In 1996 Charlottetown hosted a one-day event to celebrate Prince Edward Island’s shellfish industry. Seventeen years later that single day event has grown into the PEI International Shellfish Festival–four action-packed days that feature culinary demos, celebrity chefs, delicious dining experiences, a potato seafood chowder competition and oyster shucking competitions, and live music!
The PEI International Shellfish Festival opened on September 12th with Feast and Frolic: a four-course meal prepared by Food Network celebrity chef Michael Smith highlighting PEI shellfish, lobster, beef, potatoes and vegetables. Some of the evening’s hightlights were interactive culinary challenges, Prince Edward Island stories told by Chef Michael Smith, and the crowning of the Islands Peoples Choice oyster grower for 2013!
The menu for this year included lobster chowder with butter poached Prince Edward Island lobster, celery root broth and foraged sea vegetables; a salad prepared using living salad greens freshly harvested from guests’ tables, homemade dressing (also prepared by guests) and Red Fife bread; Cabernet peppercorn Prince Edward Island Certified braised beef shortrib, snow crab cluster, PEI potato crab cake, local vegetables and tarragon butter, accompanied by bowls of fresh steamed Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels; and late harvest berry shortcake with Chef Michael’s sugar crusted nutmeg shortcake, Cows ice cream and local mint syrup!
Festival goers who did not manage to snag tickets to the sold out Feast and Frolic kicked off the opening evening of the PEI Shellfish Festival with Mott’s Clamato “Best Caesar in Town” contest at Peake’s Quay.
The second day of the festival features a shellfish cooking demonstration and “Back to Basics” cookbook signing with Chef Michael Smith, a Mott’s Clamato demonstration and the Mott’s Clamato “Best Caesar In Town” finals and presentation, the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge competition, the first heat of the PEI Potato Seafood Chowder Championship and an Oyster Relay presented by Frank’s RedHot. Throughout the day and night guests will enjoy live music throughout the day: performers include Celtic Ladies & Men, Eastern Front featuring Joey Kitson, Bang on the Ear and the Trews.
On Saturday and Sunday festival goers can look forward to joining Chef Michael Smith for How To Make A Cooking Show and a second “Back to Basics” cookbook signing; the Tie One On Competition and finals; the Shiny Sea Oyster Shucking Competition; the PEI Potato Seafood Chowder Championship; the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge finals; the Atlantic Superstore International Seafood Chowder Championship and awards presentation; the Raspberry Point International Oyster Shucking Championship and more. On top of all the fun-filled culinary events the festival will have some hopping live entertainment throughout the weekend. The weekend’s featured musicians are Eddie Quinn, Boys in the Kitchen, Sunday Punch, Signal Hill, and the Chaisson family will wrap the weekend up on Sunday with some wicked Island tunes!
In the highly unlikely case that all of that activity and food isn’t enough for you, restaurants all over Charlottetown are serving special Fall Flavours menus that highlight the fall harvest from both land and sea, and are all a short stroll from the Charlottetown Event Grounds. If your trip to PEI is last-minute, you can see ferry departure times from Nova Scotia here, and if you are looking for accommodations we have a great selection for you to choose from, many of which are within walking distance from the Festival Event Grounds. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags & escape to Prince Edward Island! We’ll see you at the festival!