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Renee Lavallee

Les Moules Magnifiques!

by Renee Lavallee, on Fri, 28 May 2010 | 1 comment

I moved out to the East Coast about six years' ago; first, starting off at the Inn At Bay Fortune in Fortune, PEI, and then Halifax, Nova Scotia. One of the things that I first noticed when I moved here was that East Coasters were crazy about their mussels. While in PEI, the kitchen that I ran had the fortune of changing its menu daily, but one thing that could never change was a daily "mussel". People ordered mussels in droves; the more the better! After moving to Halifax, I worked as the Executive Chef of The Five Fishermen Restaurant, where they have an "all you can eat" mussel bar. At the Five Fishermen, we would go through 500lbs of mussels a night! That's right, 500lbs. So, burning through this amount of mussels meant that we needed a gifted supplier with only the best product available; Indian Point Mussel Farm.

Peter Darnell is the amazing person behind these amazing mussels and his farm is located in Mahone Bay. Peter started the mussel farm back in 1982, and it is a family run business. The mussels can be found suspended in the water over 7 mussel leases in Mahone Bay. Did you know that it takes almost 24 months for a "spat" to mature into a mussel that you would buy?  Peter also is proud of the fact that he uses cotton mesh socks to start growing the spat and that biodegrade, instead of using plastic ones. Because of this, Peter's method for growing these mussels is sustainable. If you aren't a fan of mussels, Peter also produces beautiful scallops in the shell.

Peter and his mussels and scallops can be found at the Halifax Farmers' Market every Saturday morning. Here is my recipe that I use whenever I buy some of Peter's mussels!

Indian Point Mussels.jpg

My Cider Mussels

  • 5 lbs mussels; cleaned
  • 4 garlic cloves; sliced
  • 2 whole tomatoes; roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lbs bacon; roughly chopped
  • Butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 bottles hard apple cider (I like Tideview or Stutz!)
  • Salt & pepper

In a large pot, heat butter and add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the chopped bacon and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook down for 2 minutes. Add the mussels and bay leaves and give a good stir (or shake with lid tightly on). Pour in the cider, cover and cook until all the mussels open. Season to taste. Remember folks, if the mussel stays shut, do not eat it!



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    by Dewi Jones on, June 12, 2010 3:25 PM

    Peter's mussels are fantastic! I buy a 3lb bag every Saturday at the Halifax Farmer's Market, they're just incredible! Ordering mussels at a restaurant now is a disappointment at all but the best places.