by Tina Olivero

    The Art Of The Palate

    Bacalao is the Spanish word meaning dried salt cod. A traditional fare of Newfoundland, Bacalao lives in the essence of the Newfoundland culture. Salt cod (Bacalao) is white, delicate, and tender once it’s re-hydrated. Forever a primary staple of fisherman and a hot trading commodity in its day, Bacalao formed the backbone of the Newfoundland economy. Today, codfish remains a traditional favourite in the region and the waters of the Atlantic have created the best tasting cod in the world.

    Andrea Maunder, a mindful entrepreneur with a passion for cuisine, spawned the idea of an innovative presentation of local Newfoundland foods and flavours. As a connoisseur of food, wine and pastry, along with her love of the province, her passions combined into an award- winning restaurant, fondly known as Bacalao. Andrea and Bacalao led the charge in the local food movement when the restaurant opened eight years ago. Bacalao is located in the heart of the city, on LeMarchant Road, St. John’s. Bacalao chefs create “Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine”, which is an artistic culinary interpretation of local cuisine. Like most art, the food you find here will move you in ways you hadn’t thought possible.

    Andrea says, “I consider myself an ambassador to the world for Newfoundland cuisine and culture. We are passionately focused on sourcing as much local produce, product, seafood, game and spirits as possible. Sustainability and eco-friendliness are the foundation, and from there, through our creative re-interpretation of traditional flavours, we celebrate the uniqueness of the cuisine and culture of our province. We have built relationships with local farmers, fishers, hunters, foragers and producers. My chefs and I are the connection between them and the guests that enjoy the dishes we make from those fabulous local ingredients. We give preference to locally produced and bottled spirits and beer and also take great pride in our thoughtfully chosen (and tasted!) international wine list, including a special list of limited production/small lots. All desserts are made in house, showcasing local berries and fruits in season and other local flavours.”

    Not only a conscious company with a “local” mission, Bacalao is a Gold Medal Plate winner of Canadian Culinary Championships. The Bacalao team won the GOLD MEDAL at the Olympic Gold Medal Plates Competition in November 2011! Bacalao is also the recipient of many local, regional and national awards for leading the hyper local charge, and was acclaimed #1 restaurant in St. John’s by the Telegram Food Critic Karl Wells in his annual review.

    The Nouvelle Newfoundland Artistic Cuisine Experience includes appetizers like, Oysters Escabeche, where you enjoy beautiful Atlantic oysters, marinated in zippy escabeche with fresh dilled cucumber ‘capellini,’ cucumber ‘caviar’ and oyster brine and kombu (seaweed) gel.

    Another experience may include Hassenpfeffer Pappardelle. You could just call it ‘Rabbit Pasta’ but they wanted a tongue-twister on the menu! House made pappardelle pasta with a slow-braised ragoût of wild local rabbit, house-cured smoked bacon, scallions, peas, tomatoes and finished with feta cheese.

    Your main course could include Bacalao and Pork Belly. You’ll never look at salt fish and fatback the same way again! An olive-oil poached filet of house-cured/salted Fogo Island cod with house-smoked crispy braised local pork belly. Cranberry-barley risotto, grilled asparagus, Coffee-mango BBQ sauce (made with locally-roasted Jumping Bean espresso).

    Having recently eaten at Bacalao, I’d recommend the Fish and Brewis. An elaborate presentation and combination of tastes that is virtually indescribable but oh so right! I’ll leave it up to you to find out what this Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine is made of!

    to learn more visit: www.bacalaocuisine.ca 

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