The Saint Lawrence as an Agritourism Destination - Part 1

February 16, 2024

Sustainable tourism is about taking time to explore the local culture, prioritizing meaningful experiences and doing so in a way which supports the environment and the economy. And what better way to do this than to slow down and enjoy the best food the Saint Lawrence region and its residents have to offer!   

The best thing about agritourism? It can be done any time of the year, as every season has something to offer. Yummy maple syrup in the spring; exquisite seafood, sweet honey, fresh fruit and veg in the summer; crunchy apples and warm cider in the fall… There are plenty of options to choose from!

Read this first article in our agritourism series to discover the local specialties you shouldn’t miss when travelling to our nine ports of call.

In this article, you will learn all about:

  • Baie-Comeau’s artisanal spirits
  • Saguenay’s locally made chocolate
  • Sept-Îles’s famous mussels

Sample Baie-Comeau’s artisanal spirits

Gin lovers will love Vent Du Nord distillery’s artisanal gin. Made using locally sourced ingredients, this delightful concoction has been described as ‘the North Shore in a bottle’! The aromatic compounds that go into its fabrication are handpicked in the nearby forest. The result? An elegant and rustic gin which perfectly combines berry and herbal flavours, and a subtle hint of salt reminiscent of the seashore.

Not a fan of gin? Try Amaretto Quirel. Keen to prioritize local products, Distillerie Vent Du Nord makes its amaretto from hazelnuts rather than almonds, and uses apples grown in the area. This new twist on a classic results in a rich, buttery flavour that’s hard to beat.

Treat yourself to Saguenay’s local chocolate

The Saguenay region shines in the agricultural industry thanks to its unique climate and its geographical position within the boreal zone. Visitors here can enjoy plenty of organic, locally made products such as cheese, as well as  locally grown fruits and vegetables. The most famous of which is, of course, the blueberry! In fact, the region is the province’s largest producer of blueberries.

Many artisans use this small berry as an ingredient in their many creations, as does the Chocolaterie des Pères Trappistes. Founded in 1939, what was originally a sweet shop was taken over by the local monk community during the war to stop it from closing.

Today, the chocolate factory creates and sells a wide range of scrumptious products. Anyone sampling their goods should head straight for the fresh wild blueberries covered in dark chocolate for a little extra taste appeal!.

Experience farm life with a twist in Sept-Îles

Looking for the full agritourism experience? A tour of La Ferme maricole Purmer (Purmer Ocean Farm) in Sept-Îles is a must. Established in 1994 by a commercial fisherman wishing to raise mussels, the farm is located on one of the seven islands of the archipelago. During the last few years now, it has expanded its offering. In addition to adding scallops and seaweed to its repertoire, it has also opened its doors to tourism and now offers a wide range of activities, including tours of its facilities, a youth camp, a resort, and sea excursions.

Anyone hoping to learn more about marine farming can hop on an inflatable boat for the short 15-minute ride to the island. Otherwise, many of the pubs and restaurants located in Sept-Îles offer a wide selection of seafood that’s just to die for. Try famous Casse-croûte du Pêcheur for a simple yet mouth-watering snack bar menu, amazing views of the Saint Lawrence and a dining room shaped like a lobster cage!

Agritourism is all about taking time to savour the unique experiences each port of call has to offer, and a cruise on the Saint Lawrence River offers many opportunities to discover some of the best food the province has to offer, regardless of the time of year. Enjoy slowing down and travelling in a more sustainable, enjoyable and delicious way!

To continue on your agritourism journey, have a look at the next articles focussing on Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Gaspé & Havre Saint-Pierre, as well as Montréal, Québec City & Trois-Rivières.