Friday, November 30, 2012

Charlevoix, Quebec: Odds and Ends from the Flavor Trail

The vibrant produce at the farmers market at Le Ferme in Baie-Saint-Paul, the first stop on the gastronomy train
In early September I was fortunate to be one of four journalists chosen to go on a food-centric press trip to explore the Flavor Trail in Charlevoix, Quebec. I drank cider, consumed my weight in local cheese, and ate more (ethically raised, local) foie gras in three days than I had in my entire life up to that point.

I wrote about the Laiterie Charlevoix's cheeses and laudable attempts to revive the endangered Canadienne cow for Culture: the Word on Cheese:
Small and gentle bulls at Laiterie Charlevoix
I covered my dining experiences in general for, and I have a blurb about the new gastronomy train that runs between Quebec City and La Malbaie in Style magazine.

But I took over 600 photos on my trip, and as you can imagine they did not all get published. Not by a long shot.  Well, one of the great things about having a blog is that I can print whatever I please, so I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite heretofore unpublished shots from Charlevoix.

The gastronomy train - le Train du Massif - is the creation of Daniel Gauthier, the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil. The first stop is at La Ferme, also his creation, a beautifully designed hotel with market driven restaurants and a mix of high end and hostel accommodations. There's also a seasonal farmers market right at the La Ferme train station:
Farmers market vendors

Of course I can never resist the dogs
The architecture blends into the landscape, and the interior design features products by local artisans.
The view from the train

The open air kitchen at Les Labours, one of La Ferme's restaurants
We had the chance to visit La Ferme Basque, the source of the excellent foie gras and duck products. The ducks are pasture-raised and treated with respect.

Jean-Jaques Etcheberrigaray discusses his philosophy of humane farming

A little afternoon foie gras snack
... don't mind if I do
It broke my heart that I couldn't bring any of these La Ferme Basque goodies back with me ... particularly this homemade cassoulet:

We stayed for one night at the historic Fairmont Le Manoir Richilieu in La Malbaie, and received a tour of the vast kitchen

Got a peek at the homemade stock pots
And had a breakfast with executive chef Patrick Turcot. Of course this included lovely local cheeses:

We stopped by an emu farm:

I became a motorcycle mama:
With the irr├ępressible Francois Gariepy of Tourisme Charlevoix 
Of course there was lots of eating involved ...
A rather bad photo of a delicious plate of reindeer carpaccio from Auberge des Trois Canards
Onion soup with beer  and local cheese at Le Saint Pub in Baie St Paul
Local venison sausages with a side of ... foie gras, at Le Saint Pub
 And with eating, there must be drinking ...
The Dominus Vobiscum champagne beer at Le Saint Pub
 We took the ferry to Isles au Coudres to visit the Ciderie Pedneault and taste their  delicious hard ciders

Oh, Canada

 And we had a tour of their orchard, where I met another great dog.

It's an incredibly beautiful region, and I look forward to returning someday to explore it in more depth. And eat more of that addictive foie gras, of course.


  1. Simply gorgeous! I would make them adopt me.

  2. I think my favorite Canadienne of all time was Lucille Ball. Talk about cheese! But LORD this is appetite stimulating! I think my suitcases would be filled to the brim with bottles of booze and sausages. I always enjoy sampling the sausages of foreign lands when I get to travel.

  3. What a magical time!! These photos are simply stunning!

  4. I think you would have to roll me off that train. Amazing...
    The emu picture is my favorite :-)

  5. Your photos are gorgeous and it looks like you had a great trip. The cassaoulet had my mouthwatering.

  6. I love the puppy shots :) And 'wow' to the idea of a gastronomy train! Best idea ever! Looks like you had an incredible time!

  7. Looks like a fabulous trip. It all looks so good but the sausages and fois gras, for me, took the cake, er… so to speak.

  8. WOW... your sure do get around... another incredible adventure, thanks for sharing and loved the pics too

  9. Sorry you do not mention other places you visited while on this trip

  10. it was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity.. Quebec City Guide