Dynamic Halifax Entrepreneurs

It’s always a pleasure meeting people who have built a business around their love of food, and during my walking tour of Halifax with Local Tasting Tours, I was introduced to the work of many.  Emily, the owner of Local Tasting Tours, is a long distance walker and go-getter; she’s walked the perimeter of both PEI (1000km) and Nova Scotia (3000km), been involved in theatre in Halifax, and managed a bistro in the North End.  With these credentials, starting Local Tasting Tours was a pretty fantastic way to combine all her passions.  Claire, a chef and musician in Halifax, was my guide for the day, and showed me the ropes of the Halifax food scene.

We started our tour by meandering the beautiful boardwalk along the Halifax harbour, and found ourselves at Sugah!, an old school Nova Scotia confectionary company.  The confection company features hand crafted sweets with local ingredients: cranberries from Lunenburg, fog burner coffee roasted at the Uncommon ground cafes, salted chocolate with sea salt harvested on the shores of Nova Scotia (by the owner, himself!), and this ‘brew bar’ that I couldn’t resist. 

It’s chocolate combined with Garrison toasted barley, and it is the first bar of its kind I’ve ever tried.  The toasted barley had a similar flavour to roasted coffee, and paired nicely with the rich, dark chocolate.

The same owners of Sugah! also own Uncommon Grounds, so we also visited one of their many locations throughout Halifax. 

It was here that I was reacquainted with our old friend, the Oatcake.  Their version was seedy, therefore contributing further to my unfounded belief/want for oatcakes to be healthy.

We also when to Elements on Hollis, a restaurant attached to the Westin that’s been in operation since the 1930’s.  Elements is committed to using sustainably caught seafood, and Chef Steven Galvin works with Slow Fish Nova to keep Nova Scotia’s premium seafood in the province.  In addition to eating a unique and delicious tomato-fennel-seafood sausage (which I shamefully let bounce and hit the floor after my first and only bite) we also got to view an original menu from the 30’s…

Such a fascinating difference from what’s on offer on our modern menus.

We then strolled up Morris Street and grabbed a wood-fired pizza snack from Morris East.  They have an oven from Tuscany, which they keep toasty with apple wood from the Annapolis valley; old world tradition fueled by new world flavours.  A slice of their fire-roasted pizza was the perfect thing for a crisp fall day.

The owner, Jenny Dobbs, was mentored by Jane Wright, owner of the infamous Halifax brunch spot ‘Jane’s on the Common.’  Jane closed the restaurant and focused on the catering side of her business, and she is highly regarded as one of the most influential figures in the Halifax food scene. 

Next to her catering kitchen, her daughter Jenna Mooers opened ‘Edna’ in the north end, and it has quickly gained acclaim as one of Halifax’s best new restaurants.  I had the pleasure of brunching there while we were in town, and it was a beautiful experience.  The atmosphere was wonderful and the ricotta pancakes even better.

It was an inspiring day, taking just a small portion of what the Halifax food entrepreneurs have to offer.  A big thanks to Claire and Local Tasting Tours for helping me navigate this food-booming city.  I strongly encourage visitors to capitalize on the services of these two friendly ladies.  

On that note, we say goodbye to dear Halifax, and head north to Cape Breton.  We are SO excited to share our experiences on this blustery and colourful island!