A few weeks ago, on a random late winter Saturday, one of my friends and I headed off on a culinary day trip. Yes, those are absolutely possible in late February in Northern Nova Scotia and it was delicious! We had two distinct stops in mind: Sugar Moon Farm in Earltown, NS and Jost Vineyards in Malagash, NS.
Our journey started in Truro where it was only about a 20 minute drive to the small community of Earltown. This was my friends' first time at Sugar Moon and my second. If you have not been you absolutely need to try it! What a wonderful place! A family owned log maple sugar camp with an amazing, cozy restaurant of locally sourced and homemade goodness (and open year round with seasonal menus). Of course the featured product is their pancakes with maple syrups from various times of year - almost like tasting different vintages of a fine wine. The service is fabulous and be sure to get a table close to the fireplace. Our meal started with fresh homemade biscuits and Sugar Moon maple butter. Little did I know until that day that there is actually no "butter" in maple butter, it is just the way the sap is boiled down to create the consistency of butter.
My friend ordered the famous pancakes with smoked knockwurst from the local pork shop. A drizzle of maple syrup and dollop of maple mustard for the knockwurst completed the masterpiece. I noticed on the menu, Sugar Moon was featuring "spruce beer" made by Garrison Brewery in Halifax. I had heard about this beer - the only beer made from local Nova Scotia spruce trees. Of course we had to try it! Beer and pancakes.....why not! It was a bit heavier than I would normally have for a beer but tasty for sure.
I opted for a dish of "shirred eggs" rather than pancakes and was certainly not disappointed. This dish was served in a French Onion style soup bowl. It had thick cut cubes of local bacon on the bottom topped with 2 eggs and a layer of rich local Gouda cheese. It is put in the oven for a few minutes so everything melts together and served with a homemade biscuit. Rich but delightful!
After an amazing meal, we hopped in our car and continued through the small coastal villages along the Sunrise Trail to our other stop: "Jost Vineyards":
Jost had recently gone through an extensive renovation in their main building and it is beautiful! They were having a sale on some of their wines so we went with the plan to stock up. It was so friendly and cozy inside with a double sided fireplace and welcoming little tables and comfortable leather chairs that we opted to buy a bottle of Jost's Coastal Vineyards and relax, sipping wine by the fire. Jost has so many great wines to choose from and it is so great to be able taste new wines or new vintages before buying. The staff is extremely helpful and very friendly, the atmosphere cozy and welcoming and of course the wine is wonderful. What else could you ask for on a cloudy, chilly, dreary February Saturday afternoon, or any other time of year for that matter?
After stocking up on our favorite Jost wines, we made our way through the Wentworth Valley and back to Truro. A belly full of yummy local food and a trunk full of my favorite local wines. A perfect Saturday any time of year in Northern Nova Scotia! Get out and explore this amazing province all year round and of course - buy local!