Well, this week brings us to one of those tricky letters. Sure, its’ easy to find a place to explore that starts with S or D or even the letter I, but Q doesn’t give you a whole lot of options. Fortunately, Canada is lucky enough to have a whole province that starts with the letter Q and it happens to be a pretty cool one, too.
Since Quebec is famous for it’s winter carnival in late January and early February, we started by watching some videos of the highlights from previous years winter carnivals. The kids especially liked the ice palace and the inner tube races. I printed off a winter carnival activity book with mazes and colouring pages and we also found a couple children’s books from Quebec including one on making maple syrup in spring.
For our Quebec meal I made some classic French Canadian dishes. One dish that is quite well known is tourtiere, a main dish pie with a meat filling. I can remember watching a Canadian made cartoon when I was a kid that had a hockey team from Quebec called the Tourtieres, complete with a big slab of pastry as a logo. However, not only have I never made tourtiere, I’ve never actually eaten it. But I wasn’t about to let that stop me. I also made yellow split pea soup and a salad with a maple vinaigrette and served it with poutine. I have to admit, I cheated a bit with the poutine. I’ve found that some foods are worth the time and effort to make at home, but french fries aren’t one of them. I have tried poutine in restaurants, though, and I’ve never liked the super salty gravy that’s always poured on top. So I decided to go halfway and had my husband pick up some fries on the way home from work, which I topped with cheese curds and my own home made gravy.
To drink we had a Unibroue beer from Quebec called Maudite, which means “cursed” or “damned”. I only found this out after we drank it. It came in an enormous 750 ml bottle, which was actually perfect for us since I could have some without committing to a whole bottle. Between us, we managed to finish the whole thing.
The verdict? Well, my husband loves meat and he loves pie, so as a combination it went over really well. I really liked the poutine with real, home made gravy and the pea soup was good as well. The kids liked eating the cheese curds and the fries. My daughter did actually give the tourtiere a try, but didn’t eat much. My son gave his usual thumbs down to pretty much everything.
For dessert I made another recipe from the Quebec chapter of my “Canada’s Favourite Recipes” cookbook, a maple sugar pie. It was really simple to make and tasted exactly like a butter tart without all those pesky raisins getting in the way. It was very sweet and rich and a little went a long way.
And that was Quebec! As good as it was, I’m glad there is only one Q in the alphabet, because we’d be pretty unhealthy if we ate like that every night. I’m guessing those dishes were better suited to spending the day collecting maple syrup or working as a lumberjack than sitting in an office. Still, it was fun to learn a bit about our French speaking province and to try some new foods. See you next week at the letter R!