During my four days in Quebec, I’ve consumed the following: duck, cow, pig, chicken, wapiti, chocolate, cheese, spinach-mushroom crepes, brie with mushrooms, more cheese, maple fondue, baked beans, French onion soup almost every day, Quebecois tortiere, salmon torte (twice), poutine (which means more cheese), McDonald’s (yes, once), macaroons, carrot cake, a handful of strawberries, one dreadfully messy croissant, wine, coffee, hot cocoa and the most expensive glass of orange juice ever to touch my lips.
One of my favorite entrees came from Le Cochon Dingue where I enjoyed fries smothered in very silky, rich gravy, topped with cheese curd and duck confit. Here’s a sexy closeup of tonight’s dinner, which was washed down with real hot cocoa and some carrot cake.
I already mentioned Aux Anciens Canadiens in an earlier blog entry, which is a great way to experience traditional Canadian cuisine–meals that reflect both English and French influences. Here’s Mike wondering whether to order something that flies or something that roams. Both ended up on his plate.
A fantastic spot for lunch is Casse Crepe Breton where the crepes are poured, flipped, and folded right before your eyes. For about $8 you can choose from a variety of ingredients such as spinach, mushrooms, ham, and egg (I’m forgetting the others) and customize your crepe. For an additional $1.50 (all dollar references here are to the Canadian dollar, which is doing slightly better than the American dollar at the moment) you can get a delicious side salad. Another $3.75 gets you a bowl of hot chocolate, which immediately reminded me of being back in Paris where drinking from a bowl feels very cool.
For those with a sweet tooth, there are countless opportunities to spike your blood sugar. Quebec’s dinner entrees often reminded me of dining in Britain’s pubs–meats stuffed in pastries and pie shells. Quebec’s passion for sweets is where I tasted France’s influence. Near Casse Crepe Breton is the “Chocolate Museum” where the air is filled with the sweet smell of freshly ground cocoa. There’s no admission to this museum; it’s two rooms. One is dedicated to the history of chocolate and the adjoining room is dedicated to being a part of that history. Go back and forth between the two and read about chocolate while eating chocolate. Here, Anna admires the chocolate sculptures.
Several blocks away up and down steep sidewalked hills (this is how french-fry loving Quebecers keep their slim figures) is le Quartier Petit Champlain, a cobblestone street of 18th century buildings lined with shops selling painted glass, souvenir T-shirts, First Nation art and memorabilia, tchotckes, jewelry, beaver skins, and handpainted silk scarves. Madame Gigi’s Confiserie is on this street, where plates of rainbow macaroons decorate the windows. I admit the colors of these macaroons were startling at first, but don’t let an extravagant neon green cookie deter you. They come in fabulous flavors like pina colada and taste just as sinful. A delicious place for a bite and a break.
Sampling one of Madame Gigi’s chocolate macaroons before getting back on the bike:
And if chocolate and pina colada macaroons fail to quell your hunger, there are less ostentatious cookies. Many are maple flavored, but Anna received some sugar dusted cookies shaped like le laupin (the hare) and le cochon (the pig). Apologies for the suggestive positioning of the cookies…they came that way.
If you’re interested, during a museum tour today about the Huron-Wendat people, I received a brochure with some recipes, including a recipe for wapiti tartare. I’m not a big meat eater, but First Nation cuisine sounds interesting. I’m stuffed now, but maybe something to try at home? Or we just find another way to make a trip up north to Wendake, which is a half hour drive north of Quebec, and see what’s cooking.