ST. PETERS — Eric Gallant likes them naked, but the chair of Island East Tourism is anxious to try the dozens of new Island Blue mussel recipes popping on restaurant menus across eastern P.E.I.
It’s all part of a new summer culinary and tourism campaign to bench press Island Blues to greater heights in the minds and stomachs of food lovers.
“The P.E.I. blue mussel is iconic and found on fine dining menus across the country,’’ says Patsy Gotell, executive director of Island East.
“We’re going to give them an even greater profile this summer.”
For example, there’s Creole Mussels at Rick’s in St. Peter’s, Thai One On mussels at the Station Café in Montague, Mussels, chorizo and beer at Lakeside, and the Point Prim chowder house is offering “roasted mussel and potato gnocchi with a serrano, corn, leek, and mussel-infused cream sauce with crispy bacon.”
There’s another 20 or so offerings and, of course, the old favourite — naked mussels at Tranquility Cove Adventures.
“There are some lovely treats awaiting those who want to try something different,’’ said Gallant.
The Mussel Media event is a joint effort of the Prince Edward Island Aquaculture Alliance and Island East and will be featured in about two dozen restaurants along the Points East Coastal Drive for the entire 2014 summer season. Signage will mark the spots.
“It’s time to give this bivalve the attention it deserves and what better place than the original Prince Edward Island birthplace of the cultivated blue mussel?” said publicist Jamie Lee Mann of Manley Mann Media.
During the campaign launch here this week, Rick Renaud of Rick’s Fish and Chips was dishing out Creole mussels, one of his specialties
“I go through about 150 to 200 pounds of mussels a week during the busy season,’’ he said at the tourism centre here overlooking a bay filled with mussels buoys. “We expect that number to grow with this campaign to showcase mussels.”
All participating restaurants were invited to add a signature mussel dish to their menu. After trying a Mussel Mania dish, guests can visit the musselmaniapei.com website to rate the dish and vote for their favourite.
Prizes will be awarded to random guests who take the time to vote for their favourite mussel dish and the restaurant with the highest rating at the end of summer will win a $500 cash prize.
Restaurants also include Cape Light, Clamdiggers, Club 19, Cross Keys, David’s at Crowbush, Eden’s Gate, Famous Peppers, Georgetown Inn, Inn at Bay Fortune, Inn at St. Peter’s, Lin’s Takeout, Main Street Pub, Red’s Corner, Sir Isaac’s, Trailside Café.