The Food at Fogo Island Inn
Is there anything better than the smell of fresh-baked bread? A nostalgic bouquet familiar all over the world, spanning thousands of years warms the heart and makes you drool. Fogo Island Inn’s bread initiated my love for the place, and within hours I felt at home. When I started researching my stay at Fogo Island Inn, I found dozens of dazzling images of it’s behemoth exterior, the comfy beds (and the spectacular views from them), but there was one huge element lacking. What about the food? While the food at Fogo Island Inn remains an integral part of the experience, there are few Instagram pics and patrons reviews don’t discuss it a whole lot. So you’re in luck…
I ate all the food at Fogo Island Inn.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a late-fall stay at the inn while writing for North American Traveller and took careful tasting notes of every crumb I ate (there were many crumbs). It only takes five seconds to realize how important sense of place is at Fogo Island Inn. Every detail, from the carefully thought out wallpaper and the way your room sounds underlines the culture and traditions of Fogo Island. Newfoundland’s hearty way of life is at the forefront. This sense of place is accentuated by the food at Fogo Island Inn through the traditional dishes and spectacular views from the dining room.
After getting a tour of my room (and a lesson about how to use the Japanese toilet), I cradled the lovely welcome note paired with homemade blueberry jam to take home. Ten seconds later a knock on the door brought a miniature loaf of fresh warm bread and a cup of tea. In Newfoundland whenever you arrive home from a long journey (or a short one, for that matter) someone puts the kettle on and you can bet your bottom dollar there will be bread with butter and molasses. I felt at home in the fancy-pants hotel room immediately (a completely different experience than the last place I reviewed on the blog).
One of my favourite parts of the food at Fogo Island Inn was the daybreak service. When I arrived, the staff asked me how I liked my coffee and before I woke, little elves put a wooden box outside my door. Hot coffee, fresh pastries and fresh juice affectionately called “Fogo Tonic” consumed in bed while staring at the ocean is pretty much the best way to start the day.
Breakfast is served with foamy cappuccinos and sea spray. As if I needed more pastries, a platter of goodies is presented to me at the table. Obviously I can’t resist a blueberry muffin while I wait for breakfast (who cares if I’ve already eaten a pastry in my bed). The food at the Fogo Island Inn reflects the place at every meal, and breakfast is no exception: fish cakes are served with soft poached eggs and mustard pickles, a Newfoundland mainstay, and pancakes are piled with patridgeberries and blueberries picked down the hill. I went with the traditional breakfast with eggs, potatoes, bacon and wild blueberry and fennel pork sausage. I polished off another fresh juice (this time local beet and blueberry), before heading off to explore.
The midday meal at the Fogo Island Inn is the most traditional in the Newfoundland sense: seasonality is top of mind. There are seven seasons on Fogo — winter, pack ice, spring, trap berth, summer, berry, latefall — and my late fall meas were full of preserves and root vegetables. Pea soup and caribou steak (which roam freely on the island) is served with a medley of root veg, while the moose stew (which are nowhere to be found on Fogo)comes with a buttermilk biscuit. The cod chowder presents hand line-caught cod mingling in salty broth with potatoes, carrots and green onion. And you know there was more fresh bread to devour. Tea comes in vintage tea pots and served with traditional yet modernized Figgy Duff, a bag pudding with raisins, or a mixed-berry square swimming in vanilla custard, just like Nan’s house. Everything coming out of the kitchen is homemade, from the grainy mustard to the ketchup for your chips.
The extremely modern dining room screams Scandinavian-trendy, but touches of Newfoundland are everywhere, from the brightly-coloured tablecloths to the hand-woven light installation.
The food at Fogo Island Inn gets more formal for dinner. Three-course dinners are the norm for evening service and gone are the colourful tablecloths, replaced with formal white ones. Sense of place is elevated at dinner, showing what Newfoundland ingredients can look like on a Michelin plate. An amuse bouche of a damsel plum stuffed with goat cheese and juniper oil started the meal followed by some of the freshest crab I’ve ever had with a delicate dressing of cilantro and fennel. The main one evening was agnolotti with crispy sunchoke, swiss chard and quail eggs, the next evening I devoured beef tenderloin.
Many evenings there will be live music in the lounge area. The bar offers a great variety of Canadian wines, local craft beers and inventive cocktails. The smell of wood smoke mingles with fresh bread and you can’t help but be doubly hypnotized by the roaring fire and crashing waves.
On the second floor there’s a theatre to introduces Newfoundland’s culture through film and snacks!! They feature local films as well as any film the National Film Board makes. There’s Netflix too! But honestly the best part of the theatre is the snacks! There’s an array of Newfoundland favourites like Purity’s Peppermint Nobs, Hawkin’s Cheezies and Tunnocks Caramel logs.
I somehow was able to leave this wonderland, but took a piece of the food at Fogo Island Inn with me. Every guest totes a paper lunch bag with a homemade granola bar and innkeeper/entrepreneur extraordinaire Zita Cobb’s favourite travel sandwich. This simple sandwich with fresh grain bread, cheese, butter and crunchy red pepper was a comforting goodbye and provided the sustenance for my roadtrip off the island.
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10 thoughts on “The Food at Fogo Island Inn”
As if the scenery and the inn weren’t enough to draw me into this post, your description and photos of the food kept me reading! Sounds like a delicious few days! The fresh bread and jam was a great way to start, and I loved the simple sandwich send off! Everything in between was pretty amazing too! 😉
Thanks Leanne! The sandwich was an unexpected surprise and so freaking tasty! They really go over and above with their service and it ended on a tasty note!
What a spectacular place! It would be a fantastic stay for anyone looking to enjoy true local food , & amazing views and the service sounds like it was outstanding!
I have always wanted to travel out east and this makes me want to come even more.
And that patchwork quilt, seeing that you just know they are going to treat you like you are home!
Have a wonderful weekend.
Anytime you want to come, I will give you all of the recommendations! The quilts are fabulous and made by women who live in Fogo, all 300 they did for the inn!
The meals you enjoyed there sound wonderful. I love all the little extra touches they did to really welcome you with that special Newfoundland hospitality. I can’t wait to get back to Newfoundland and explore new areas, including Fogo Island.
Thanks James!! You will have to check out Fogo for sure, it’s so special! The Bonavista Peninsula also has some amazing places to explore, and new breweries and restaurants too!!
I’ve never been to Newfoundland (yet), but this Inn sounds amazing and I love their personal touches! I’ve already sent the link to one of my good food friends as a hint for future travels. 🙂
Thanks Jessica!! I have lots of information on eating in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia so message me when you finally make the pilgrimage 🙂
What a review! I’m very jealous you got to eat let alone stay here. As a chef working in PEI I have heard many great things about the staff and food there. Hope to make the trip and stay myself one day.
Thanks Markus! It was such a privilege to stay there!! Next on my list is coming to PEI to stay at Inn at Bay Fortune!