Behind the scene – Chocolate challenge in the Maritimes
Days 16 to 21: our journey in PEI
After two rich and intense weeks in New-Brunswick, we headed north to Prince-Edouard-Island. Being half way of our challenge, we were exhausted as you may have seen. Reaching Charlottetown at that point was really awesome. We had a chance to rest a little bit, especially given the extraordinary opportunity we had to stay at Phil and Nancy’s for few days. It felt like setting up home. All the people we met in PEI actually made us feel like being part of the family. It’s been awesome. It allowed us to recharge the batteries. At the same time, we received numerous supporting messages from our family, friends, producers we met along our trip and also people we only knew from the social media. Wow, we have no word to say how much that contributed to keep us on track to continue this journey with the smile. So just thank you!
Before making our daily recipe with Nancy, we were teased that she was doing the best pancakes in town. Exciting eh? We were drooling already. As a food blogger, I saw so many times these magnificent pancake stacks arrosed with syrup that just makes you want to eat all of them – food bloggers will definitely know what I’m talking about. – It may not be the most original idea of all time but no matter what, I wanted to make one since a long time. And wasn’t it awesome? Ha ha. Anyway, so we’ve made those terrific pancakes with Nancy. She kindly shared with us her recipe she got from a family in Vermont – in which we added plenty of chocolate chunks – and she offered me to cook them. Well, like always, I missed the first ones. A not enough hot pan, too big pancakes, etc. I didn’t panic. It’s kind of usual for me. Although Phil wasn’t pretty sure whether Nancy should take the lead again of the cooking. But Nancy had faith in me 🙂 And everything went back in order after the first batch. Stan prepared the chocolate sauce ready to be poured on an obscene – and absolutely awesome – chocolate pancakes stack.
Back to rushing time on day 17. For that recipe, Florence shared so many products from all of her neighboors in advance, we didn’t know which one to pick. Also it’s been a bit crazy as we had a journalist following us on that date. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to give some spotlight on the amazing job local farmers do. At the same time, it’s also a bit less intimate to get to know people with whom you’ve only chatted over email before. Fortunately, Florence is the best. She made us feel really comfortable in her open kitchen. That’s only after a good afternoon of cooking she gave us a tour of her lovely farm. And then, we met the…
… beloved goats. So we came back to do something with the incredible goat dairies from the farm. After making an awesome ice-cream with both the milk and fresh cheese, Florence kept a surprise for us. The sun was falling down, the view was amazing and then Florence took Emily out. Emily is one of her adorable goats. Stan and I had the chance to milk a goat for the first time. It was lot of fun. Even through it’s job. Florence was just 10 times more efficient than us. Anyway, it’s been really great.
Ding-dong. A new day, a new home, new people. But amazingly, it felt instantely like we were part of the family. We were invited for dinner so it was like we were in charge of the dessert while others were taking care of the rest of the meal. Oh we’ve been really spoiled. Our hosts warned us of fishing being the second economy of the island. Well, we could check that for sure over dinner. Oyster, lobster, mussels, shells… I know! It looked like heaven. And it was.
Oh, that was a rainy day. We were all wet and not in the best mood frankly. But eventually, getting inside Amy and Verena’s house and seing a wonderful rainbow of colorful tomatoes cleared our mind. The small organic farm not only grows tomatoes but those are wonderful. So here we go, tasting the different varieties in the storage room. All having a unique flavor. That’s when Stan declared Amy and Verena were really the queens of tomatoes. Mixing tomatoes and chocolate may sound curious but I was used to make a jam with green tomatoes and vanilla. So that should work somehow. As we were cooking, we learned more about organic farming. Nowadays, we are so used to see veggies all looking the same, tasting the same (we may even say tasteless) and fitting in the box. We forget where it comes from. We’re disgusted by a worm in a corn but not questionning why you don’t find any in a GMO one. If they like the organic, shouldn’t we prefer the one they picked ? Doesn’t that make sense ?
For our last day in PEI, we stopped-off at the Farm Center to meet Yanira and Betty, two very implicated volunteers. Actually, this was the second time we cooked in the communal kitchen. The first time was with Betty couple of days ago. Every saturday, she runs a cooking class for the communtity to teach how to cook and keep veggies from the garden. We took part of it and it’s been a great experience. I mean, we figured out how much work and investment it represents. And so when we came back to make this recipe, we really wanted to pay tribute to the work of all the volunteers who contribute to grow this beautiful garden right in the heart of the city.
Six more days of this chocolate challenge have past and we still have a quarter of our adventure to live. It’s been an amazing and very pleasant week, allowing us to refuel for the rest of our trip. It’s funny because the other day, I was telling Stan the more we got into this adventure, the less we knew where we were going. But even if the path is taking some detour, we trully enjoy them and what you give to us is amazing. This journey is definitely full of surprise. To be continued…