Savour The Flavours Of Halifax On A Local Tasting Tour

By Ariane Colenbrander

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Many Canadian cities have embraced the locally-sourced, organic food scene, and Halifax is no exception. The city teems with hot spots and craft breweries, but as a first-timer there, it’s often hard to know where to begin.

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Enter Local Tasting Tours, which offers four food tours throughout the city. Choose from ‘Downtown Halifax’, ‘A Night Out on Quinpool Road’, ‘Downtown SoMo’, and ‘Halifax North’ itineraries. All four tours last about two to two-and-a-half hours.

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We begin our tour at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street, with seared scallops served with bacon-braised cabbage at the adjacent Gio Restaurant

In addition to all the delicious food and beer, a great Local Tasting Tours plus is having a very knowledgeable guide along with you for the ride. Emily Forrest was quick to point out various historical points of interest, sharing city tales between each of our stops. 

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From charcuterie at charming Ratinaud to city-favourite Dee Dee’s Ice Cream, the tour offered a little bite - and sip - of something for everyone. 

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An unexpected surprise for me was sampling vegan cheese at the en Vie Vegan Kitchen, paired with a crisp Garrison Raspberry Wheat Ale. It wasn’t so much trying to recreate a cheese texture as it was enjoying a dairy-free alternative that went great with the gluten-free crackers and raspberry wheat ale.

Diandra Phipps and Cory Urquhart started serving their vegan to-go dishes at Alderney Landing Farmers' Market, and went on to open a restaurant on Charles Street. Chef de cuisine Lauren Marshall is a holistic practitioner who competed for Best Chef title in season four’s Top Chef Canada.

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The Nook served up a sampler plate with a small version of their Beets & Rhymes breakfast wrap along with a gooey vegan brownie. This paired with a taster glass of Propellor IPA.

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This space was built from scratch with lots of romantic study nooks, its tabletops incorporating printing press wooden storage boxes for a unique look.

The craft beer movement in Halifax began with The Granite (1985), Propellor, and Garrison (both opening in 1997). The city now boasts nine micro breweries, including one of my favourites, North Brewing. If you’re an IPA fan, you’ll want to try theirs, as well as Propellor’s.

At Lion and Bright, we sampled a New Brunswick organic summer wheat ale by Picaroons, along with the restaurant’s popular grilled cheese sandwiches. Lion and Bright gets its name from traditional naming of oxen - the ‘lion’ portion of the restaurant serving libations, the ‘bright’ side a coffee and tea bar.

Old World Hali Deli opened a year and a half ago, offering simple, homemade cooking from Eastern Europe and Russia.

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Our tour ended at FRED, which is comprised of a beauty salon at one end of the premises, a cafe and gourmet food shop at the other. Babycakes were on our serving board for this particular tour, and FRED’s chocolate and peanut butter mini cupcakes were the crowning finish to a walk through the North End of town.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to take in a new city, its architecture and its delicious gems.

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A ‘Local Mommy’ tour is in the works. You can also expand your tour with a bike and food tour, a trip to Peggy’s Cove or a stroll through Annapolis Valley’s wineries. Visit the website for updates and more info.