by Jill Boruff
I like knowing where my food comes from. My recent trip to the Charlevoix region of Québec was an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with the origins of my lunch.
The tourist office has an excellent guide to food in the area called the “Flavour Trail.” It helps you find many farms and local producers of food in the region. We made a point of visiting several of these sites during our stay.
Our first stop was Boulangerie Rémy. Not only do they bake bread, but they stone-grind the flour in a restored grist mill. We had a tour of the mill, where we got to see the waterwheel and the stones in action.
Of course, we had to buy bread (and flour!). They are most known for the “Batard de Charlevoix” which is a sourdough loaf using a mixture of wheat and rye flours. It was delicious! We loved it so much that we went back for two more loaves. We were amazed at how long the bread stayed fresh and chewy without getting mouldy.
Our next stop on the Flavour Trail was La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour to gather some local cheese for our picnic. Before buying the cheese, we got to meet the sheep who produce the milk for some of the cheese. The cows were in a different pasture, so we didn’t get to meet them. I really enjoyed seeing the animals and where they lived.
We chose two cheeses for our picnic. The first one was a firm cow’s milk cheese called Le Migneron.
The second cheese was a runny cow-sheep milk mixture called Le secret de Maurice. This one was so runny that you had to eat it by cutting a hole in the top of the cheese.
For our second picnic on another day of visiting the region, we visited La ferme basque. Here, we were quite charmed by the women and girls running the little shop and giving tours of the duck farm. The girls, the daughter of the farmer and her cousin, who were only about 11 or 12, were so excited to show us the newborn ducklings that had arrived that very afternoon. They also showed us around to the other duck pastures, for lack of a better word.
We were able to taste many of the duck products in the little shop, and we finally chose duck rillettes to add to the leftover cheese and bread for our picnic. All of their products were made in small batches the farmhouse and were absolutely delicious.
It was so satisfying to meet the people (and the animals) who were feeding us. I only wish that I got to do it more often.
Check out Jill’s bio on the Contributors page