The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

While eating haskap berry cobbler on the Marshall’s porch in High River, they suggested we visit their friend John Dale.  “He bakes bread out of an old train station on PEI.”  

Thank you, Tony and Penny, for handing us a delightful story on a diamond-studded golden platter.

Because will you look at this:

This is where John bakes his bread, in a town called Cardigan.  CARDIGAN.  Charming much?

Not long ago, he moved to PEI from Alberta and began Breadworks Bakery, a second career for him. 

He brought along his starter, which he’d begun in Calgary with Tony and Penny’s flour from Highwood Crossing.  It travelled with him and his wife as they made their way eastward, and now serves as the mother of his breads on the Gentle Island. 

He works out of a small space in the old train station, which has been restored and converted into a farmers market.  When we visited, the market season was over, so it was just John there, quietly working away in a small, well-lit space.  We talked about bread, and the transition from busy central Alberta to a quaint island town.  

After our chat, we wandered down to Cardigan’s harbour and lay on a picnic table for a while, enjoying the harbour view.  

John gave us a loaf of his sourdough, so after we drove back to our home for our last night on PEI - a campsite at the top of a steep hill.

Then, we set about making ourselves grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. 

They were entirely of the island: we had John’s beautiful bread, a wedge of Avonlea clothbound cheddar, Al Pickett’s black garlic, and Cows Creamery butter. 

While the black garlic made it look as though we’d spread tar all over our meal, it added a sweet, dark flavour I’ll now desperately miss from every grilled cheese I eat. 

We sat and ate, the only people still willing to sleep in a tent at that time of year, and watched the sun set over the rows of hops someone was ambitiously growing in the field below.    

Thanks PEI.  You gave us so much, including black garlic grilled cheese sandwiches.  For those, we will be eternally grateful.