Thanks to all my readers voting for my Seafood Potato Skins I won a copy of Flavours of Prince Edward Island: A Culinary Journey by Jeff McCourt, Alan Williams and Austin Clement. Have I ever had a great time putting the recipes through my kitchen and reading all about food in PEI.
Most recently I made their Chicken, Pesto and Chanterelle Mushroom Pizza for dinner, my husband ADORED it! You know me, hard to impress with a chicken dish but this was very tasty. I had to reconstitute dried chanterelles for this pizza which was such a treat! I loved learning that they grow in the woods in PEI from July until late October.
The cookbook is divided into sections based on ingredient: beef, pork, mussels, clams, oysters, lobster, tuna, apples, blueberries, cranberries, gardens (backyard bounty), mushrooms, potatoes, cheese, wine and spirits. Each chapter is written by one of the chefs. It does get a little confusing because you are not always sure whose voice it is you are reading but their love of life and food on the island is clear throughout. Having Chef Michael Smith write the introduction not only brings a familiar and impressive PEI ambassador to the book, it also brings his warm and friendly voice to the we-love-PEI chorus:
Prince Edward Island is a giant green farm, floating in the deep blue sea, surrounded by sandy beaches, rich with fertile soil and blessed with a community of passionate culinary artisans who make our local food so special.
The photographs of the food are absolutely stunning. Above on the right you will see a more tasteful and elegant photo of their Potato and Bacon Soup than mine (I was having too much fun with the chives). You will not only find images of the food but of the farmers and their families throughout. This is way more than just a cookbook, it shares fascinating information about the island, the foods grown there and the stories that illustrate life on Prince Edward Island.
So much so that throughout the book you will find many two-page spreads solely dedicated to photographs. Were these photographs being used as “filler” for the cookbook? As someone who spent their 10-year-wedding-anniversary on the island, I can wholeheartedly say… no. Not only that, I appreciate the book’s power to transport me back to that special place while I graze through each page, past every photograph. This book is not just for someone who loves to cook with the foods of PEI, it is a way to revisit the island over and over again.
When it comes to the recipes, not once was I ever disappointed. In fact, everything was a success. Above you will see the Buttermilk Biscuits and Steamed Mussels I made. Everything was delicious and inspiring. I know I will be coming back to this cookbook over and over again. One day I may even make the Lobster Bouillabaisse when I can afford to make a meal with four pounds of lobster!
This cookbook is gorgeous, absolute eye candy without sacrificing the integrity of the recipes or the text. It is jam-packed with information, advice, stories and astoundingly beautiful photographs. I am happy to give this book, five out of five wooden spoons.