Port au Choix Gourmet Festival
The Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (HSA) is proud to partner with Parks Canada to present the Port au Choix Gourmet Festival. Taking place August 18th to 20th, the festival will celebrate the French history of the community and allow participants to experience authentic Basque cuisine.
In the lead up to the festival, Montreal chef Gerard Couret has been conducting culinary workshops on French Basque cuisine with local chefs, establishments and community members. Their five days of Basque cuisine education will culminate in this weekend’s Port au Choix Gourmet Festival, where the public can sample authentic dishes, while enjoying local history and lively entertainment. The gourmet offerings include: enticing appetizers of fresh mussels of St-Jean-de-Luz and fresh capelin, garlic soup, moose axoa d’Espelette, koshkera (a fresh cod dish), and Basque cake.
Activities on August 18th, will take place at the Visitor Centre of the Port au Choix National Historic Site. Visitors to the site can participate in the hands on ‘Seal for All Seasons’ program, and midday there will be samplings of the Basque dish Moose Axoa d’Espelette, and performances by local musicians. August 19th will start with an opening ceremony at the French Rooms Cultural Centre, followed by a parade through the community, ending at the French Bread Oven located in Old Port au Choix. Activities will then continue inside a large tent at this location. A $10 admission fee will allow you to sample a buffet of gourmet Basque cuisine, while being entertained by rich local talent. There will be fun activities for the whole family, as well as a guided hike to scenic Barbace Cove for the adventurous. On August 20th, local chefs will be offering their full French Basque menus at their establishments, and the public is encouraged to dine-out and help support this new cultural initiative!
Basque at Port au Choix:
Port au Choix National Historic Sites is a rich archaeological site showcasing over 5000 years of occupation by groups such as the Maratime Archaic Indians, Dorset Paleoskimos, Groswater Paloeskimos, and Recent Indigenous Peoples. However, Port au Choix is also rich in European history, particularly that of the French Basque. The French site at Barbace Cove provides tangible evidence of Basque occupation from 1713 to 1783, when the area was the southern limit of the ‘French Shore’. During this time Port au Choix was one of the centres of the French Basque commercial fishery. The Port au Choix Gourmet Festival seeks to connect locals and visitors alike with this aspect of the area’s history and culture.