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Guided by Locals: Sea and Spirits in PEI with Chef Michael Smith

Clam digging in PEI. Photo courtesy of Tourism PEI/John Sylvester.

By Kat Tancock

It’s no secret that Prince Edward Island, Canada’s tiny eastern island province, produces some of the best oysters on earth. But did you know you can dive for your dinner? Or that PEI has two homegrown distilleries? Local chef and national TV personality Michael Smith fills us in.

Chef Michael Smith. Photo: Loretta Campbell.

The local: Michael Smith, Culinary Institute of America–trained chef, host of several Food Network television shows, cookbook author and, for more than two decades, proud Islander.

The tips: “Head out to sea for a true adventure with Captain Darren MacKinnon of Paradise on the Sea Adventures,” suggests Smith; activities with the outfitter include sunset cruises, deep-sea tuna fishing and digging for bar clams or oyster diving, complete with wet suits and snorkels. “Experience what it takes to bring fish ashore and enjoy a few tall tales along the way!”

After the adventure—definitely not before—make your way to the nearby Prince Edward Distillery (potato vodka, plain and blueberry-infused) and Myriad View Distillery (legal moonshine, plus whiskey, vodka, gin and rum) for tastings and tours. “These two artisan distilleries are winning awards with their old-school flavours,” says Smith.

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