Pete’s Goes Whole Hog

This is a first of a series of blog posts I’m doing as an official blogger for #SausageFestHFX.

To get more sausage in a shorter period of time, I decided to tag along on Local Tasting Tours Sausage Crawl today. From 2 to 4 PM we hit up four Sausage Fest participants, learning lots of interesting facts about the stores or restaurants, and Halifax, while doing so. Led by the lovely and well-informed Emily Forrest, we were a small but cheerful group today (be sure to sign up for a sausage crawl this week!). Along with two American cruise ship passengers (husband and wife Carolyn and Mike), this tasty walking tour took us to Pete’s Fine Foods on Dresden Row, Durty Nelly’s Authentic Irish PubThe Five Fish Grill, and Stubborn Goat Gastropub.

This post is going to cover our time spent at Pete’s. I learned so much about the British Butcher operation there from the very informative managers in charge, Peter and Alex. First, we were served delicious, pan-fried toulouse sausage on a bun — nothing fancy about this presentation. Two condiments were provided on the table: Dijon and truffle aioli. (Yes and yes.) Peter then gave a description of toulouse and how they make it.

Turns out this was toulouse made from a heritage breed of pig, Berkshire, being raised in our very own agricultural heaven, the Annapolis Valley region. Canaan Lands Pasture raises a very limited number of Berkshire pigs, and Pete’s has been buying half-pigs on a regular basis to craft delicious sausages and bacon. It turns out the farmer (Aaron Hiltz) at Canaan Lands is the son of Randy, who owns Ran-Cher Acres goat farm, who you may know from the Seaport Market and for the best goat’s milk products EVER. Their feta? The best. These Berkshire pigs’ diets are made up from 80% foraged food and 20% whey from the Ran-Cher Acres.

Toulouse sausage is a simple, homestyle sausage (originated in Toulouse, France), in this case made with pork marinated in red wine, fresh garlic, fresh thyme and salt and pepper. They also added some pancetta to give a slightly fattier, richer flavour. Fantastic. I really enjoyed this simple sausage on a bun, with truffle aioli.

Next we visited the British Butcher section, where Peter showed us half the pig’s head (to remind us where meat comes from); he also spoke a lot about trying to use the whole animal and how customers in Halifax are slowly becoming more comfortable with lesser-known cuts of meat. Alex then showed us the hand-cranked sausage maker they still use at this location. I didn’t realize just how much local meat was coming through the doors at Pete’s. Now I know. On the walk out of the store Emily and I gave a serious shout-out to THOSE OLIVES, the chupadelos, telling our American friends that they’re the best, most life-changing olives EVER.

More about the other Sausage Crawl stops tomorrow. To purchase your tickets for a Sausage Crawl this week, visit the Local Tasting Tours website.

Fun fact: Carolyn and Mike’s son, who lives in Atlanta, is in a pretty serious CCR cover band called Fauxgerty (sweet name). I promised to check them out, and they sound kind of awesome:

Shout out to Carolyn and Mike for exploring Halifax on foot and NOT simply loading into a tour bus for the day. (They only had one day in Halifax.) We wish more cruise ship passengers were like you!

Tasty Bites from the 11th Annual Savour Food & Wine Show

My fave... no bias I swear! The salmon tartare with avocado and creme fraiche at Saege Bistro's booth.

My fave… no bias I swear! The salmon tartare with avocado and creme fraiche at Saege Bistro’s booth.

Last week I attended Savour Food & Wine on a media pass. This year the event was bigger than ever before and seemed to really gel. The layout was slightly adjusted and the crowd seemed to flow nicely. The noise level never became uncomfortable, and the group was relatively tame, which seem to lend well to everyone experiencing the food and drink in a more involved way. It was a great night.

I still (as usual) was not able to visit every single booth. There were over seventy this year with a close to fifty-fifty split on food and alcoholic beverages. A couple of wines I really enjoyed were Zalze Bush Wines Chenin Blanc (South Africa) which was poured by Franklin Imports, and Real de Aragon Cava poured by Bishop’s Cellar (which won best of show).

Pig trotter from Ratinaud French Cuisine

Stuffed pig trotter from Ratinaud French Cuisine

One of the most delicious bites at the show, for me, coincidentally was the salmon tartare with avocado and creme fraiche on a crostini from Saege Bistro (I could have eaten these all night but limited myself to two). I also seriously enjoyed the stuffed pig trotter with green onion sauce from Ratinaud French Cuisine, 2 Doors Down haddock taco, the smoked meatloaf from The Stubborn Goat. I thought the scallop hotdog was a great idea from Le Caveau, plus I just love their team, so friendly and professional. It was also a pleasure to see the kids from Hope Blooms give the media tour a run-through on their salad dressing line.