Why Are Partridgeberry Pies in Newfoundland?

The pie-making class.
Students with their pies.

It was early July when I flew into Gander, Newfoundland, a small but famous airport that became home to 38 jumbo jets on 9/11. It’s an unassuming place with a lot of history.  

The next morning, when sitting at breakfast, I noticed the menu featured many dishes with partridgeberries. I could order partridgeberry muffins, bread, pancakes, waffles, pies, or tarts. One could slather toast with partridgeberry jams and jellies. 

What are Partridgeberries?

Partridgeberries are small red berries that grow abundantly in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I’d say they are a not-too-sweet cross between cranberries and blueberries. Scientifically a member of the Madder Family (Rubiaceae), partridgeberries are deeply rooted in the culture and cuisine of Newfoundland.

Wild growing Partridgeberres

Having never heard of them, I was curious and began researching. I discovered that partridgeberries are also called mountain cranberries, cowberries, or lingonberries- at least, I knew the latter. They are indigenous to Newfoundland, as well as Scandinavia, and grow wild on small evergreen shrubs. Partridgeberries thrive in the cool and acidic soils of the region.

The fruit has a distinctive tart flavor that sets them apart from other berries. Their tartness makes them an excellent addition to sweet treats and savory meals, an accompaniment to dishes like moose and rabbit.

Continue reading Why Are Partridgeberry Pies in Newfoundland?

What Do You See in a Salt Mine?

You may not think of a salt mine as an exciting place to visit, but I’ll swear otherwise. Here’ ‘s a roundup of four salt mines I feel are worth your time and way more than a grain of that mineral.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

The Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland, earned one of the 12 prestigious spots on the very first UNESCO World Heritage list. Its operations date back to the 13th century, making it one of the most historic and famous salt mines in the world. Operations continued until 2007, more than 750 years. During World War II, the Germans used the mine as an underground facility for war-related manufacturing. Today, it’s primarily a tourist attraction.

Continue reading What Do You See in a Salt Mine?

A Juicy Mango Cake for Mango Season

As I take my morning walk in Sarasota, Florida, I pass mango trees ripe with fruit. At the end of July and  beginning of August, the mangos are in season –so mature they drop from the tree and litter the sidewalk. I picked one up, only slightly bruised, and decided to take it home. That got me inspired to bake.  

Unripened mangoes growing on a tree.
Unripe Mangoes on a Tree

If you’ve never tasted the golden- peachy stone fruit that bursts with sweet delicious pulp, buy one. Mangoes are high in Vitamin C and A. Mangos are so moist you’ll find juice dripping down your hands. I have heard the best way to eat a mango is naked!

A mango cut open showing the juicy mango flesh.
The golden orange inside of a ripe mango. (Photos Wikimedia Commons: Ivar Leidus)

My grocery stores generally sells two types of mangos. While the exact number of mango varieties  worldwide is uncertain, there are at least 500 and perhaps as many as 1,000.  Many of those grow in India. The mango is the national fruit of Pakistan, India and the Philippines. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh.

Champagne mangoes in a red bowl.
A Bowl of Champagne Mangoes

My favorite is the thin-skinned, more oblong variety I call a champagne mango (sometimes called honey mangos). They are yellow when ripened and the pit in the center is small compared to other type. The best part is that the flesh is very smooth, without fibers.

In the past, I’ve made mango pie and mango cobbler but never tried to bake a mango cake—until now. The Southern Living website published the following recipe, which I followed, baking the cake for my house guests. This recipe is a Bundt cake, but the texture resembles a moist carrot cake with golden raisins and walnuts, however without cream cheese frosting. My guests declared the dessert a winner, topping it with vanilla ice cream. Why not try it for yourself and see?  

A baked Mango Bundt Cake
My Mango Bundt Cake (Photo by Debi Lander)


If you don’t know how to cut a mango, here is a YouTube video that explains the process in great detail.

How to Cut and Dice a Mango: 

And if you are interested, here’s a link to 13 Juicy Facts about Mangoes:

Recipe for Mary’s Mango Cake from Southern Living

Mango Cake is full of fruit and nuts.
Looking inside the Mango Cake.



•       4 large eggs

•       1 cup granulated sugar

•       1/2 cup vegetable oil

•       1/2 cup honey

•       2 cups all-purpose flour

•       2 teaspoons baking powder

•       2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

•       1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

•       1/2 teaspoon baking soda

•       2 cups diced fresh mango (from 1 mango)

•       1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

•       1/2 cup golden raisins

•       1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 orange)

•       2 teaspoons lime zest (from 2 limes)


•       1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

•       1 teaspoon orange zest plus 1⁄4 cup fresh juice (from 1 orange)

•       1/2 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tsp. fresh juice (from 1 lime)


1.      Prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil and flour a 14-cup Bundt pan. Beat eggs in bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in sugar until combined; then beat in oil until combined. Gradually beat in honey.

2.      Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, to egg mixture, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in mango, nuts, raisins, orange zest, and lime zest. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3.      Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove to a wire rack, and let stand in pan 10 minutes.

4.      Prepare the Topping: While the cake stands in the pan, stir together powdered sugar, orange and lime zest, and orange and lime juice until combined. Invert cake onto a plate. Drizzle Topping evenly over warm inverted cake. (Or make a glaze, stirring together about 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice; pour over cooled cake.) I think I used too much juice in my glaze because it was runny. Tasted good, however. 

5.      Serve with or without ice cream.