came to the Grand banks to fish the plentiful cod.
Several fires destroyed parts of the city since its beginnings mostly due to construction material used. The Great Fire of 1892 was particularly devastating.
Guglielmo Marconi received the first wireless signal in Saint John’s December 1901 from his station in Cornwall, United Kingdom.
The architecture of Saint John’s is distinctly different from the rest of the country, with remnants of history of British colonial capitals. At first, the buildings were nothing more than shacks for fishermen. Both Water and Duckworth Streets offer brightly coloured low rise houses, shops, clothing boutiques and restaurants.
offers a vibrant nightlife on George Street, as the inhabitants of the city like to talk, dance, discuss politics, and drink beer. Screetch, a specialty of Newfoundland from days gone by, is re-fermented alcohol in old rum casks, which arrived in St. John’s aboard ships from Jamaica to be loaded with salted cod. While the salted cod no longer exists, the Newfoundland Liquor Control Board still sells a version of screech.
St. John’s has several museums of interest – Railway Coastal Museum and Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Signal Hill overlooks the city’s several parks.
With the offshore oil industry booming, St. John’s has had a healthy injection of money that supports many services.
The Memorial University it the city draws thousands from rural Newfoundland, and both provincial and federal government services which are virtual industries.
St. John’s is the foggiest city of Canada. The best time to visit is July to September.
With increasing wealth and local population’s interest in life, chefs are re-inventing old staples like cod fritters to fancy fish cakes, with modern, colourful presentations. Caribou also features largely on St. John’s restaurant menus. Some chefs wrap chopped seasoned cod in cabbage leaf and stem it. This dish is served with a shot of liquor, mainly screech.
Moose ravioli, steelhead trout, homemade pasta are also served in fine dining restaurants.
Native berries such as bake apples, partridgeberries, and blueberries are popular in dessert menus. Newfoundlanders love their beer and the Quidi Vidi brewery fills millions of glasses served daily to thirsty consumers in hundreds of pubs. Quidi Vidi used glacial water from 25 000 year old icebergs. There is also iceberg vodka.
Hilary Rodriguez, a dentist, started Newfoundland’s only local winery, Markland, and produces specializes in berry wines.
Getting there: You can fly from Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax direct to St. John’s.
There are no scheduled international flights from Europe to St. John’s.
You can take the overnight ferry from Nova Scotia, or even venture to travel from Miquelon (France Territory) nearby.
There many luxury hotels, as well as modest accommodations to choose from
Food and beverage: Bacala restaurant, Raymond`s, Chinched Bistro, Newfoundland Chocolate Company, Rodriguez Winery, Quidi Vidi Brewery
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.