Quebec is an enchanting destination for vacationers. Many cruise lines, particularly Holland America, include Quebec City in their itineraries from April through early November. If you’re lucky enough to be on a sailing that visits Quebec, make sure to spend several days pre- or post-cruise exploring the city and the surrounding region. There’s so much to see and do – one day simply isn’t enough.
Cruise passengers and food lovers will be particularly charmed by all Quebec has to offer. It’s definitely a foodie paradise. Companies such as Tours Voir Quebec and others lead food tours of the city and its nearby areas, including Ile d’Orleans. Here are ten of the many “don’t miss” food experiences that delight Quebec visitors:
1. Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. The strikingly beautiful Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is the most photographed hotel in the world. If your budget will allow, take the time to enjoy formal afternoon tea here. It’s truly an experience. Tea is served in the hotel’s luxurious Café de la Terrasse and includes fresh fruits, scones, pastries, petits fours, finger sandwiches, chocolates, and a wide selection of specialty teas from around the globe. Make reservations early for the best times and seating locations. A spot by the window is particularly nice.
2. Maple Products. Quebec produces 75-80% of the maple products in the world. It’s not surprising, then, to find such a wide array of maple items available here. Some favorites include maple sugar and syrups, maple jelly, maple gelato, maple salad dressing, maple candies and desserts, maple coffees and teas, and much more. Visit Les Delices de l'Erable in Quebec City for a wide array of choices. The store also features an informative Maple Museum and an onsite tasting area. The Marche du Vieux Port farmer’s market in Quebec City is another good source for maple products as well. From March to May, sugar shacks in the Quebec area are an excellent option for sampling authentic maple products. Definitely consider visiting one if you’ll be in the area at that time.
3. Poutine. Poutine is a Canadian dish that was first served in Quebec in the late 1950’s and remains very popular today. Basic poutine consists of French fries topped with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. Some restaurants dish up variations with meats added. Some fast food restaurants serve poutine as well. Chez Ashton is a great place to try out poutine while you’re in Quebec, since they offer mini-portions to go.
4. Traditional Quebec Cuisine. Make sure to sample some traditional Quebecois cooking while you’re staying in Quebec. Some of the typical foods include hearty meat pies, pea soup, baked beans, caribou, and meatball stew. There are a number of superb restaurants serving typical Quebec cuisine including Aux Anciens Canadiens, Panache, Restaurant La Nouvelle France, and Auberge Baker located about twenty minutes outside of town.
5. Crepes. Crepes are a popular item for breakfast, dessert, or at any time of the day. Make sure to sample some at restaurants in Quebec City, including Au Petit Coin Breton and Casse-Crepe Breton. Most people are familiar with dessert crepes such as those filled with fresh fruit, chocolate, chestnuts, or maple syrup and topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Main course crepes are also served here, too. These can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients such as ham, turkey, roast beef, bacon, spinach, asparagus, cheese, and other items. They’re an excellent choice for lunch or a light dinner.
6. Ice Cream & Gelato. The quality and variety of homemade gelato and ice cream in Quebec is superb. Try the wild strawberry, coconut or pistachio varieties at Tutto Gelato or any of the homemade chocolate ice creams at Erico. Erico also houses a chocolate museum and it’s an excellent place to purchase chocolate candies, cookies, and cupcakes as well. The maple gelato at Les Delices de l'Erable is scrumptious, too.
7. Pastries. It’s easy to imagine you’re in Paris as you bite into the delicious French-style pastries available in Quebec. Stop in at Paillard Café-Boulangerie’s French bakery in the morning to try a brioche, croissant or an amandier. Decadent macarons, cookies, brownies, éclairs and more are available for a lunch treat or afternoon snack as well. Le Fournil du Trait-Carre also has excellent pastries.
8. Sugar Pie. This delectable dessert’s main ingredients are brown sugar and lots of whipped cream. Sometimes maple syrup is added as well. Try it at Le Petit Couchon Dingue or Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec City. The Auberge Baker outside of town serves an excellent sugar pie as well.
9. Made in Quebec Products. Quebec is a leading producer of a number of food goods including maple syrup, berry products, apple ice wines, artisan cheeses, chocolates and more. While on your cruise vacation, make sure to sample some of these and bring them home to loved ones as souvenirs from your trip. Quebec City’s J.A. Moisan is the oldest grocery story in North America and wide array of “Made in Quebec” products are sold here. Visit the Marche du Vieux Port farmer's market in Quebec City and Ile d’Orleans for delicious home grown artisanal products as well.
10. Ile d'Orleans Food Tour. Food lovers should plan to set aside at least a full day to sample the many products produced on the lovely Ile d’Orleans. Better yet, turn your stay into a multi-day food pilgrimage and overnight at one of the charming B&B’s, guest cottages, hotels or other accommodations on the island. The fertile soil found on the Ile d’Orleans fosters the growth of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and crops of all kinds. The island is filled with wineries, such as the Isle de Bacchus vineyards. Visitors can find blackcurrant products (liquors and wines, jellies, jams and more) at Cassis Mona and Daughters. Head to Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau for delicious ice cider and other products including homemade jellies, apple butter, and syrups. Quebec’s artisanal cheeses are exceptional. Les Fromages de l’isle d’Orleans serves cheese made from an exclusive recipe brought over by early French colonists as well as a variety of other cheeses and local products. Some of the island’s sweetest treats are found at Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orleans – certainly an outstanding choice for dessert. For more information, visit http://tourisme.iledorleans.com.
If You Go:
For more information on Quebec City and the surrounding area, visit www.quebecregion.