Bucket List Trip: A Quebec Food and Drink Road Trip
If you could take one trip, and it was the last trip you could ever take to a specific destination, where would you go and what would you do? That’s the question I asked myself recently when orchestrating a trip to Southern Africa.
So when I recently met some Ontario travel experts, and was then asked by Travel Mindset to put together a bucket list itinerary to Quebec, it only seemed appropriate to follow that same train of thought. Naturally, it would have to be food and drink themed. Duh. Who wants to come with me? My only requirement is that you have some French up your sleeve, because everything I've found in Quebec is French, and all of the French phrases I know are rude, such as "On va prendre la bouteille" (Translated, "we'll take the bottle").
My trip would start in Montreal. First up: Poutine and food trucks. Because poutine. Guys, it’s fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Naturally, I’d begin at a poutine-centric food truck,Camion Au Pied de Cochon, for their foie gras poutine. You guys, foie gras poutine! For years, food trucks were banned in Montreal, but now they live on, and do they ever. Being the southerner that I am, it’d be onto the Pas d’cochon Dans Ma Salon food truck for BBQ pulled pork. The icing on the cake: Whoopie pies from Landry & Filles.
Did you know that Quebec is home to 3,000 different beers? 3,000! That means it would take 10 years to drink every single one if you drank one per day. Obviously, the first beer stop would have to be in Montreal at Molson. From there it’d turn to more craft offerings, including a visit to Montreal’s Brasserie McAuslan Brewery. Apricot beer anyone?
From here my food and drink tour of Quebec would hit the road. From Montreal it’d be onto Montérégie for breweries like Brasseurs du Monde and Brasserie Dunham, which between them have more than 50 different beers. But one can only drink so many beers, right? But thank goodness for cider, as Montérégie is also home to its own cider route.
The Montérégie Cider Route is home to 12 cideries producing more than 60 different ciders. These range from light sparkling ciders, like at St. Nicolas' Cremant to the many iced ciders at Domaine Pinnacle to the special release amber cider at La Face Cachée. It’s like the orchards are to Quebec what the vineyards are to California.
And this is all without even mentioning the Montérégie Wine Route. It’s like Montérégie is Disney for drink lovers. The Montérégie Wine Route is home to more than 20 wineries over a stretch of 60 miles, such as Domaine des Salamanders, focusing on white and ice wines, and Vineyard Puss in Boots, which may just have the best winery name in the world, and has a number of red and white wines.
From here, my Quebec food and drink road trip heads north, toward Quebec City. Since Quebec has wine and cider routes, it’s only appropriate that it also has a cheese route. Yes, a route for cheese. Halfway between Montreal and Quebec City is Fromagerie du Presbytère, in the small town of Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick, making several different cheeses, including brie and blue. Just on the other side of Quebec City is Les Fromages de l'isle d'Orléans, which is a producer of one of the first cheeses made in America, paillasson. A trip here would include a tour, which is offered for a nominal fee, and access to their shop, which includes other local cheeses.
My Quebec food and drink road trip would conclude in Quebec City. This would include a stop at J.A. Moisan, which is the oldest grocery store in North America, dating back to 1871, and featuring Quebec cheese, wine, and other local foods and drinks. And of course one last brewery tour, which would take me on a ferry ride to Corsaire Microbrasserie, for their in-house brews (and single malt whiskies, which number more than 60), and L'Inox Maîtres Brasseurs, which is one of the oldest breweries in Quebec City, dating back to 1987.
Last, but not least, is a stay at one of my bucket list hotels, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most famous and recognized hotels in North America. Go big or go home, right?