Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food Culture

So, like any good foodie would do, I always use the travelling excuse to dive into new foods that I would probably not try at home. If Im going to spend money on eating out, might as well be extraordinary things I cant find or make at home. I love to go to places and say to them, just bring me whatever it is you eat. I havent been lucky enough to go overseas yet, but Ive learnt that food can be completely different even if you live just a few hours away.

My parents gave us a vacation to Isle-Aux-Coudres for our wedding gift, which is maybe 5-6 hours away, and in the middle of the two coast lines of Quebec. And coastline doesnt mean anything to me but beautiful views and extremely fresh sea food. But what I also discovered, was their love for fresh food, and best of all, how they dont talk about eating seasonally and locally, they literally live it. As a local told me, they import all kinds of fancy food for the city folks, but they what they got in their earth and in their water (and by fancy foods, we were talking about asparagus). The hotel had their huge herb garden right in their front yard, and their menu changed every day to include whatever was freshly caught that morning and what was available.

This is the first meal I had on the island. I looked at the menu of the only restaurant not in a hotel on the island (which houses about 1000 people), and saw full of unfamiliar names, closed the menu and asked the waitress to bring me whatever it was that she would suggest I try. The fish are called perlans (which I cant for the life of me find the translation of). Tiny fishes, they roast them then fry them with a spicy batter, and then serve it as you see. To be honest, I had an issue getting over the tails, fins, partial heads and spine still being attached, in fish that grosses me out. Once you get over that, its delicious.

Lunch we had right before going on a whale cruise. CHECK OUT THE VIEW. This was a shrimp and citrus salad. What I didnt know, was that there would also be flying fish eggs on the plate. Both of which, the eggs and shrimp, had been freshly caught and extracted the morning of. The waitress even pointed out the fishing boat that had delivered them. And the price of this most excellent dish you ask? A ghastly 12$. Im sure that could run easily upwards of 25$ in the right place downtown.

There is a miniscule SAQ where non locals can get their alcohol should they need, but there is a cider press house on the island where practically all locals get their drinks from. They make all kinds of alcohol, and grow every single fruit they use in it. They had  selection of hydromels as well, using honey from their hives. I tried the mistelle au pommes-poires (a sort of light pear apple cider) which was absolutely delicious, but I found out I was allergic to it (as I sometimes am to alcoolized fruit liqueurs). Later on, I tried non-alcoolized mout de pommes gelees, where they pick frozen apples, cook them down and press them. Fantastic!

I wish we could have had more time and more meals, but we ran out of both much too fast! Definetly going to explore the coastline of Quebec again!