June 6, 2016
Of Québec culinary trends and traditions
When we begin dreaming of a trip, our imagination takes over and we picture ourselves at destination discovering new places and revelling in lifestyles different from our own. Whether a discovery tour, group package, solo expedition or cruise, the pattern is inescapably same. Our curiosity engages, piquing our desire to learn how the people of a fascinating elsewhere live. In addition to visits to local attractions, one certain way to learn more about a destination is to find out what inspires the local inhabitants and what they like to eat. The culinary traditions of a destination help fill us in on the history and specifics of a region.
In this regard, cruise passengers sailing the waters of the Saint Lawrence enjoy an amazing opportunity to discover the varying tastes and preferences of the individuals living in and around the ports of call spread out along our shores. Frequent mention is made of the complementarity and uniqueness of each of Québec’s nine ports of call, and culinary traditions are no exception to the rule. As visitors journey from one Saint Lawrence port to the next, individual excursions and discoveries are shaped and reshaped by the changing culinary landscape.
Wherever they are, people derive pleasure from sitting around a table with family and friends to share ideas, opinions and laughter.
Weekend brunch is a well established tradition in Québec. A hybrid menu of breakfast and luncheon items is ever popular with individuals who enjoy lingering at the table and chatting.
Anyone feeling a little peckish at whatever time of the day will appreciate a bagel spread with cream cheese. This Montréal classic comprises a ring of dense, naturally leavened dough boiled briefly in water before being baked in the oven.
To quench midday hunger: a hamburger, all dressed and served with a side-dish of poutine, is certain to delight tourists, many of whom will have read up on this typical Québec preparation prior to arrival. And what is ‘poutine’, you ask? Quite simply, a serving of French fries garnished with fresh, unpressed cheddar cheese curds and drizzled with gravy. Although generally a fast food offering, different iterations of poutine by renowned chefs are increasingly more frequent, such as poutine au foie gras or lobster poutine, both delights in their own right!
The same applies to sandwiches which begin but do not end with the classic ham and cheese. Depending on where you find yourself in Québec, you will wish to yield to the temptation of a lobster or crab roll, or ‘guédille’ in French. You will not regret your choice! And what is a ‘guédille’, you ask? Generally, a hot dog or sausage bun filled instead with your choice of lobster, crab or shrimp. A fresh, savoury, culinary delight!
With the onset of summer, grilled meat and seafood are regularly featured on menus. Whichever you choose, what matters the most is eating outside and basking in the warm weather. Although Québecers enjoy cosy indoor warmth all winter, once warmer weather arrives, they flock in droves to outdoor terraces across the province.
Wherever you may drop anchor this season, be certain to take a moment to stop in at a local café or restaurant. You will revel in your experience of local vibrancy as you sample a typical dish or specialty.
Time to get out and discover!