When In Quebec: Dishes To Try
Probably the best known of all of Quebec’s dishes, poutine is the province’s signature food. A delicious mess of cheese curds, gravy and fries, this dish has recently seen an upsurge in popularity throughout Canada and across the world. Now you can find gourmet poutine recipes served up in trendy eateries and its arrival in upmarket Manhattan has even been heralded by the New York Times. However, for anyone who has never tried this dish before, the best version has the be the most traditional – made from homemade gravy, thick-cut fries and fresh cheese curds – and it tastes even better when bought from a roadside truck on any one of the province’s city streets or highways.
Cheese From Eastern Townships
Quebec is famous for its cheese – so much so that there is even an entire trail dedicated to tourists who long to find out more about local producers. The trail covers the entirety of the province, however for those who find themselves short of time, the Eastern Townships are the best place to find a large number of manufacturers in a compact area. One of the reasons why dairies thrive in this province is that it is legal to produce raw-milk cheese here whereas in the majority of North America producing any soft cheese with less than 60 days of ageing is prohibited. It’s worth asking the locals about their town’s specialties as Quebec produces their own exciting cheese varieties rather than simply copying well known cheese from France.
Couscous from Montreal
Many French speaking immigrants from North Africa and the Arab world’s former French colonies flock to Montreal as the second-largest French speaking city in Canada, so it is easy to see why so many of their own distinct dishes are now appearing on menus in the city. With around a fifth of the population professing to be from this part of the world, it is no wonder that there has been a recent spate of Couscouseries opening up that feature an exotic mix of Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cuisine. The area around Plateau Mont-Royal is the best place to try these regional foods.
Montreal’s Smoked Meat Sandwiches
While it may be mistaken for pastrami, Montreal’s best known sandwich has some essential differences that set it apart from its New York cousin. The beef brisket used in this dish is cured using a different method and different spices to produce a completely different flavor. The very best smoked meat sandwiches to be found in the whole of the city have to be at Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen which has been serving up these gourmet delights since 1928 from its location on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
Tourtiere From Quebec City
A traditional meat pie made in this region, tourtiere can boast a range of different fillings which may be either minced wild game, beef or pork . Although you will certainly find these tasty pies in any grocery store in Quebec, the best tasting ones come from Aux Anciens Canadiens, a restaurant located in Quebec City which makes old fashioned local cuisine its specialty. As well as serving up traditional tourtiere, this restaurant also offers diners the chance to sample other delicious classics such as baked beans, pea soup, maple syrup pie and pig’s knuckle ragout.
Charlevoix lamb was the first food in North America to be legally protected in the same way as Italian parma ham or French champagne and its authenticity was assured in 2009. The diverse area of Charlevoix is found north of the St Lawrence and east of Quebec City. This spectacular region boasts a landscape of agricultural flatlands together with fjords and mountains all under a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation, so it’s no wonder that the lamb here is unique.
Laurentians And Monteregie – Tire Sur La Neige
While the entire province is famous for its maple syrup products, tire sur la neige is perhaps one of the best known. Otherwise known as tire d’erable, this delicious taffy is produced by pouring boiling hot maple sap straight onto the surface of fresh snow to make a chewy, soft candy that is best when eaten straight away. There are many sugar shacks in the south of the province selling this sugary snack however most of them can be found in the Laurentians and in the region of Monteregie.
While New York bagels are among the best known in the world, their cousins from Montreal are denser and smaller, and are wood-fired. The majority of Montreal’s bagel joints have their baking areas located where you can watch the cooks at work from your table, and taking a cozy seat by the oven is a pleasure on a cold day. There are two primary manufacturers of Montreal bagels – Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur Bagel. Although there are numerous branches of St-Viateur, the best two for having a sit-down snack are located in Monkland and Mont-Royal. Fairmount on the other hand boast a 24 hour location, or you can just pick up one of their tasty offerings from local grocery stores.