Food always taste better outdoors, and some lucky visitors to Kejimkujik National Park found that out firsthand Oct. 5 when they took part in a gastronomic feast in the middle of the woods.
The fifth edition of Savour the Trail saw several hundred people from across the province converge on Mill Falls Trail after their names were drawn in a lottery process back in the summer. They still had to pay for their tickets, but word in the woods is that there was a waiting list of 200 people looking to take part.
The annual event is made possible through a partnership between Parks Canada and the Lunenburg and Kingstec campuses of the Nova Scotia Community College.
“Many of the dishes you’ll taste along the trail have been prepared by aspiring chefs studying culinary arts,” the event program said. “New this year, other faculty and programs from both campuses will join the event and complement the experience in various ways. We are very happy to welcome you aboard this adventure."
Keji Superintendent Jonathan Sheppard was on Mill Falls Trail during the event and other park staff greeted participants at the Mill Falls parking lot where they were handed out trays, a wine goblet, and cutlery.
Sheppard said there was a lot of work done to clear the trail of trees felled by Dorian. And it was true. The remnants of dozens of storm-topples trees could be seen on either side of both trails. He said the back country at Keji is still closed.
Groups of hungry hikers left at intervals, but they still got bunched up at food stations where gourmet dishes were handed out, questions asked, and samples of wine, beer, cider, and spirits were tried. The ‘savour’ part of the event was taken literally as people paused to experience the food and the setting.
The hike followed Mill Falls Trail and then crossed the Mersey River to Beech Grove Trail and looped back to the administration building and then back to the Mill Falls parking lot.
Besides the culinary students from Lunenburg, staff and students in the Kingstec horticulture program, baking and pastry arts, and Mi’kmaw studies took part.
Commercial vendors were paired with the NSCC kiosks with 11 stations set up over more than three kilometres of trail. Annapolis Cider Company, Avondale Sky Winery, Barrelling Tide Distillery, Boxing Rock Brewing, Bulwark Cider, JustUs Coffee, Lane’s Privateer Inn, Petite Riviére Winery, Saltbox Brewing, Still Fired Distillery, Van Dyk’s Health Juice, and White Point Beach Resort took part.
To get an idea of those gourmet samples, here’s a list:
- Duck confits with herbs flavoured baguette and quince jelly.
- Green crab bisque.
- Marinated halibut gravlax, juliennes vegetables and dill and lemon dip.
- Slider with Kingstec rub.
- Rabbit dumpling.
- Sustainably foraged preserves.
- Fish chowder soup.
- Smoked eel with chaga tea.
- Cheese and charcuterie.
Ira Smith entertained with fiddle music on the Mill Falls Trail, and Dan Froese did the same at the Beech Grove Trail.