Cuisine of Quebec
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Quebec's traditional cuisine is today being rediscovered and is as rich and diverse as Quebec itself. The historical context of 'traditional' Quebec cuisine is from the fur trade period, notably enjoyed by members of the Beaver Club, and many dishes have a high fat or lard content. This gives good energy in the middle of the cold winter.
Quebec is most famous for its tourtières (meat pies), pâté chinois, pea soup, baked beans, cretons, ham dishes, maple desserts such as Grand-Pères and molasses treats such as "tire Ste-Catherine" (St. Catherine's taffy). The strongest influences on traditional Quebec cuisine come from the cuisines of France and Ireland, as the two largest ethnic groups in the province are French and Irish, although many aspects of Canadian aboriginal cuisine have also had a significant impact on Quebec cuisine.
The sugar season (temps des sucres) is one of the oldest of Quebec culinary traditions. During springtime, many Québécois go to sugar shacks (cabanes à sucre) for a traditional meal that features eggs, baked beans, ham, oreilles de crisse, and bacon, which they then cover in maple syrup. Associated activities are a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the woods and sugar on snow (tire sur la neige) — boiled maple tree sap dribbled over snow, which then hardens, and is eaten as a treat.
Spruce beer is a traditional beverage.
Contemporary Quebec cuisine is characterized by an innovative use of all things native to the land which are then prepared following all contemporary trends of the world. Although France and Ireland have had the biggest impacts on contemporary Quebec cuisine, many other national and regional cuisines have also left their mark, due to more recent immigration.
Examples of contemporary Quebec cuisine include pommes persillade (cubed potatoes fried and topped with persillade as a garnish), poutine (French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds), Le Riopelle de l'Isle cheese, and whippet cookies. Pizza-ghetti is a Quebec combination dish served in fast food and family restaurants. The Jewish community of Montreal has contributed Montreal-style bagels and smoked meat which is similar to pastrami. Barbecue is also popular in the Montreal area, usually utilizing baking, grilling, or grill-braising (combining a direct dry heat grill with a broth-filled pot for moist heat) techniques; there are many barbecue-steakhouse restaurants throughout the city, and the style of this region combines influences from the American South and Kansas City with Canadian aboriginal, Irish, Central European, and Mediterranean influences, particularly French, German, and Greek (see Regional variations of barbecue for more information).
Martin Picard is one of Québec's most renowned chefs.
Many restaurants and pubs in Quebec will feature French dishes such as Coq au vin, Beef Burgundy, Pea soup, and French Onion Soup. But they will also feature Québécois specialties such as a Tourtière, Poutine, a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and Montreal bagels.
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