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September 12, 2012

Fall Food Festivals on Prince Edward Island

By Jamie Wiebe | Travel, Food

Prince Edward Island seafood festival
Photo courtesy of PEI International Shellfish Festival

The fresh fish caught off Prince Edward Island (PEI) is the stuff of legends—after all, the rural island along Canada’s Atlantic coast is called the tuna capital of the world for good reason. Still, when it comes to cuisine, PEI is rarely a Canadian foodie’s first stop. All that is changing. This September brings culinary cachet to PEI’s shores, with two food festivals featuring superstar chefs and highlighting the island’s prodigious seafood offerings.

For the competitive set, nothing beats the PEI International Shellfish Festival on the historic Charlottetown Waterfront. From September 13 through 16, foodies from across Canada are invited to participate in oyster-shucking and chowder-cooking competitions. To kick it all off, Food Network chefs Michael Smith and Mark McEwan will host a dinner on September 13, featuring carved-pork canapés and butter-braised lobster poutine.

For a broader taste of the island’s offerings, the month-long Fall Flavours Culinary Festival (September 7 through 30) brings seven of Canada’s top celebrity chefs to PEI, including Top Chef Canada champion Carl Heinrich and pastry chef Anna Olson, who will bake and serve her famous cupcakes at a picnic in Cavendish Grove in PEI National Park. Visitors can also dig for clams off the coast, taste moonshine at the island’s historic distillery and cook with local flavors at a boot camp hosted by the Culinary Institute of Canada.