Nearly everyday we feel so fortunate to live on this island sandwiched between the Sound and two mountain ranges. The juxtaposition of our island definitely lends to the magical energy we experience. That magic isn’t isolated to the geography. This island is a bread basket of farm fresh fare from veggies, meat and seafood.
As March approaches we start looking toward spring activities: hiking, prepping and planting our garden, and discussing potential livestock additions. In all of this, on Whidbey Island we launch these spring preparations with the Penn Cove Musselfest in Coupeville.
We kicked off the weekend with the Mussel Mingle which allowed us to gather with other locals and get early sampling of mussels and a tasty bite of Three Sisters hot dog. The mingle also gives us locals the opportunity to pre-purchase mussel chowder tasting tickets before the big Seattle crowds arrive.
There are typically four tasting tickets available for purchase, each featuring four different establishments. Visitors can taste all 16 varieties by purchasing all four tickets, however, we opted for the one. I’m sure we missed out on some great chowders from The Captain Whidbey Inn and Christopher’s, but I personally don’t think I could manage 16 tastings. I mean, like tasting wine, once you’ve visited three or four establishments, your taste buds are shot. So we opted for the “Mussel” ticket which featured chowders from Oystercatcher, ShoNuff BBQ, Toby’s and Penn Cove Tap Room.
Musselfest is a great way to taste some local chowder and mussels, wander around quaint, historic Coupeville and if you’d like, take a boat ride to check out Penn Cove Mussel Farm. I had hoped to have time to take the tour, but after our tasting we opted to return to the Oystercatcher to have a full bowl of their mussel chowder.
The Oystercatcher chowder was full of culinary goodness and flavor. The chowder offered the savory expectation of most chowders but its creators included kale, potatoes, sunchokes, celeriac and andouille sausage for the win. That one tiny taste just wasn’t enough for me….I had to have more.
You probably have already guessed how I voted, but check out the video to see a glimpse of our Penn Cove Musselfest experience and hear how we critiqued our chowder samplings.