Newf-a-licious – it sounds like it could be a TV show on Bravo, E!, or Oxygen. Happily, it’s not that at all. Instead, it’s a word just coined to describe native Newfoundland cuisine. Oh, all the expected dishes are available and there are some very fine restaurants pushing the envelope for the foodies out there. But it’s the ones that really define Newfoundland gastronomical culture I want to share.
It’s a rare person who doesn’t know what cod, a favorite of mine, is. Fish and chips is a ubiquitous dish in many places around the world. But it’s an even rarer (non-Newfoundlander) person who knows what cod cheeks are. I’ve already written about scruncheons, but how about seal flipper pie? Or brewis? Figgy duff?
Cod cheeks are pretty self-explanatory if not easily attainable in the lower 48. It’s the fleshy part of the head considered to be a delicacy when cooked. Great late at night with some local brew.
Brewis – why, that’s no more than than hard tack (a bread) soaked in water and then boiled with salt cod and/or fat pork. This could very well be on the American Heart Association’s list of foods to eat in moderation and it’s very popular. It’s often the main course.
Or seal flipper pie. Of course you would want it fresh, so you’d go down to the docks in St. John’s and buy fresh seal flippers from the trucks, right off the boats. For many, it’s considered a delicacy. It wasn’t my favorite.
And then there’s figgy duff, a dessert, which really is quite nice. It’s a boiled pudding with raisins and saturated with molasses and was in the past thought of as a luxury.
Lest you think everything is made from lesser ingredients, there is caribou and moose. Caribou sausage is really good. The moose burger to my tastes needed a lot of extras like cheese, onions, etc; but not bad.
But wait, one must wash this down with a beverage, right? And besides all the usual alcoholic suspects including Screech, there’s local beer from the Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. right in St. John’s. I’m happy to say, I’ve sampled most of them and quaffed even more of certain ones and enjoyed them all.
Beer is not the only beverage made in St. John’s. Vodka made from iceberg water is very popular. Dan Ackroyd, he of Saturday Night Live, Blues Brothers, and Ghostbuster fame has made a vodka distilled from very pure iceberg water. It comes in a crystal skull (don’t ask why) and is sold thoughout the US.
There’s more but that’s the idea. At the end of the day, it’s all Newf-a-licious. Just don’t forget the beer or vodka.