Enter to win two tickets to Local Tasting Tours Open Kitchen food tour:
We first tried Local Tasting Tours back in May. We opted for their Night Out on Quinpool tour, a unique 5-course walking tour through our own neighbourhood. We learned a lot, about food and about the history of our neighbourhood, and we ate a LOT of great food.
Since then, we’ve found ourselves recommending Local Tasting Tours often – to visitors and locals. Locals including my parents who are already planning their next food tour. So we jumped at the offer when Local Tasting Tours invited us to try out her new year-round offering, an Open Kitchen Food Tour of the North End.
We met Claire (and her impossibly adorable baby, Polly) at Highland Drive, an artisan butcher shop in the Hydrostone. This mama and baby-led tour welcomes other tots to join in, making it a great weekend excursion for families – and an equally fun adventure for food-loving friends or couples.
As with our last tour, this one started with some history. Today, the North End is quickly becoming known as a food lover’s mecca in Halifax, but a little less than a century ago, the area was flattened in the Halifax Explosion on December 6th, 1917. It was the worst-impacted area of the city. Because of the explosion, most of the buildings in this area were built in the 1920s and later. The historic pre-amble gave us a great lens through which to view the shops and stores as we walked through the North End.
Highland Drive built a name for itself over the past few years for their artisanal cuts and local food offerings. It was recently purchased by another well-loved name in the local food scene here in Halifax, Getaway Farms. Cynthia, the manager at Highland Drive, took us through some of the shop’s cattle raising practices. Their animals are free-range, grass fed, and antibiotic-free.
We got a lesson from their resident butcher, Brighton. Brighton has been working with meat since he was just 13, and has a clear passion for picking the best cuts and using the whole animal. This nose-to-tail philosophy is shared by the rest of the staff at Highland Drive. Every part is prepared and sold, from jowl to marrow to hock. That hock was used in our first food sample of the tour – a pulled pork cooked low and slow and served on cucumber.
Stop two was my favourite of the tour. Those who read our other blog, The Downshift, will know that I have been working at perfecting my home made pizza. At Salvatore’s, my pizza game levelled up. Chris, the co-owner at Salvators, gave us a quick course in crafting the perfect pizza.
Then, we got to taste it…
Claire led us on our longest walking stretch of the tour – a 10 minute stroll through the North End from Salvatore’s to EnVie. The walk was fuelled with more North End history. Once at EnVie, we got a lesson in making vegan cheesecake. Blueberry vegan cheesecake. Which we then got to eat.
From there, we made the 10-step trek next door to Agricola Street Brasserie. Drew has been telling me all about Agricola Street Brasserie for months. It’s a truly unique looking venue in the city, with it’s high ceilings, white brick walls, and skylights that flood the space with natural light during the day. It has four distinct dining sections, my favourite of which was the kitchen-view seating at the back of the room.
That’s where we sat to watch the staff craft our food-meets-art snack, a beautiful take on fish tacos. The tacos were paired with a lesson (and taste) of Nova Scotia wine.
Claire finished the tour by passing around recipes so we could try out some of our new food-prep skills at home.
The Open Kitchen Tours are the first year-round tour offering from Local Tasting Tours. The whole tour took about two hours. Unlike other food tours I have experienced, this one left me with not only a good taste in my mouth, but with a few new skills to try out in my kitchen.
Hungry yet? Local Tasting Tours gave us two tickets to give away to a reader. Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Year-Round each Saturday @ 1:30 PM
Bookings must be made by phone or online by 11 AM the day of the tour.
Note: As you can probably tell from our bio, title, and blog content, we are fierce supporters of the East Coast. We love our little corner of the world dearly, and we want to show you as many amazing things to see and do here as we can. Local Tasting Tours let us tag along for free, a huge help in enabling us to continue providing posts on amazing experiences close to home. The opinions in this post are our own.