A Québécois Food Adventure: Québec City, Charlevoix and First Nations Food at Wendake
It is a year since I visited Canada to explore Quebec City and nearby. It wasn’t my first time, I have been to Quebec City before, and Montreal (also in Quebec) quite a few times. What draws me there is the people, place and food and drink culture. There are so many lovely places to explore and there is always a conversation to be had with a local. It is always fun and often unexpected. Quebec is nothing if not quirky and individual and that is why I love it.
The architecture is beautiful, a walk around Quebec City feels part fairytale, especially as you ascend the ancient funicular to the old town below. Steep pitched zinc roofs top chateau like houses, painted red, blue or proud in silver, sometimes copper turned green with age and the rain. It is just the right size, big enough to have lots of options and small enough to walk around. Quebec City has music, art and a vibrant Bohemian culture.
This passion and individuality is reflected in their food and drink culture. There are few chains and so much variety. A thriving new contemporary food culture sits comfortably alongside the long established francophone one. There is indigenous food too at Wendake which is an essential stop on your visit.
Where to Eat and Drink in Quebec City:
Exploring the Huron-Wendat Cuisine at Wendake First Nation in Quebec City
The Wendake First Nation is a short drive from downtown Quebec and a world away. The Wendake First Nation is home to some of Canada’s indigenous people (of the Huron Wendat Nation specific to this region). It is also home to a beautiful contemporary hotel with indigenous art and a museum and several restaurants.
Try the potence Restaurant Sagamité on the banks of the river which they are deservedly renowned for. Translating as gallows, the meat is hung on a frame and grilled at the table over a small open fire, reminiscent of traditional cooking methods.
La Traite in the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations offers a fine dining view of the traditional Wendat cuisine. The food is excellent, and the ingredients will be new to many of you as they were to me. A 6 course tasting menu is offered for $82, a matched wine option is also available. The menu changes seasonally but expect to see traditionally smoked fish and options like seal and caribou.
Charlevoix – home to the G7 this week
You may have heard of Charlevoix, the G7 is being held there at the moment and so it is all over the news. As important as the G7 is, let’s not let it overshadow all of the other wonderful things there. Charlevoix is a beautiful town on the water, home to many artists and art galleries; food producers; wine, beer and cider makers, there is a lot to do. In season a train will take you right there from Quebec City in just a couple of hours.
While you are there be sure to try Omerto tomato wine, a recipe passed down to winemaker Pascal from his grandfather Omer. The origin is simple, he developed the recipe in his native Belgium when faced with a glut of tomatoes. Tomato wine? Surprisingly light and gorgeous and only available here. All of the tomatoes are grown biodynamically on site by Pascal just outside his tasting room and production is small too.
Stop in at Maison d’Affinage Maurice Dufour for a Cheese and Wine Tasting. The family make 6 cheses including the award winning Le Migneron. They make red, white and rosé wine here too.
Isabelle Mihura produces foie gras at La Ferme Basque as they do in the Basque region of France, where she is from. Everything is done by hand here, including gavage, which Isabelle says is much better to manage this way as you can intuit when each duck as had enough. You can taste and buy their products in their farm shop.
Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault shop in downtown Baie St Paul is a must for cider lovers. Their apples are grown and the cider is made on nearby island Isle-aux-Coudres. They led us through an enthusiastic and passionate tasting of their products. They also stock lots of local Charlevoix produce.
Plan your trip to Quebec using http://www.explore-canada.co.uk/