From Cloudberries to Salal – Berries Across Canada

Berry Donut at Jelly Modern Donuts, Calgary. Photo courtesy of Jelly Modern Donuts. right: Cloudberries

Now that the sun is coaxing up the plants and the abundant local produce season is around the corner, I can really start to get excited about fresh berries again. One of the most wonderful things about summertime in Canada––something that most all of us can take part in––has to be berry season. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets in the summertime lead to pies and preserves at fall fairs, then into wintertime smoothies and cakes made with sparing doles of last summer’s frozen lot. Although I’d never knock a good jam or smoothie, there is no mistaking between fresh and frozen berries.


It seems I’m not the only one who gets excited about this. Chefs/restaurateurs from across the country have weighed in on their favourite things to do with their local berries.



Andrea Maunder, Bacalao Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine, St. John’s:

“At Bacalao, we use bakeapples (cloudberries) in savoury and sweet dishes.  They are on our lunch and dinner menus in a mignonette sauce that accompanies NL Snowcrab Springrolls.  It’s made with rice vinegar, bakeapple wine, chiles, shallots, fresh mint and bakeapples. We have also made a truly delectable mojito using freshly-pressed bakeapple juice, Newfoundlander’s Premium White rum (which has vanilla undertones) along with the traditional lime juice, mint and Angostura bitters.  For fun presentation, we froze a single bakeapple in ice cubes.


Bakeapples become ripe in late summer and grow in marshy areas.  Some afficionados claim the Labrador berries are better than the island ones – but bakeapple lovers are just happy to get’em, wherever they come from…we buy them up in season and freeze or bottle them for year-round use.  They look like an small orange raspberry and have a musky aroma and tart-sweet flavour.  They are perhaps an acquired taste, but when you love’em you love’em!”


Bacalao Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine

65 LeMarchant Road

St. John’s, NL  A1C 2G9

(709) 579-6565

Fax: 579-6515



Chef Matthew Pridham, MODA Urban Dining, Halifax:

“Blueberries were the natural choice when selecting a berry from Nova Scotia to feature. The smaller, wild berries are Nova Scotia’s provincial berry and easily accessible to others around the country as well.

Using local ingredients is something that we stand by at MODA. Of course certain times of the year are a little more difficult, however it’s about supporting our community – both morally and environmentally.”


MODA Urban Dining

1518 Dresden Row

Halifax, NS B3j 2K2 T

(902) 405 3480



Chef Michael Moffatt, Beckta dining & wine, Ottawa:

“The nice thing about blueberries is that they are not too sweet a berry so we use them in many different ways.  Wild blueberries have a distinct sour note which lends itself well to savoury menu items.  For instance, we have made a wild blueberry curd to match a tuna sashimi dish we had on the menu last year.

We source all our blueberries locally, mostly from one of our farmer/suppliers just south of Ottawa named Rideau Pines Farm ( also source wild blueberries from some of our local foragers who come across them while mushroom hunting. For cultivated blueberries, we use them in many of our desserts, some as simple as a blueberry pavlova, as well as in sauces for some of our early fall game dishes, basically wherever we can while we have them available.”


Beckta dining & wine

226 Nepean Street, Ottawa

(613) 238-7063



Chef Grayson Sherman, Jelly Modern Doughnuts, Calgary:

Honeyberries basically look like an elongated blueberry. Oval, like a balloon. They have the taste of all berries kind of mixed together. If i was doing [something with] honeyberries at Jelly, one would be a cake donut (shortcake split, filled with fresh berries), the other direction is to not actually cook the berries, just mash them with a fork with some sugar to taste, and some salt. Almost like a fresh jam. It will set up within a couple of hours, then could be spooned into the top of the donut, finished with a rum glaze, or Madagascar vanilla bean glaze.


Raspberries do very very well in Alberta. Specifically, the Heritage is one strain that bears all season long, there’s another variety called Royalty, which is muskier tasting, and tends to be almost a dusty purple colour. They’re about the size of your thumb.


If you’re out foraging one of my favourites are highbush cranberries…the berries hang in clusters, and they make the best jelly around, and you don’t have to add pectin because they have such high amounts naturally. Lowbush cranberries are basically like a wild blueberries, found in swampy areas, very closely related to cloudberries. My grandmother used to make lowbush cranberry jelly out of them.”


Jelly Modern Doughnuts

100-1414 8th St. West

Calgary, AB T2R 1J6

(403) 453-2053



Chef Matthew Kane, Shelter Restaurant, Tofino:

“Having grown up in Newfoundland, I am particularly fond of wild berries…no matter how many summers I spend away from home, every time I see blueberries, I remember sitting in a patch of them gobbling handfuls, and later being scolded for coming home with tie-dyed clothing. Few seasonal products motivate me to be more creative than the berry season.


Here in Tofino, British Columbia, thanks to the local culinary guild (TUCG), an abundance of both wild and farmed berries from the various regions of the province are available through the summer months. As well, we often purchase blackberries and huckleberries from local foragers, as these are the more common berries in the area. We most often make use of these juicy specimens in dessert applications, such as in crumbles, cheesecakes, compotes or pies, often in combination with fresh fruits from the Cowichan Valley and the Okanagan. As far as savoury applications go, the addition of fresh blueberries to a fresh fruit salsa, served with Lingcod or Halibut can make a delicious summer afternoon patio-snack. Even further down the savoury trail is one of our favorites: Mostarda. Mostarda is an Italian condiment, typically made from cherries. When made with Huckleberries or Blueberries, it compliments a variety of meats and poultry, and goes surprisingly well with white-fleshed fish.(see recipe)


Also available seasonally in BC, are gooseberries, which we grow in our garden in the back of the restaurant. Many would argue that these bitter morsels are best suited for wine (including my grandfather, who grew and made wine from gooseberries throughout my childhood). I find it difficult not to agree, especially after having consumed a glass or two. Gooseberries also lend themselves very well to pickling, as well as being seasoned liberally and tossed into a salad, or a vinaigrette.”


Shelter Restaurant

601 Campbell Street

Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

(250) 725-3353





Bakeapple (Cloudberry) Mignonette, Bacalao Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine

Bakeapple Mignonette – great for a dipping sauce for all kinds of shellfish.

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp apple juice

1 tbsp bakeapple wine

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp crushed chilies

pinch of salt

2 tbsp chopped bakeapples

1 tbsp chopped fresh mint (or parsley or cilantro)

1 tbsp finely chopped red or green onions


Mix first 6 ingredients together to dissolve sugar and salt.  Add remaining ingredients, mix & chill.  Makes about a half cup, enough to serve 6-8 people.  Serve it in little cups for dipping or in a pretty dish on the table with a spoon for spooning over.  Serving ideas: Spoon over pan-seared scallops; use as a dip for steamed lobster, crab or shrimp.  Try with springrolls or even on fresh raw oysters on the half-shell!  Add a tbsp each of  sesame and veg oil for a nice salad dressing with an Asian twist!



Spiced Blueberry Cake, Chef/owner Matthew Pridham, MODA Urban Dining


– Cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp yeast 1 tsp salt (Omit salt if you only have salted butter in your fridge)

4 NS free range eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1/2 cup melted butter, unsalted

2 cups wild Nova Scotia blueberries


– Spiced glaze

1/3 cups sugar

2 tbsp local NS honey

1 star anise

Half a cinnamon stick

Pinch salt

pinch black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Stir together flour, yeast and salt. Set aside for the time being.

3. Beat eggs and slowly add in sugar

4. Add in lemon rind and continue to beat for about 4 minutes. The mixture should almost triple in volume.

5. Gently fold in half of the flour mixture until incorporated. 6. Add melted butter and continue to fold mixture. 7. Add the remaining flour mixture and NS blueberries. 8. Scrape into greased bundt pan.

9. Bake at 350 for approximately 50 minutes, or until a toothpick is clean when inserted.

10. Cool for 10 mins before removing from pan.

11. Combine water, honey, sugar, star anise, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat.

12. Continue to boil for about 5 minutes until reduced and a syrup is made.

13. Poke holes in cake and brush the glaze over the cake.

14. Enjoy!



Huckleberry Mostarda, Chef Matthew Kane, Shelter Restaurant

1 lbs Huckleberries

1/2 cup White Sugar

50 ml Raspberry Vinegar

50 ml Dry White Wine

50 ml Water

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp Dry Mustard

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

Zest and juice of one lemon

Pinch of Cayenne

A couple gratings of whole nutmeg

Kosher salt to taste


In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the moisture has reduced to produce a jam-like consistency. Season to taste with kosher salt. Serve at room temperature, or warm with cheese or on a sandwich. Alternatively, you may puree the finished product, and stir in a couple cubes of butter to make a velvety sauce to serve with meat or fish. This recipe can be used for blueberries, as well as Salal. If using Salal berries, be sure to add a little more sugar, or some honey to counter act their bitterness.










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