If you just read this headline and have a few questions, we're happy to confirm that yes, the Canadian Potato Museum is a real thing, and yes, they do serve something called Irish moss seaweed pie.
In the Prince Edward Island town of O'Leary (population 815, according to the 2016 census), you will find the Canadian Potato Museum, home to the world's largest exhibitions of potato-related farm machinery, agricultural and community artifacts, and the world's largest potato sculpture.
For context, O'Leary is one of Prince Edward Island's most productive potato farming regions, so it makes sense that such a temple to the humble tuber would be founded there.
The museum's restaurant, their PEI Potato Country Kitchen, serves, as you might imagine, a number of potato-based dishes like baked potatoes, poutine, soups, and fries. For dessert, they offer a local delicacy: Irish moss seaweed pie.
The menu describes it as "an angel food cake base with a layer of Irish moss filling, topped with your choice of strawberry or blueberry fruit sauce."
According to a recent article in the Journal Pioneer, only two people in the whole world know the recipe, trusted as its keepers.
They spoke to one of them, Nick Doucette. “A lot of people come in here and they expect to see seaweed hanging out of it,” she said, clarifying that it is, in fact, a very light dessert.
Also known as carrageen (from the Irish word carraigín meaning “little rock”) and by its scientific name chondrus crispus, Irish moss is a species of red algae. A binding and thickening agent, Irish moss is often used as a cruelty-free stand-in for gelatin. Exceptionally rich in nutrients and antioxidants, it has also gained a reputation as a superfood.
Irish moss pie originated in Miminegash, Prince Edward Island, which the Journal says was once considered the "Irish Moss Capital of the World."
The recipe was refined at the Seaweed Pie Café and Interpretative Centre, run by the group Women in Support of Fishing in Miminegash from 1994 to 2012.
Doucette and her colleague Louanne Gallant were trained in how to prepare the pie in the '90s and have kept it secret since then.
So if you want to try it, you'll have to head to O'Leary!