Citizens! The smallest parts of a country frequently get short shrift when it comes to their hyper-local cuisines achieving recognition outside their local region. Prince Edward Island in Canada sadly falls into this underserved category and the Potentate of potentialities – TFD Himself – must immediately redress this undeserved inequality with all haste! Unlike the pan-Canadian recipe for maple butter tarts, this one is most specific to the province.
Prince Edward Island (PEI; French: Île-du-Prince-Édouard) is a province of Canada and one of the three Maritime Provinces. It is the smallest province of Canada in both land area and population, but it is the most densely populated. According to Statistics Canada, the province of PEI has only 155,318 residents.
Part of the traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq, it became a British colony in the 1700s and was federated into Canada as a province in 1873. Its capital is Charlottetown.
The backbone of the Island economy is farming; it produces 25% of Canada’s potatoes. Other important industries include the fisheries, tourism, aerospace, bio-science, IT and renewable energy.
The island has several informal names: “Garden of the Gulf”, referring to the pastoral scenery and lush agricultural lands throughout the province; and “Birthplace of Confederation” or “Cradle of Confederation”, referring to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, although PEI did not join Confederation until 1873, when it became the seventh Canadian province.
Historically, PEI is one of Canada’s older settlements and demographically still reflects older immigration to the country, with Scottish, Irish, English and French surnames being dominant to this day.
PEI is located about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Quebec City and has a land area of 5,686.03 km2 (2,195.39 sq mi). The main island is 5,620 km2 (2,170 sq mi) in size. It is the 104th-largest island in the world and Canada’s 23rd-largest island.
In 1798, the British named the island colony for Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820), the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria. Prince Edward has been called “Father of the Canadian Crown”.
The island’s landscape is pastoral. Rolling hills, woods, reddish white sand beaches, ocean coves and the famous red soil have given Prince Edward Island a reputation as a province of outstanding natural beauty. The provincial government has enacted laws to preserve the landscape through regulation, although there is a lack of consistent enforcement, and an absence of province-wide zoning and land-use planning.
Under the Planning Act of the province, municipalities have the option to assume responsibility for land-use planning through the development and adoption of official plans and land use bylaws. Thirty-one municipalities have taken responsibility for planning. In areas where municipalities have not assumed responsibility for planning, the Province remains responsible for development control.
The island’s lush landscape has a strong bearing on its economy and culture. The author Lucy Maud Montgomery drew inspiration from the land during the late Victorian Era for the setting of her classic novel Anne of Green Gables (1908).
Today, many of the same qualities that Montgomery and others found in the island are enjoyed by tourists who visit year-round. They enjoy a variety of leisure activities, including beaches, various golf courses, eco-tourism adventures, touring the countryside, and enjoying cultural events in local communities around the island.
The smaller, rural communities as well as the towns and villages throughout the province retain a slower-pace. Prince Edward Island has become popular as a tourist destination for relaxation. The economy of most rural communities on the island is based on small-scale agriculture. Industrial farming has increased as businesses buy and consolidate older farm properties.
The coastline has a combination of long beaches, dunes, red sandstone cliffs, salt water marshes, and numerous bays and harbors. The beaches, dunes and sandstone cliffs consist of sedimentary rock and other material with a high iron concentration, which oxidizes upon exposure to the air. The geological properties of a white silica sand found at Basin Head are unique in the province; the sand grains cause a scrubbing noise as they rub against each other when walked on, and have been called the “singing sands”.
As might be expected, much of the island’s cuisine is seafood-based, and chowder is a much-beloved dish of the locals.
Chef Kyle Panton, a PEI native, has been recognized for his ability to create award winning dishes using fresh locally-sourced products. In 2013, he won the PEI Shellfish Festival’s Seafood Chowder Competition. In 2014, he defended his title, taking home the PEI Potato Chowder Championship, as well as the Seafood Chowder Competition.
This is his recipe, and I wouldn’t change a thing in it – a rarity for me, and thus the reason my name isn’t on this recipe – it’s all his! 😀 If you ever feel like visiting this beautiful part of Canada, this link will help you!
Battle on – the Generalissimo