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Montreal: Cooking Demo, Book Signing & Au Pied du Couchon and that Foie Gras Poutine

Au Pied de Couchon

You must go to Au Pied du Couchon, ran the chorus. Pied du Couchon meaning pigs trotter, I knew there was a likelyhood that I would agree. Famous for rich food, especially the foie gras poutine, I booked a table for after my demo and book signing at Appetite for Books.

My taxi driver got lost, and I was clueless, so I worried when we ended up in what seemed like mountains nearby. Eventually we reached Appetite for Books, and I was delighted and a little surprised to see a full house. I crept up the side and started getting ready in the kitchen.

Demo at Appetite for Books

My book has just come out here, and this is the first signing / demo I have done in North America. A few blog readers have turned up (which was lovely!), and I get started on my chocolate mousse and honeycomb, which went down a treat. Little lentil shepherds pies from Comfort & Spice were also on offer. It was a fun evening.

Chocolate Mousse with Honeycomb

As I signed his book, one gentleman asks where I will spend my last night in Montreal. Au Pied du Couchon! I reply. And he says: Oh! It is rich! I had my first proper crise de foie at 3am after a meal there.

I love that term, and love even more that it only exists in the French language. A crise de foie is “a set of digestive and neurological manifestations are not serious, such as vomiting and headache, usually in response to a meal too rich.”

Piffle, I am not worried, I am made of tough stuff. I love my food and have eaten many rich things in my time. It sticks at the back of my mind though as I head out for dinner.

Pork rinds

Who can resist the pork rinds? Fantastic they were too, like chicharones and light as air while beautifully crisp. A little foie gras cromesqui looks petite and innocent, one bite and my mouth is flooded with unctous liquid foie gras. Wow, this meal is already very rich. And very lovely.

Foie Gras Cromesquis

The special of gnocchi with veal ragu just had to be tried. The gnocchi were light as air and tender with a perfect bite. The ragu rich and deep. I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t finish it.

Gnocchi with veal ragu

The foie gras poutine was next. It arrived and it looked a mess. Poutine always does, I mean how can you make it pretty? It smelled amazing. It tasted divine. Woah. I couldn’t stop eating it, but I had to for I was headed for my own first crise de foie.

Foie Gras Poutine

No dessert, just a digestif of calvados. I feel like a womble as I trundle home (would they like poutine?). What a meal though, flavour in spades. Unashamedly punchy, big and delicious. What all food, for me, should always be.

http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.mca/

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

10 Comments

  1. Love your blog but I hate foiegras …. It’s crueler than battery hens and tightly packed barn raised chickens and its beyond me why anyone would want to buy it let alone eat it. Sorry Cant help it…. Other than that always adore all that you write about :)

    Reply

    • Hi Lottie! Thanks for your comment. Not all foie gras is, it is possible to source free range and ethical foie gras, but I do take your point. I rarely eat it and only in places I really trust to source it well.

      Reply

  2. Hi Niamh – I wanted to leave a comment about the foie gras too – which echoes what Lottie says. I know it can be reared ethically, but the most is produced cruelly, and the same with veal too…unless you can find the rose coloured ethically-reared veal, which I have heard being produced in the UK, but I still wouldn’t eat it.

    Reply

    • Hi Annie. I share your concerns – genuinely. It is entirely possible to source ethical rose veal from Ireland and England. The veal you want to avoid generally comes from continental Europe.

      With meat in general, even normal meats like pork etc., it is really important that the consumer chooses well. A good restaurant will always source well so I have no worries about Au Pied de Couchon.

      It is equally as bad to buy industrial pork/bacon from a supermarket as to buy foie gras or veal. I used to be vegetarian – believe it or not – because of meat sourcing concerns. I now only eat meat that I know has been raised properly and ethically. It costs more and is harder to get but it is the only way, I believe. If you have the choice of course – but this is a whole other debate that I am not going to get into here.

      Thanks for the comment though and please understand that we are actually reading from the same hymnn sheet :)

      Niamh

      Reply

      • Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Niamh – really appreciate it. Yes, re bacon/pork I agree. I only ever buy British/organic/free range.

      • My pleasure. It is always love to hear from readers. Sometimes I feel as though I am shouting into the void! :)

  3. Hi Niamh

    Ah, that feeling of shouting into the void is the curse of every writer. At least with blogs, there is some response…

    I really enjoyed seeing the pics from Montreal and its metallic roofs, and to see this historic city is not run over by retail chains – joy.

    I loved hearing about the food, crise de foie and all. For me a meal includes how I feel afterwards (due to my weak digestion) so I am always fascinated in the post-prandial moans and groans too.

    Apparently there are more ethical ways to produce foie gras. Here is a piece on wild foie gras

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/11/ethical-foie-gras-no-force-feeding-necessary/66261/

    And hey, Niamh, mega-congrats on being shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers Food Blog of the Year award. I have seen this award evolve in recent years and am so pleased it is now being awarded to proper solo bloggers (as opposed to magazine websites…).

    http://www.gfw.co.uk/stop-article.cfm?ArticleID=615

    Warm wishes, Elisabeth

    Reply

  4. Hi Niamh

    Ah, that feeling of shouting into the void is the curse of every writer. At least with blogs, there is some response…

    I really enjoyed seeing the pics from Montreal and its metallic roofs, and to see this historic city is not run over by retail chains – joy.

    I loved hearing about the food, crise de foie and all. For me a meal includes how I feel afterwards (due to my weak digestion) so I am always fascinated in the post-prandial moans and groans too.

    I totally agree with only eating meat from animals kindly cared for. Here is a piece on wild foie gras
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/11/ethical-foie-gras-no-force-feeding-necessary/66261/

    And hey, Niamh, mega-congrats on being shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers Food Blog of the Year award. I have seen this award evolve in recent years and am so pleased it is now being awarded to proper solo bloggers (as opposed to magazine websites…).

    http://www.gfw.co.uk/stop-article.cfm?ArticleID=615

    Warm wishes, Elisabeth

    Reply

  5. :Q_____
    OMG I want a foie gras cromesqui!
    No one worry though, I’m going to raise my own duck and treat him with all the care possible. And he’ll be such a gluttonous duck that there will be no need to force feed him anything.

    Reply

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