Where the Wild Things Grow: Local Eating Gets Really Local at Wild Caraway
Advocate Harbour, NS – Local-source food may be the latest gastronomical trend, but the Wild Caraway Restaurant in Cumberland County is about to go one step further—or closer!—with its first foraging meal. Chef Andrew Aitken and co-owner Sarah Griebel plan to gather ingredients from the salt marshes and harbour which surround their restored century home and Bay of Fundy restaurant.
The couple, who have cooked on three different continents, were recently on a food pilgrimage to Chicago. At Alinea (which repeatedly ranks in the top 10 restaurants in the world) they enjoyed one impeccably prepared oyster leaf. Chef Aitken notes, “I flew to Chicago and ate an oyster leaf I can find in a few of the world’s best restaurants or by hiking out the dike in Advocate.”
Now in its third season of primarily local cooking, Wild Caraway is launching its first meal of out-the-door ingredients, what they call “a foraging meal.” The Wild Caraway has been recognized by Taste Nova Scotia and Where To Eat in Canada, in part for their constant commitment to excellence with local seafood, herbs, vegetables and more. Their bread rolls are fragrant with dulse harvested across the street. A stone’s throw away, the wharf brings in lobster, halibut, flounder and scallops. When not preparing their own rhubarb lemonade, elderberry cordial or harvesting from their garden, they’re making connections with local producers like Farmgate and Nature’s Script (for pork and lamb) and That Dutchman (for gouda).
Chef Aitken hails from Australia and insists that local eating uncovers new opportunities for great taste, not pale substitutions: “Everyone speaks of goût de terroir for wine, but we’re surrounded by unique marsh plants like goose tongue greens, crow’s feet and oyster leaf. You can taste the salt water marsh.”
The popular restaurant and foodie’s delight sees local ingredients as another creative challenge. Co-owner Sarah Griebel grew up in an Alberta farming family that has done everything from raising bison to growing its own biofuel. For her and the Wild Caraway, local and radically local food must still be part of an excellent plate. Griebel says, “This same year we’re launching the foraging meal, we also invested in a Pacojet for our molecular gastronomy desserts. Our food is fun, delicious and local.”
In the hayfield beside the Wild Caraway restaurant and B&B, the wild caraway has just started to bloom.
For more information:
Sarah Griebel, Wild Caraway Restaurant
Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia