Discover the diverse cuisine of QuĂ©bec
The multinational cuisine is known for its range of local produce including maple syrup, craft beers, artisanal wines, ice ciders, poutine, cheeses and jams. Here are the top choices for food lovers to enjoy the delicious culinary offerings of this Canadian province: Bon Appétit!
- Taste the famous maple syrup of Québec
Maple syrup is one of Québec's most well-known products and thousands of visitors come to experience the province's sugar shacks each year. A sugar shack, or cabane à sucre, is a previously owned private house or farm estate where sap created from maple trees is collected and boiled into maple syrup. Visitors can taste maple products at these sugar shacks, which are also known as a sap house, sugar house, sugar shanty or sugar cabin, and are most prominent in Eastern Canada due to the high volume of maple syrup produced in the region. The sugar season runs from March to April each year. Here's a pick of the best places to enjoy Québec's maple syrup:
Maple syrup enthusiasts can revel in this five course maple syrup meal at Scena restaurant in Montreal. Dishes include maple syrup won ton soup, oysters baked in maple syrup and the classic maple taffy over iced milk.
The Pic-Bois sugar shack is an authentic and rustic building set in the heart of nature in Brigham, near Bromont, a one hour drive outside of Montréal. The sugar shack is particularly popular with young professionals and offers a sugar shack 'all you can eat buffet' menu.
Set in the beautiful village of Frelighsburg, an hour outside of Montréal, this quaint patisserie creates mouth-watering tarts, pastries and sweet treats as well as the 'best maple pie in the world'!
The Maple Delights museum-come-bistro in Montréal and Québec City offers visitors the chance to taste delicious maple products as well as to learn more about maple syrup at the Maple History Museums. Maple Delights offer beverages, chocolates, desserts, pastries and sorbets such as hot maple-flavoured milk and maple verrines. Admission to the Maple History Museums are free and visitors can discover the origins of maple syrup including how the sap was traditionally harvested.
- Take a self-drive cheese tour
Cheese lovers can discover the many cheeses of the Québec province on self-driven cheese tour, La Route des Fromages. There are many different routes offered throughout the province including Abitibi and Outaouais, Laurentides and Lanaudière, Cantons de l'Est, Mauricie and Québec's centre as well as Portneuf to Québec, Chaudière and Appalaches Saguenay, Lac St-Jean and Charlevoix, Bas St-Laurent to Gaspésie and Îles de Madeleine. Each route can be downloaded from the Québec Dairy Council website and visitors can follow the map at their leisure in their own hired car. Samples of the cheese maker's handiwork can be tasted throughout the tours.
- Dine at one of Québec's top restaurants
With a fushion of international flavours, including the famous French cuisine, Québec's restaurants are known for being vibrant and quirky. Last year, 23 of Québec's restaurants made it into the top 100 Canadian restaurants, with popular Toqué restaurant chosen as number one. The list was compiled by a group of food critics, judges and well known chefs. Toqué features farm-fresh Québécois dishes and tasting menus from celebrated French Canadian chef Normand Laprise. The quirky Joe Beef in Montréal is also one not to be missed, specialising in steaks and seafood, the restaurant is located in the heart of little Burgundy and pays homage to Charles "Joe-Beef" McKiernan, a 19th century innkeeper and Montréal working class hero. For an authentic dining experience, visitors can dine at Hotel Herman, an intricate restaurant with Montréal-inspired small plates and natural wines, served around an intimate U-shaped bar. Chefs Yvan Lebrun and his partner Rolande Leclerc have brought together their passion for flavours and authenticity to bring the exquisite Initiale restaurant to life. Located in Québec City, the restaurant features some of the region's top products and artisans.
- Catch and cook snow crabs
Québec is known for its love of unique activities and sports and one of the most unusual of them is snow crab fishing. Québecers head to the Gaspésie peninsula and along the North Shore of the St Lawrence River to capture the crabs which are then sold to shops, restaurants and public markets as a Québec delicacy. Snow crabs are orange on the outside with a delicate, white flesh on the inside and are typically cooked like a lobster in boiling water with a pinch of salt. The snow crab season begins in April and lasts until November and is the first fishing activity of the year as well as one of the most popular.
- Explore Québec's food trails
One of the best ways to discover the exceptional local produce of Québec is to follow one of these popular food trails. The Gourmet Route blends fun, passion and knowledge from food producers, chefs and grocers to serve up truly unique agrotourism and food tourism experiences. Avid and authentic artisans from the Greater Québec City Area show visitors the flavours and expertise of the national capital. Meanwhile, the Charlevoix Flavour Trail takes in over 40 Charlevoix producers and restauranteurs. For an off-the-beaten track experience, food lovers can head off on the Countryman's Tour. Heading through the most stunning bucolic scenery in the Montérégie region, the main highlights of the route include pick-your-own berries and apples, wineries and cider mills, dairy and meat products, honey and mead and livestock and lavender farms. A number of activities and events are held along the route between May and October. Visitors can enjoy a wonderful foodie experience along peaceful country roads with the Agrotourism Tours of the Lanaudiere region. There are five different agrotourism circuits to choose from with the chance to meet farmers and producers along the way who will personally introduce their local produce.
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