Cranberries, Cider and Cheese: Digging into the Quebec Harvest
One beautiful fall afternoon, I caught myself in the shadow of a wooden church in the tiny town of Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick, east of the River St Lawrence, between Quebec City and Montreal. Each of the city's 375 inhabitants seems to have gathered on this lawn to bathe in the sun in the afternoon from the famous Fromagerie de Presbytère.
Like almost everyone around me, I have a local beer in one hand and a plate of raclette in one hand - live music pops up on the front of the cheese shop, people smiling and laughing and I can't help thinking that this rural village of Quebec has somehow let loose .
Many Canadians already know that rural Quebec, orbiting Montreal within a one to two hour radius, is home to some of the country's most iconic food and drink, and especially some of the most beautiful landscapes during the fall harvest. Although there is plenty of consumption throughout the year, the autumn harvest is a particularly magical time in southern Quebec and locals such as the Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick duck have been delighted to find food - loving visitors.
Quebec takes cider very seriously when handcrafted ciders are jumped throughout the Canadian Fruit Growing Area. The cider route is indeed for anyone looking for a deep dive into the world of crazy apple juice, but if you only have time for one cider stop, Couveres is a good bet for Michel Jodoin Rougemont (about an hour east of Montreal).
Michel Jodoin is a real person (if you stop you will probably see him chilling at a cider house) who represents the fourth generation of cider producers in his family. It has a orchard that grows both Macintosh apples and bright red Geneva, a cider apple that gives Jodoin ciders a bright pink color. In addition to a few "cracking" ciders, cider produces a range of higher quality products, including delicate foam and ice cider and distilled cider products such as apple concentrate and prominent apple vermicelli. Local tours and tastings are open to the public and the property is surrounded by scenic hiking trails.
Gourmets have long known that Quebec is the place to look for cheese - there are many cheese makers in the province who make the world's creamiest and most delicious cheese. A week-long pilgrimage of Quebec cheese would not even allow you to try a fraction of the more than 500 varieties produced in the province.
Again, if you are near Montreal and have only one cheese tour, the Fromagerie de Presbytère is worth a visit. The owner, Jean Morin, is also a fourth generation food artist - his family has long been a member of the dairy that makes milk for his cheese. He started the cheese business in 2005 and bought an iconic white church for $ 1 at a cheese shop in 2015 to preserve his city heritage. It still has a functioning church (there is an old plaque on the wall that honors Morin's grandfather's contribution decades ago), but Morin also uses it for preservation and interpretation.
While the church is absolutely charming and Morin is a local hero who attracts people to his community with regular Friday night cheese festivals throughout the spring and summer, it's important to note that his cheese is very good. Bleu d'Elizabeth of Fromagerie de Presbytère has gained fame throughout the country and many of its cheeses have won major awards, including the best in Quebec.
Here's the fun fact: Quebec is the world's second largest (or depending on the year) third cranberry producer, ranked just below Wisconsin. The cranberry season runs from mid-September to mid-October: during this time, farmers flood the cranberry fields, chopping berries to break them off the growing bushes so they can float to the top for easy collection. Each parcel is flooded for a maximum of 24 hours only, so that the plants are not completely submerged.
Most of the cranberry activities take place near Saint-Louis-de-Blanford, southwest of Quebec City. There you will find the Cranberry Interpretation Center, where you can book a wagon tour in the cranberry bogs.
Visiting Quebec without sampling maple syrup just doesn't seem right, but many visitors don't realize that maple is knocked in March or early April, not during the fall harvest. Nonetheless, sugar factories have become important tourist destinations, and the Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaudis (west of Montreal) has established itself as a year-round destination. You won't see knocking on trees or boiling syrup outside the official season, but you can certainly eat enough syrup to damage your teeth.
Co-founder Pierre Faucher and his son Stefan (you can't miss Pierre - look for a long white bearded man who is likely to sue him if he is underneath many portraits of himself at the scene) offer guided guided tours. facilities. They also host the Sucrerie's large dining room, which offers Quebecois classic family-style plates such as tourtière, ham, pea soup and pancakes, with massive maple syrup bottles placed on each table. Sucrerie also offers traditional log cabins for guests wishing to stay overnight.
Of course, the cities in and around these facilities are full of great restaurants, bars, microbreweries and other places to eat and drink. Prepare your belt - Quebec countryside is ready to fill both your heart and your stomach.