Taste Halifax is the new food tour in town, operated by Susan Downey of Grape Escapes. I recently had the opportunity to tag along for a tour. I love a good food tour! I think that food/culinary tourism is a great way for people to experience a place and its culture. Most cities have some sort of food tour company now, so it’s definitely an activity to consider when you are travelling.
Taste Halifax uses a van/bus, rather than being a walking tour. It was relaxing to sit and be chauffeured around while our guide talked to us from a PA system. We were able to hit up a few spots around the city including The Halifax Seaport, Citadel Hill, Pizza Corner and the Hydrostone Market.
Our guide asked the tour group: “What kinds of foods do you guys expect to eat today?” and the answer was an unanimous “Seafood!” Well guess what – we do more than seafood in Nova Scotia! We were promised Nova Scotian wine, craft beer, pizza and the unique regional street food that calls Halifax home – the donair!
And yes… seafood!
Our first stop was Garrison Brewery, where we were given a quick and educational tour as well as a couple of beer samples. We were also given beer brittle to munch on, which was lovely with my little glass of PB & J – a mix of Garrison’s brown and raspberry wheat ales.
I was surprised that our next stop was a food truck, because those tend to be random and mobile but Taste Halifax seemed to have things figured out. Halifax Press is a grilled cheese specialty truck that makes hand-held delights out of local ingredients. We got to sample the “Spicy – With a Chance of Sweet” which contained Foxhill Havarti, Sweet Williams’ smoked ham and truck-made pickle slaw with our choice of spicy or honey mustard. This was an amazing sandwich and the perfect edible to start off the eating.
We headed over to pizza corner to taste authentic Halifax donairs from Johnny K’s! Many of the people on tour were familiar with gyros but had never tasted donair. It was delightful to watch their expressions as they tasted this sweet & spicy treat while trying to keep from making a mess of themselves.
I overheard one woman from Alabama say that she didn’t really like gyros, but loved how the sweet donair sauce elevated this pita contraption above and beyond gyro status. “I could eat this,” she said, “I wish we could get these at home”.
Next up was a trip to the Hydrostone Market in Halifax’s north end, where we were provided with slices of Salvatore’s pizza! Salvatore’s is, by majority rule, known to be the best pizza in Halifax. This establishment has been open for 20 years – long before the Neapolitan fad hit this part of the world. It leans towards a New York style and is painstakingly prepared.
I got caught up in the moment and forgot to take a picture. Click here for a peek.
We took our pizza slices (or what was left of them) over to Liquid Gold, a local shop specializing in varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The shop’s walls are lined with spouted bins and you can sample as much as you want using the provided cups and spoons. I asked the staff for a good pizza dipping oil, and I was guided through a few pepper-infused oils including a Baklouti Fused Green Chili Oil that was perfect. I also drizzled some balsamic vinegar on my crust.
There was plenty of time to sample and to purchase the wares.
We got back on the bus and headed downtown for a quick “photo-stop” at Citadel Hill. This is good for cruise ship tourists especially, who only have a limited amount of time in Halifax. You can take some photos from the look-off, get a picture with one of the guards, or just admire the cityscape.
Our last stop fulfilled that ever-present expectation for seafood. We sat around a table at the historic (and haunted!) 5 Fishermen Restaurant enjoying flights of Nova Scotian wine. We got to try Benjamin Bridge‘s Nova 7 – probably the most popular summer wine in these parts. Sweet, pinkish, slightly effervescent – this wine appeals to a large audience. We also got to try a red and a Tidal Bay – the latter being Nova Scotia’s appellation wine and the perfect pairing for seafood!
The chef came out to tell us about our food, which in this case was a halibut dish served in a blueberry sauce with veggies. How so very Nova Scotian.
The Eat Halifax Tour is $89 and operates every Wednesday and Friday from 10:30am-1:30pm. Pick up locations are the Marriott Harbourfront and the Westin Hotel. Other pick-ups may be available upon request. Come hungry.
If you’d rather imbibe, Taste Halifax also offers a Drink Halifax Tour!