Those looking for an authentic and unique culinary experience should head to Atlantic Canada where the distance between the farm and the table couldn’t be shorter.

Visitors to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island can immerse themselves in the impressive culinary scene not just by eating great food but also by visiting the local farms, fisheries and wineries.

“People want to know where their food comes from and they want to meet the people who make it,” says Chef Allan Williams, a food product developer and award-winning chef at Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, Prince Edward Island. “People like to know the name of their farmer or fisherman.”

The ten-mile diet

People often talk about the hundred-mile diet, but on Prince Edward Island, it’s more like the ten-mile diet. The land is rich and produces an abundance of fresh produce, meat and dairy products. The waters brim with fish, lobsters, oysters and mussels. “It is these raw materials that set the food in Atlantic Canada apart,” says Chef Williams. “When you start with quality ingredients, you end up with a quality product.”

“People come to Newfoundland to slow down and cleanse their souls by experiencing the place itself, by meeting the people here. But it’s the food that ties it all together.”

Born and bred in Newfoundland, Chef Murray McDonald knows just how special the region’s culinary scene is. McDonald spent over a decade travelling the world, working as a chef in places as far flung as China, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Grand Cayman. But the pull of home was too strong. He returned to Newfoundland and applies what he learned on his travels to traditional Newfoundland cuisine.

“Here, we're taking the food and traditions of our ancestors, and we’re looking to the future,” says Chef McDonald, who works his culinary magic at the Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland. “There’s a story behind the food here, a real tradition,”

Food tells the story of place

Culinary tourism is about pursuing memorable eating experiences and gaining an authentic taste of the locale. Nowhere is that pursuit more attainable than in the Atlantic Provinces. “The food needs to relate back to the place, there needs to be a story and we offer that here,” says Chef McDonald. “People come to Newfoundland to slow down and cleanse their souls by experiencing the place itself, by meeting the people here. But it’s the food that ties it all together.”

It’s foraging season in Newfoundland and local menus will reflect that. Chefs will plan menus around what can be foraged and what farmers are pulling out of the ground. “We've gone back to a simplified way of cooking and that resonates with people,” says Chef McDonald.

An exceptional combination

For Chef Jason Lynch, chef at Le Caveau, Domaine de Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, the region’s strength lies in its exceptionable combination of rich agriculture and fishing industries and a burgeoning wine industry.

Chef Lynch was raised on a farm and says it is second nature for him to buy from the farmers he knows. “It's not just about buying local to be able to advertise that,” he says, “it's just the way I was brought up to think. I don't deal with very many large suppliers; I prefer to support the local, smaller farmers in the community because that's the way I was raised.”

Whether you’re looking for traditional east coast dishes delivered by award-winning local chefs, wine made from grapes grown just down the road or breathtaking views and a getaway that cleanses the soul, Atlantic Canada is the place to find it all.