Montréal , Nous Vous Aimons! // Montréal, We Love You!

Hello! We’re back! We’ve taken a sleepy winter hiatus, during which many mugs of tea have been sipped, pots of soup have been stirred, cookies have been baked (so many cookies have been baked), and there have been some great hikes. 

While the downside of winter in Vancouver is the rain (as I write this, it is pourrrrring), the upside is that by January, green shoots are already pushing their way through the soil, and a few trees have even begun to hint at the possibility of cherry blossoms. With the damp greenery all around, it’s sometimes easy to forget that many parts of the country are still buried under snow, and that for some people, outdoor ice-skating is a regular part of the week (if you don’t believe us, check out Aimee of Simple Bites' Instagram feed!)

http://instagram.com/aimeebourque/

http://instagram.com/aimeebourque/

We’re keen to get in on some of that classic winter action, and are thrilled to announce we're going back to Montreal! In February, we’ll be heading eastward for the Montreal en Lumiere Festival, a crazy tangle of arts, culture, and culinary events, now in its 15th season. This year’s festival runs from February 19th to March 1st, and we’ll be there from the 19th to the 25th to eat, eat some more, then finishing up all that has yet to be eaten. There will be workshops to attend, markets to explore, and a heck of a lot of meals by local chefs, as well as some from Switzerland, this year’s featured tourism partner (bonjour, fondue).

Knowing that we’re going back to Montreal has triggered a very fun and never-ending game of “When We Go Back, I’m Going to Eat _____.” The first two things we thought of were from our Croissant Crawl, a bicycle tour that took us to some of the best bakeries in the city.

Dana’s first "I'm Going to Eat THAT" treat was the kouign amann from Patisserie Kouign Amann in Mont Royal. It's a ridiculous confection that's turned us into two kouign amann-seeking missiles.

The pastry I haven’t been able to shut up about is the “Oh, Mon Dieu!” croissant from Mamie Clafoutis, which gets its name from the obscenely thick layer of chocolate ganache baked inside it. Take the amount of chocolate used in 15 pain au chocolat, and then you'll have half the amount of chocolate that's inside the Oh, Mon Dieu. I'm serious.

Then there’s the smoked meat, poutine, cider, cheese, and bagels - DON’T EVEN GET US STARTED ON THE BAGELS - that await, as well as much more to discover, including plenty of foods from this year's featured Quebec region, Lanaudière. We’re so excited for FEAST Montreal: Round II, and looking forward to sharing it all with you!

Now, we must go find some real winter clothes....

*Thank you so much to Montreal en Lumiere, Tourism Quebec, and Tourism Montreal for inviting us back!

-LA

 

A (Long Overdue) Thanks to the Canadian Food Experience Project!

Two idiots on a raft in the middle of the ocean with little sense of direction – that’s how we felt when we first started planning FEAST. 

(The two idiots).

We knew what we wanted to do (go on a road trip and write stories about Canadian food culture), but we had no idea how to make that happen.  How would we pay for it?  Where should we go?  How long would it take?  And most importantly: who, if anyone, would be interested in following such an adventure?

ArtofRoadTrip07.jpg

These anxieties, and plenty of others, meant we were thrilled to discover the existence of The Canadian Food Experience Project.  Not only was it validation that yes, plenty of people were eager to join the discussion around our national cuisine, but it serendipitously began around the same time as FEAST!  

By reading contributors’ stories, our own journey became bigger.  We were on the road for five months and covered a lot of ground – approximately 37,000km by car, train, boat, and plane - but in reality, that barely scratched the surface of our country.  Canadians are stretched across a sprawling mass of land, and there’s an incalculable amount of diversity when it comes to language, culture, landscape, and of course, food. 

We saw (and ate) a lot, but The Canadian Food Experience stories meant we could read and see even more, their words and photos allowing us to travel to places we couldn’t get to.  Participants' stories have given us an even greater understanding of Canadian food, which we now think of as an enormous, ever-changing collection of ingredients, dishes, and stories, with no single definition that encompasses them all.  Stories about eating pigs' tails!  And poaching eggs in maple syrup!  And making tomato chow!  The Canadian Food Experience Project highlighted and celebrated that range, and we feel so fortunate to have been a part of it. 

You can check out all the contributors here.  Thanks so much to Valerie Lugonja for organizing this project!