My eldest son Aaron Nutting married Julie Lawrence in Halifax, Nova Scotia exactly one week ago. The happy event was celebrated with friends and family who gathered for four days of intense partying, marked by plenty of socializing, dancing, good food and fine wine. Even Hurricane Earl's direct hit on the Maritimes did not dampen the hospitality and high spirits of the wedding entourage.
The rehearsal party was held at the Lawrence family cottage overlooking the Atlantic ocean, with food prepared by Nicholas Nutting, brother of the groom and chef from the Wickaninnish Inn
. Nick brought seven sockeye salmon in his luggage, flying the catch fresh from West coast waters to a sizzling hot East coast grill. He and his skilled assistants Rhonda Rusk and George Wrobel shopped for ingredients at specialty markets and spent a whole day in the kitchen preparing huge platters of zucchini and eggplant, tomato and basil salad, fresh corn and green beans, barbecued pork tenderloin, watermelon and a blueberry custard dessert. The menu was a testament to the quality of seasonal produce, lovingly prepared with an East meets West fusion theme.
The extraordinary B.C. sockeye salmon run this year is a scientific mystery that clearly demonstrates how little is known about fishing in Canada. A record amount of salmon, topping 30 million, returned to the Fraser River this year after a 3 year moratorium on commercial harvesting. Last year, in comparison, yielded only 1.5 million. Was it the cooler water temperatures, or the reduction in sea lice that breed in fish farms that facilitated this windfall? No one is sure, but Canadian chefs are now confident about reintroducing this variety to their menus, and serving it up in style.
Bride and Groom
The bride and groom were married at Pier 21, the historic entry point for groups of immigrants arriving by boat to Canada. For many newcomers, this port marked the end of a long voyage and the beginning of a new life in a foreign land. Safe passage across the Atlantic to Halifax harbour was a transition leading to a host of challenges, opportunities and rewards that may never have been part of their experience had they decided to stay home. On September 5th, I watched my son Aaron standing at the front of the hall, waiting out the few moments before his bride appeared. There was a tangible sense of anticipation in the air, and Aaron displayed a quiet confidence fostered by the certainty of true love, pride and great expectations. He was about to step off the boat, take the plunge and begin a new stage in his life. When the radiant and beautiful Julie glided toward him down the aisle, tears welled up in his eyes (and his mother's.) The assembled guests and extended family witnessed Aaron's poignant emotional passage to the grown-up, demanding, fulfilling role of "husband."
Like the salmon run, love remains a mystery, and no one knows why some marriages blossom for a lifetime and others wither and die. I pray that this young couple will be blessed with many years of steadfast devotion, caring and meaningful experiences. They have so much promise; so much to offer one another.
Quail's Gate, a Canadian Pinot Noir
We toasted the bride and groom with Quail's Gate Pinot Noir
2007 from B.C. This wine has enough gusto to complement the strong flavours of the West Coast salmon. It has a rich ruby red colour, aroma of cherries, chocolate and crushed flowers, a spicy palate followed by tart fruit and cedar notes. The estate winery in the Okanagan Valley is owned and operated by the Stewart family, whose ancestors arrived in Canada and settled in B. C. in the year 1908. A bottle of Quail's Gate Pinot Noir costs $24.99 (Canadian dollars).
Sails in the harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia