The food scene in Quebec has been heavily influenced by numerous immigrants who have made this Canadian region their home. Traditionally however it has deep roots in French cuisine. While some of its dishes are firmly based in cultural traditions, many of them recall the difficult early years of settlement.
As a result, Quebec is growing as a culinary hotspot, and there are some dishes you simply MUST eat. We highly advise spending a few days there to simply taste your way around Quebec.
Poutine is a combination of French fries, cheese curds, and a thick, brown gravy and is arguably one of the most famous dishes of Quebec. A diner reportedly asked for French fries and cheese curds to be served together in the dairy-producing town of Warwick in 1957, prompting the invention of the dish. He took a look at the dish and called it “poutine,” which is Quebecois slang for “mess.”
Poutine is now available from roadside trucks in city streets and along highways, as well as from restaurants that have given it a gourmet makeover. Sometimes toppings like chorizo, pulled pork, or foie gras are used as a twist. A trip to Quebec’s annual Poutine Week in February is a great way to try it.
The thin, paper-like pancakes known as crêpes have long been popular in France and Belgium. They traveled to Quebec with French explorers, but they are frequently a little thicker in Canada than in Europe. Traditional Quebecois crêpes are created with milk, flour, and eggs, cooked on a billig. In Quebec they can be savory dishes as well as sweet desserts.
Bagels are a staple of Montreal’s culinary scene. They were first introduced to the city by Jewish immigrants from Canada. Many people believe they are superior to their American counterparts. Unlike those found in New York they are smaller and more dense. There are a ton of places in Montreal that specialize in bagels. Many of them bake them over a wood fire right in front of customers.
Smoked meat sandwich
Another Montreal specialty that can be credited to the Jewish population is smoked meat. This is beef brisket that has been spice-cured. While the city is home to a number of delicatessens that provide rye bread covered with smoked meat and mustard, Schwartz’s Montreal Jewish Delicatessen is the most well-known. It has been slicing cured beef for its customers since 1928. Their trick? A brick smokehouse with 8 decades of operation and a 10-day curing period that really ramps up the flavor.
Tire sur la neige
Tire sur la neige is a type of taffy that is made by pouring hot maple syrup immediately onto fresh snow. This process results in a soft candy that is meant to be consumed right away. It is available at sugar shacks all around Montérégie and the Laurentians. Eating this delectable dessert should be a mandatory component of every trip there. A lot of sugar shacks include restaurants that feature traditional Quebecois cuisine, and they are also fantastic sites to learn how maple syrup is made.
Cheese fans will be delighted visiting Quebec; this favorite dairy snack is so well-known that an entire Route des Fromages is devoted to it. You can visit some of the top producers and retailers in the area and discover how cheese is created whilst also trying some of Quebec’s distinctive variations. The manufacture of young, raw-milk cheeses, especially the soft kinds that have been matured for less than 60 days, is what sets Quebec’s cheese sector apart. If you don’t have a lot of time, head to the Eastern Townships. This area is full of cheesemakers and locavores.
Tourtière, a traditional meat pie that is a mainstay of Christmas reveillon and New Year’s Eve feasts, is one of Quebec City’s most well-known dishes. Typically, they are filled with potatoes and ground pig, veal, or beef. Occasionally wild game is also used. While tourtières from Lac-Saint-Jean are famed for having a thicker crust, you might even find them with salmon if you travel to Quebec’s coastal regions. In fact, it is believed that the tourtière originated in this region while Quebec was still a French town.
One of the largest cities in the world for the French-speaking population, Montreal has attracted immigrants from all around the French-speaking globe, including those from North Africa. That Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian cuisine is extremely well-liked across the city, especially in the Plateau Mont-Royal region, should not come as a surprise. A dish that has gained popularity recently is couscous. This consists of steamed durum wheat semolina grains covered in a spice-infused stew of meat and vegetables. Be on the lookout for one of the several “couscouseries” that have appeared throughout the city.
The Haitian community in Montreal is similarly booming and has contributed tassot to the city’s culinary landscape. In this traditional Creole cuisine, goat or cow meat is marinated with onions, orange juice, and lemon juice before being fried to a crisp brown. Tassot is frequently served with rice and fried plantains at Haitian and Caribbean eateries all throughout the city.
French onion soup
This soup, known locally in Quebec as soupe à l’oignon, is thought to have started in 18th-century Paris. However some people believe that it dates back to the Roman Empire. It is typically cooked with beef broth, caramelized onions, croutons, and melted cheese on top. You can discover many versions in Quebec City, including a wide range of cheeses, the addition of red wine or ale to the broth, the substitution of baguettes for croutons, and many other changes.
Soupe aux pois
Another well-known soup from Quebec is made with peas, namely dry yellow peas, salted pork, and vegetables. It is thought that Samuel de Champlain, a French adventurer, brought it to Quebec around 400 years ago. Most families in the province have their own unique soupe aux pois recipe because it is such an integral element of the local cuisine. It is a standard item on sugar shack menus and is frequently offered during the holiday season.
Cretons is a cold meat dish cooked with ground pork, onions, spices, and pork marrow to help it congeal, are similar to French rillettes. It was once popular with French Canadians exercising in the woods, but it is now one of the standard breakfast dishes in Quebec. In the morning, locals enjoy spreading it over toast and perhaps adding maple syrup.
Tarte au sucre
This single-crust pie is made with cream, flour, eggs, brown sugar, or maple syrup and is as sweet as sin, as its name suggests. It is said to have its roots in the dessert pies baked by the first French and Belgian immigrants. However it is more gritty in texture than its European counterparts. Tarte au sucre is sold in stores, bakeries, and restaurants across the province.
Bûche de noël
A cake in the shape of a log known as “bûche de Nol” is a staple of Quebecois Christmas feasts. The yule log custom is believed to have begun in the 12th century. A log was burned to fend off bad spirits after being sprayed with wine and oil. The French had turned it into an edible form by the 19th century. Cooks are continuously experimenting with different flavors to make it their own. However the most classic bûche de noel is a sponge cake that is filled with buttercream and rolled.
Sucre à la crème
Suga à la crème, also known as tablet in Scotland, is a rich Quebecois confection made only with sugar and milk and sometimes with a little butter and vanilla. In contrast to fudge, it frequently has a grainier texture and is the ideal treat for people who love sweet treats.