Regional growers in the Lanaudière and Mauricie regions cultivate the art of making your mouth water. Part traditional expertise, part modern inventiveness, this basket full of gourmet treats deserves a little introduction.
A good meal always starts with a convivial apéritif, and on this topic, Authentic Quebec has no lack of suggestions. Feel like a beer? Quench your thirst with a pint from Trou du Diable. A must from this regularly rewarded microbrewery from Shawinigan is the strong-charactered brew la Buteuse. You prefer wine? Ferme Guy Rivest’s wines, such as la Courtisane or strawberry Mistelle are made from red berries, and can be enjoyed as an aperitif, or even with cheese. You might also like to try Prémont Tawny, a brandy-fortified wine that made the reputation of the Prémont Winery, in Sainte-Angèle-de-Prémont, where Grande Rouge and Grande Blanche are among their other vintages.
Contrary to popular belief, an abundance of choice is not a bad thing! In Trois-Rivières, Boulangerie François Guay’s traditional Quebec baked beans are simply legendary, while the duck foie gras from Domaine Maurel-Coulombe, located in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, does justice to the tradition from the Southwest of France, the former home of Yvanne, one of the owners. Fumoir Saint-Damien’s maple-smoked trout is also worth a detour, as well as the family-owned butcher shop Cochon cent façons, where the standards of the facilities match the quality of the products, the latter exemplified in the tasty leek-and-woodland-mushroom blend that flavours their spreadable white boudin.
Cheeses: a royal platter
Cheese lovers are not to be left out. This is another area where Authentic Quebec’s originality sets it apart! The heavyweights in this category include LE baluchon (Fromagerie FX in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade) and Victor et Berthold, the drawing card for Fromagerie du Champ à la Meule in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes. The different varieties of cheddar made by Fromagerie Vallée Verte (with beer, smoked pepper, maple or ground chili peppers) in Saint-Jean-de-Matha will also make your mouth water.
A celebration of sweets
When it comes to sweet treats, visitors have a hard time resisting the expertly aged fruitcakes made by the monks at the Val Notre-Dame Abbey in Saint-Jean-de-Matha. The potato beignets made at the artisanal bakery Délices d’antan in Berthierville, with their artful blend of maple syrup, honey and cinnamon, provide another way of committing the sin of gluttony. And then there are the jams produced by Simon Turcotte Confiturier, each one outdoing the next with their creatively delicious sweet and salty flavours. Finally, to enjoy a shopping trip back in time, Le Brun’s General Store in Maskinongé is worth a visit from both a gourmet and historical perspective.
Restaurant, bistro, eatery or sugar shack?
Authentic Quebec lets you choose among fine cuisine, traditional restaurants, resort establishments, country inns and cozy bistros, all presided by fine chefs. LE baluchon Eco Resort, Hotel Sacacomie, Auberge du Lac Taureau and Auberge de la Montagne Coupée are just a few of the region’s dining destinations. But any true tour of Quebec must necessarily include a festive stop at a sugar shack (some, like Chez Dany Sugar Shack, are open year-round) or at an eatery by the side of the road to sample some street food. Apart from tradition, these friendly places are also, most of all, a chance for you to get to know your Quebec cousins. Good times guaranteed!