Twelve Days of Christmas – Taste of Nova Scotia Style

It’s holiday time! Not only is it the most wonderful time of year, it’s also the tastiest time of the year, where food and drink factor into every celebration from a rockin’ work party to an intimate holiday feast for two.

Wait, are you starting to panic about gift ideas? Take the stress out of holiday shopping by buying your special someone a gift certificate from one of Taste of Nova Scotia’s fine member restaurants. You’ll find Taste of Nova Scotia members in every corner of the province, so if your bestie is in Sydney or your sister is in Shelburne, you’ll have a perfect gift for them.

As you start to eat your way through the holiday season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, there are plenty of Nova Scotia treats and eats that will take your celebrations from “Bah, humbug,” to “Joy to the World!”

Day 1: On the first day of my holiday eating extravaganza, it’s a good idea to fuel up with some healthy fruits and veggies. Terra Beata dried cranberries  are a great snack anyway, but pop them in your bag and they make a great pick-me-up when you’re and about, buying gifts or picking up some treats for your holiday gatherings. You may also want to pick up some Terra Beata cranberry juice to have on-hand (you’ll see why in a few days).

Day 2: On the second day of holiday eating, I’m continuing the fruit theme by serving up some Ironworks Pear Eau de Vie, the winner of 2012 Innovative Product of the Year at this year’s Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Awards. I’m also going to have some of Ironworks’ other spirits and liqueurs on-hand, so I’ll have a range of cocktail options to suit a range of tastes.

Day 3: Fancy something local and decadent? How about joining me for some oysters from Sober Island or Eel Lake Oysters? Whether you serve them freshly shucked on ice, or dress them up with a bit of L’Acadie Blanc, Nova Scotia’s signature grape, I promise you will be talking about the rich treat for days to come.

Day 4: Those at home on Cape Breton – or homesick for the island – should tuck into a fine single malt whisky from Glenora Distillery. Regardless of where you are in the world, you can toast the end of a great 2012 with a glass of Glen Breton, or if you need something more portable, a Glen Breton whisky cake from Rum Runners.

Day 5: With all of the coming and going, to-ing and fro-ing over the holidays, sometimes I just want to have a nice, quiet meal at home with a few friends. To that end, I’m going to pick up some amazing Nova Scotia pork from The Pork Shop or Meadowbrook Meat Market. I’ll let you in on a secret: you can make a fast, delicious meal for you and your guests with some fresh pork, Nova Scotia apples from Scotian Gold and a little bit of maple syrup from Acadian Maple Products. Just put the ingredients in a roasting dish and fire it in the oven.

Day 6: Hey, it’s the weekend – time for a feast! A lobster feast is a Nova Scotia holiday tradition – at least in my family. As the clock ticks down to Santa’s arrival, I’ll be looking for something quick and easy to prepare AND delicious – lobster from Victoria Co-op Fisheries, Gidney Fisheries and Lobster World fit the bill! Even better, if you’re flying out of town to visit friends and family, you can always surprise them by picking up Nova Scotia lobster, packed for air travel, at Clearwater Seafoods at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Day 7: If tonight’s a social night, why not take along some sweets to thank your friends? When visiting others, I like to show up with a hostess gift like a bottle of Nova Scotia wine or maybe some sweet treats. This year, I’ll be adding shortbreads from Mrs. MacGregor’s Tea Room to the mix. They’re authentically [New] Scottish, just like Nova Scotia tartan!

Day 8: You must be getting thirsty. How about starting a new tradition with a lavender cocktail featuring Sledding Hill’s lavender syrup? Purely in the interest of scientific research, I mixed up a few cocktails from the Sledding Hill recipe page and was delighted with the outcome! Like you, I need something different and exotic to offer when guests pop by, and now I can offer an unforgettable cocktail option, including a couple of clever suggestions including Terra Beata’s cranberry juice.

Day 9: This year, I’m following my own advice to try something new, like serving up some snow crab from Louisbourg Seafoods. Since this is a new product for me, I sought out some recipes and found a simple and tasty recipe for apple and crab fritters on Louisbourg Seafoods’ site. After watching the short video describing the recipe, I was hooked. (See what I did there?)

Day 10: Work party gift exchange coming up? How about a gift for the boss? My go-to treat is a rum cake from Rum Runners. It’s perfectly portable and literally loaded with history. I plan to share some rum cake and entertain party guests with tales of Nova Scotia’s rum running past, which may or may not include a relative or two and a few of the more notorious Prohibition-era celebrities.

Day 11: Making it through the holidays isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. That’s why I’m careful to eat well and take my vitamins – in juice form! Van Dyk’s Wild Blueberry juice is delicious and nutritious, whether on its own, added to sparkling water or blended with a great Nova Scotian sparkling wine. Speaking of which…

Day 12: Whew! We did it! That calls for a toast, how about some Blomidon Crémant, Blomidon’s first méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine. I’ve already planned to have a bottle or two on hand for my New Year’s celebration. Or for serving up with some Van Dyk’s blueberry juice, or with a taste of Sledding Hill lavender, or with some Ironworks liqueur…

For Nova Scotians who are far from home this year, you’ll be happy to know lots of great Nova Scotian products can be delivered right to your doorstep. If you know someone longing for a taste of home, a Taste of Nova Scotia Gift Basket, including an assortment of local treats makes a delicious present as well.

Regardless of where you’re spending your holiday, make it an extra-special occasion by including your favourite Taste of Nova Scotia product – happy holidays!

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