The Saint Lawrence as an Agritourism Destination - Part 2

April 8, 2024

The Saint Lawrence region is brimming with talented artisans offering both tasty locally grown treats and amazing experiences. Vineyard and distillery owners, eco-friendly farmers, cheese makers and sustainable practices enthusiasts are all vying to give visitors a taste of their products, and a tour of their installations.

Each of our nine ports of call offers a wide choice of gourmet destinations. How can anyone choose? We’ve made it easy! Read this second article in our three-part series on the best agritourism destinations around the Saint Lawrence River for the lowdown on some of the best foodie spots along the axis linking Montréal, Trois-Rivières and Québec City.

In this article, you will learn all about:

  • Montréal’s eco-grazing project
  • Québec City’s black currant liquors
  • Trois-Rivières’s award-winning cheese

Have a picnic surrounded by sheep!

The city of Montréal has plenty of options when it comes to slowing down and enjoying authentic, unforgettable and scrumptious experiences. After all, the next region over has actually been dubbed the Pantry of Québec! The busy metropolitan city even boasts a creative distillery in the heart of the Rosemont Borough (check out Distillerie de Montréal for more details). But while Montréal is indeed a bustling hub of activity, there is a way to try out the farm life for a day without leaving the city, thanks to a recent eco-grazing initiative.

Throughout the summer, 16 sheep are set loose (well, they are under supervision!) in parc Maisonneuve, one of the largest green spaces in the city by Biquette à Montréal. The non-profit organization aims to bring urban agriculture to the city. The sheep are free to roam about from 9 to 7, and mow the grass in the process, saving the city the trouble of maintaining the lawn.

Visitors can have a picnic surrounded by farmyard friends, and the four-legged woolly animals even drop in during yoga classes! Cruise guests can head to the park from the port and enjoy the sight of the sheep grazing, as well as attend workshops on wool production or agriculture, tour the chicken coop, beehive, communal gardens, mushroom space and medicinal herb garden. A true return to nature!

Grab a drink, stay for the view!

Touring l’Île d’Orléans is a foodie’s dream come true. The small island, located 20 minutes from the Port of Québec, is renowned throughout the province as the place to visit for good food, a good drink, and a spectacular view.

Visitors can slowly make their way around the island, stopping at wineries, cider houses, a chocolate factory, and more. They can even pick their own berries, apples or pumpkins. Among this treasure trove of delicious treats, one business has everything a great agritourism experience needs: unique products, a compelling story, plenty of savoir-faire, and an estate with a breathtaking view of the Saint Lawrence River: Cassis Monna & Filles.

The business is indeed a family affair. Owned and operated by two master liquorist sisters, Cassis Monna & Fille produces smooth black currant wines, tangy Crème de Cassis and other sweet cassis-based products. Their recipes have been perfected over 150 years, and it shows: everything on offer is simply delicious.

Activities include wine tastings, a fully stocked wine cellar and gourmet boutique, a dairy bar with over 18 flavours of sorbets and ice creams, and an ecomuseum for those looking to learn everything there is to know about being a liquorist. Take the opportunity to sit down for a gourmet meal on the restaurant’s terrace and enjoy the spectacular views, and the cassis-flavoured dishes. Or grab an ice cream and casually meander among the rows of black currant bushes. In any case, this experience is a must.

Say cheese!

The world of agriculture has changed, and many farmers are shifting their operating model and adopting eco-friendly farming practices in an effort to create high-quality products that contribute to the well-being of their workers, their animals and the planet.

Fromagerie l’Ancêtre is one of them. Located in Bécancour, just across the river from Trois-Rivières, the dairy farm was created by nine local families, united by a desire to shift towards a more sustainable way of farming. The cheese makers now produce a wide range of organic cheeses, which visitors can sample during a visit to the farm (do try the award-winning cheddar!). Guests can also taste the fromagerie’s soft or hard ice cream, and various flavours of sorbet made with locally picked fruits and berries.

Those lucky enough to head there on a warm, summer day should take a moment to slow down, take a break from sightseeing and sample a healthy meal on the terrace.

Another top tip? Do stock up on fresh organic cheese curds, a Québec classic that should be enjoyed warm, straight out of the packet!

Food is serious business in Québec, and anyone ready to try a superior culinary experience should head to the Saint Lawrence region. Relaxing, meeting fascinating artisans, and awakening your taste buds against the backdrop of the majestic Saint Lawrence River: that’s what agritourism is all about.

To continue on your agritourism journey, have a look at the next articles focusing on Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Gaspé & Havre Saint-Pierre, as well as Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles & Saguenay.

Find out more about the Cruise the Saint Lawrence sustainable development guidelines on our sustainability page.  

Photo credit : Amber Forrester, bergère urbaine