The Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (HSA) partnered with Parks Canada to present the Port au Choix Gourmet Festival. The festival took place August 18th to 20th, 2017 and celebrated the French history of the community and allowed participants to experience authentic Basque cuisine.
In the lead up to the festival, Montreal chef Gerard Couret conducted culinary workshops on French Basque cuisine with local chefs, establishments and community members. Their five days of Basque cuisine education culminated in the Port au Choix Gourmet Festival, where the public sampled authentic dishes, while enjoying local history and lively entertainment. The gourmet offerings included: 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.
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.