When it comes to Canadian cuisine, most roads lead to Quebec. Quebec is the second largest provence in Canada and is home to Montreal and Quebec City; Quebec seems to be redefining the Canadian food scene with its melting pot of flavors from Haitian, Middle Eastern and French cultures (to name a few). I spoke with JustFly, an online travel agency, to learn more about Quebec’s thriving food scene and the dishes that are turning this part of Canada into a prime foodie destination. If headed to Quebec, these bites (and wine) are not to be missed.
1. Maple Syrup & Poor Man’s Pudding
While maple syrup is served pretty much everywhere, the fact remains that Quebec does produce almost 75% of the world’s maple syrup supply. Poor Man’s Pudding is a classic Quebec dessert that is made with copious amounts of pure maple syrup. The dessert is made by laying down the batter, heavily covering it in maple syrup and then baking it, which allows the batter to absorb the syrup and create a spongy, decadent treat.
2. A Taste of Quebec’s Wine
Winemaking itself is, of course, an ancient art. But, with the massive influx of French settlers coming to Quebec it comes as no surprise that Quebec has developed its own culture of winemaking. With several designated regions, types of wine, and grape varieties, the production itself is heavily regulated by the government. The story of wine in Quebec starts with heartbreak though, as French settlers for decades watched French grape vines die when brought across the ocean. It was only when they began to experiment with local grapes that they not only started making wines but also wines unique to the region thanks to winemaking’s inherent difficulty and finickiness. Today, wine tasting tours are a huge tourist draw in Quebec but also the province of Ontario as well.
Now, for something truly born and bred in Quebec, Poutine is a national treasure. For those who don’t know what it is, poutine is fries slathered in gravy and cheese curds. Thought to originate in rural Quebec in the 1950s, the origins of poutine is hazy, with the accepted story being that poutine was invented in Drummondville, Quebec. Today, restaurants in Montreal serve exclusively poutine and variations on the dish. There is even a punk music festival named after the dish. As for the best poutine, JustFly says that more often than not the best poutine is found in rural areas and roadside restaurants.
4. Shish Taouk in Montreal
A staple of Montreal’s street food scene is the much loved Shish Taouk dish, which is a local variation on chicken shawarma. Shish Taouk is marinated, boneless chicken, roasted on a vertical spit and then sawed off and piled on a pita with pickled veggies and hummus. Evidently, there’s some confusion over the name of the dish as shish taouk and shawarma can mean different things (shawarma often referring to beef) so be clear on what you’re ordering.
Tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with finely diced pork, veal or beef. You can find Tourtière in most grocery stores around Quebec but according to National Geographic, one of the best places to sample is at Aux Anciens Canadiens, a restaurant in Quebec City that specializes in old-fashioned Quebecois cuisine.
6. Haitian Tassot
It might surprise some to learn that one of the top dishes to try in Quebec is of Haitian descent; a testament to Quebec being a melting pot of flavors. Tassot is a classic dish made with jerk goat or beef that is then marinated in citrus juice. As Quebec’s local Haitian population grows, Tassot–along with other French Caribbean and Creole dishes–are becoming more widely available.
If you’re a meat lover, then you have to try Charlevoix lamb. In 2009 the Charlevoix region became the first in North America to have a food product legally protected: just like French Champagne or Italian Parma ham, only authentic Charlevoix lamb can be marketed as such.
8. Beignet Aux Pommes
Ah yes, one of my favorite snacks come the fall are apple donuts. In Quebec, apple donuts (or beignets aux pommes) are a popular treat to enjoy. If possible, your best bet is to buy apple donuts direct from an orchard or apple grower to really nail that fresh taste.
Your turn! Share you favorite Canadian bites below! For more foodie content, check out the FOOD & DRINK section on The Pin the Map Project.
*This post was contributed to The Pin the Map Project by JustFly. As always, The Pin the Map Project only works with brands that we fully support and recommend to our readers.