Capelin and Cod Tongues

After Bonavista, we ended up in the town of Trinity, on yet another dramatic section of Newfoundland's coast.  Trinity is small, but full of grand old buildings, each one beautifully restored and colourful against the green landscape.  

Our hosts were Tineke and Marieke Gow, the mother/daughter team behind the Artisan Inn, where we stayed.  After arriving, Marieke showed us up to our house – our house!  Just for the two of us! 

It was a white and green little cottage, at least a century old, and it sat right on the bay.  My room was so quaint I nearly passed out upon entering.  That fireplace!  Beats a tent and therma-rest, let me tell you.  

Trinity provided us with great meals, spectacular hiking, and wonderful hospitality.  We got started by joining Tineke and Marieke at their restaurant, The Twine Loft, which is located in an old fishing gear shed attached to the inn. 

There, they cook with local ingredients and host as many travelling musicians as possible.  Though our pictures don’t do the meal justice (I was more hungry than I was patient with my flash), we feasted on basil tomato soup, and pork chops with roasted root vegetables, apple chutney, and roasted apple parsnip mashed potatoes.  It was hearty and elegant food from the land.  

Then there was the hiking near Trinity, which proved to be some of the best on our whole trip. 

It was difficult to keep our usual pace, because around every corner there was a new, spectacular view, each one begging our time and attention.  And time and attention WE GAVE THEM.

On our last night at the inn, Marieke organized a Kitchen Party for us. 

For those not familiar with the concept, it’s basically an east coast party with an apt name, since almost all gatherings in houses end up in the kitchen.  People share food, then pull out their musical instruments and play late into the night.  Neither Dana nor I had skills to contribute beyond “the ability to eat a lot,” but Marieke and her friends played guitar, fiddle, and accordion for hours.  

And tappety-little-dancing-man.  He made an appearance, too.

We ate smoked salmon on crostini, potatoes dauphinoise, roasted vegetables,

capelin (small, saltwater fish), and had our first taste of cod tongues!  These are a delicacy in Newfoundland, and Marieke’s friend Michael floured and fried up a pan for us. 

Cod tongues surrounding capelin. Funnily enough, the one to the right looks like a tiny, trussed chicken.

They have a more gelatinous texture than fish flesh, though here’s the thing: they’re not actually tongues.  This came as a bit of a shock to me, but then I thought, “When was the last time I saw a salmon or trout or cod with a big ol’ tongue hanging out of its mouth?” Never.  That’s because their tongues are little more than bony bits, while the cod ‘tongues’ are actually a muscle from the neck.  Regardless, when cod were plentiful this part of the fish was worth very little, but now they’re seen as a delicacy, and consumed with great appreciation.  

For dessert we had a classic: partridgeberry pudding with hot butter sauce.  Let's say that again: HOT.  BUTTER.  SAUCE. 

The sauce soaked into the soft, warm, golden brown cake, and its sweetness was cut by the tart, locally-picked partridgeberries.  Marieke served it to us with cream, and after a bite or two, it became clear why this is a Newfoundland favourite.    

Thanks to Marieke, Tineke, their friends, and the rest of the team at the Artisan Inn for making our stay in Trinity extraordinary.  We can now, with great satisfaction, cross 'cod tongues' off our To Eat list.