I can’t talk about Canadian food and not mention any of the delicious maple dishes that we enjoy here in Quebec. My motto is this: Everything goes well with maple syrup!  Especially for breakfast!  Pancakes with maple syrup!  Delicious!  Maple bacon breakfast pie!  Delicious!  Maple bacon crack! Ha-ha! Yes, I’m serious!  Check out the original recipe here.  

And also, check out this Maple Beans recipe.  They surely taste a lot like our local beans.  Maple beans is something we serve at breakfast from time to time. A little bowl is served with bacon, eggs and sausages.  So good!

Maple Beans Recipe

8 cups dry white beans
1 cup pork fat
2 cups onions, sliced
1 1⁄2 cups maple syrup
1⁄2 cup molasses
1 1⁄2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
1 1⁄2 tablespoons mustard powder
14 cups water (about)

Wash the beans and drain. Set aside.
In a big oven-proof saucepan, melt the pork lard. Add onions and cook at medium heat, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until soften. Add maple syrup, molasses, tomato paste, pepper, salt and mustard powder. Stir. Add the beans and cover with water.
Cover and cook in a preheated oven of 250 F overnight or at 350 F for at least 7 hours (add more water if needed).

What is Québec’s traditional cuisine like?

When people ask me that question, I usually have trouble responding.  For one – Quebec is Canada’s largest province.  Thus some of its traditional foods and recipes can vary even within the region itself.  Second, Quebec’s rich history is also reflected in many of its delightful meals, and while the French cuisine’s influence is indisputable, other nations and regions have also had significant impact.  This contributes to a very diverse and delicious regional cuisine.

Want to make a slow food meal from Quebec’s traditional cuisine?  Don’t settle for any recipe that is less than stellar!  You can make something as simple as a crock pot soup recipes or a more delicious and complex dish such as coq au vin, pate chinois, tourtière, ragout de boulettes and sugar pie.  These are all fantastic meals, give them a try!  They are definitely the things that I miss—and will miss—when I’m away.

Maple Taffy on Snow; Tire sur la neige

Winter is here. It’s snowing outside. Wind is howling. I went outside to take some pictures today and I have to tell you – the camera was a lot happier in the 13 degree wind chill than I was.

And when we talk about neige (snow) in Quebec and all things snow-related, we have to mention Tire sur la neige, because that’s one of the province’s most distinctive offerings. Tire sur la neige, or sometimes simply tire d’érable, is a taffy made by boiling maple sap past the point where it would form maple syrup but not so long that it becomes maple butter or maple sugar and pouring it directly onto fresh snow. The result is a soft, flexible, delicious sugar candy that you have to try.

Tire sur la neige is available at most sugar shacks but you can also certainly make it at home. The recipe is below.  It’s so easy to make and delicious to eat!  Enjoy!

Maple Taffy on Snow; Tire sur la neige


candy thermometer

12 popsicle sticks

2 cups pure maple syrup

clean, cold snow. You can use crushed ice. (I suggest putting the snow in the freezer overnight to ensure that it’s super cold)


Note:  Make sure you have everything laid out well before hand. Once your maple syrup passes the 200′F mark, you really need to really pay attention, because the temperature will reach 245′F very fast.  

  1. In your small pot, boil the maple syrup until it reaches a hard ball stage and until the candy thermometer registers at least 245˚F.  A word of caution: It will be VERY HOT!  Handle with care!
  2. Transfer the syrup into a measuring cup for pouring.
  3. Pour the maple syrup in a line on your snow.  Wait for half a minute for the taffy to set and harden, and then roll your maple syrup taffy around a Popsicle stick.  Enjoy!

The Best Tourtière Recipe

Winter in Québec is by far my favorite season. I often tell people that winter is the best time to visit Québec.  Yes, it’s cold, but Old Québec turns simply magical.  Lights, decorations, and a whole German Christmas market become part of downtown Quebec. It’s no wonder that CNN is ranks the city among the world’s top ten destinations for celebrating the holidays!  

If you happen to spend the holidays, particularly Christmas Eve in Quebec you might be lucky enough to be invited to a traditional Christmas feast after midnight Mass. The feast is an old tradition from France called reveillon.  And celebrating the holidays the traditional way in Québec would not be done right without having a tourtière at the table.  Tourtière a pie made with potatoes and various meats, including finely diced pork veal or beef, and four spices – cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.  A traditional Christmas réveillon or New Year’s Eve meal in Québec would not be complete without it.  

You could buy tourtière at most grocery stores, but what I certainly recommend is making it at home.  Better yet, do it the slow food way – invite some friends or family over to share it, or even — you can make a little tourtière competition, where everyone brings their own.  

There are different variations of tourtière around Canada, and even within Québec.  The biggest difference is in the meats that get put in it, though the condiment or sauce that the tourtiere is served with at the end can also vary.  Whatever the difference is, they are all delicious!  Below is my favorite traditional version, but whatever your version is, it always makes for a very memorable dish, that’s for sure!


The Best Tourtière Recipe

Makes 6 to 8 Servings. Uses a 9-inch pie pan.

Pastry Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cups butter, cubed (just cooler than room temperature, but still firm)

¾ tsp salt

½ cup cold lard or vegetable shortening, cubed

1/4 cup water (room temperature)

3 tbsp sour cream

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Filling Ingredients

2 pound ground pork

1 1/2 cups cold water

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried savory

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 bay leave

Salt to taste

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 egg, beaten, for glaze


Pastry (make the day before)

In a food processor, mix flour, butter and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in butter and lard until you get pieces the size of small beads. In a separate bowl, mix egg, water and thyme leaves. Add to the food processor, pulse until dough just comes to together. Remove from the processor and form a ball, trying not to work the dough. Cover or wrap with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.


In a large skillet, heat over medium heat, combine pork with cold water, and heat to boiling point.  Let it remain slightly soupy.

Add onion, celery, pepper, savory, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leave. Cook, covered, over low heat for one and a half hours, stirring often.  If the mixture dries out, add more water. When the mixture is ready, season with salt to taste.

Stir in rolled oats and cook, stirring, for one to two minutes.  

Remove bay leaf and allow to cool.

Preparing the Tourtière

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. When the meat mixture is lukewarm, spoon it into the pie shell.  

Brush around outer edge of pastry with the beaten egg and cover it with the remaining pastry. Trim pastry, crimp edges and cut steam vents in top crust. Decorate with pastry cutouts as desired.

Bake in the preheated oven at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 F, and bake another 25 minutes or until crust is golden.

Optional:  Apply egg wash five minutes before removing from oven.




I like to describe poutine as one of these dishes that can be simple and complicated at the same time!  To make a really good poutine, you need 3 things!  Simple, right?  But here’s where the quality really makes a difference!  Because how good the 3 ingredients are would make or break the dish!  

So, what are the 3 ingredients?  Really good fries, gravy and cheese curds.

Good fries are pretty much available everywhere in Quebec.  I personally prefer double fried french fries, but that’s certainly not the healthiest!  Whatever fries you decide to go with, and whether you cook them at home or buy them, make sure that the next 2 ingredients are up to par.

Everyone has a go-to gravy recipe. It can be very simple or more complicated.  You can even buy your poutine sauce online, but if you choose to make one yourself, you can look for a recipe online. I’m providing you below with my favorite go-to recipe, but feel free to find one that you’re happy with yourself!  Here’s a basic gravy recipe that might do it for you (although I’d add a bit more spices like paprika and dried mustard and maybe a splash of worcestershire sauce and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper):



  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cans 10 oz beef broth, undiluted
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can 10 ounces chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste



  • In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Increase the heat and add the broth.  Bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.


And the last ingredient is…. Cheese curds!!!  Yes, they are delicious, but can be rather  complicated !  Here’s a more complicated recipe (but oh, so worth it!).  


  1. 2 Gallons of Milk are heated to 96F, add 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride at this point.

(Optional; If you want more color in the curds add 1/4-1/2 tsp of annato cheese coloring at this point)

  1. Add 1 packet of thermophilic culture C-201 and let this ripen for 30 minutes.
  2. Then add 1/2 tsp rennet and stir gently for 30 seconds.

the milk will begin to gel in 6-10 minutes and a full set ready to cut in 18 -25 min

  1. When firm cut the curds into 3/4 inch cubes and stir 5 minutes.
  2. Then begin to cook the curds to 116F slowly over the next 30 minutes. (starting out at 2F every 5 minutes and then increasing the heating rate as the curds dry out)
  3. Continue to stir the curds for the next 30-60 min at 116F to increase firmness.
  4. Drain in cloth and bundle by tightening the cloth.

Press with a weight of 1 Gallon of water (app. 8 lbs) and let set 1-3 hours.

  1. Now break the curds into small bite size pieces and toss with a bit of salt (to your taste) they are ready to eat. I simply store mine in a plastic bag


If you have any cheese curds left, combine the 3 ingredients to make the most delicious poutine ever!  And I know my poutine!

Save the Date(s)… À vos agendas!

  • Save the date for our annual national meeting happening APRIL 6-10 in Invermere, BC! Slow Food Columbia Valley.  À vos agendas! La réunion nationale annuelle aura lieu du 6 AU 10 AVRIL à Invermere en Colombie-Britannique!


  • Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will be held from September 22 to 26, 2016. The traditional dates of the Salone have been moved almost a full month earlier in order to fully enjoy the warm weather of late summer/early autumn in the charming city of Turin.


Québec’s Slow Food Movement

Who doesn’t love eating? Isn’t the best food the kinda your mother would make, slowly cooking in the oven as you played outside. Everytime you came in, the smell of fresh cooked bread or that slow cooked coq au vin would be working its way through your nostrils.

I have spent quite an amount of time around Quebec’s finest restaurants, and one thing I know is if its done fast, it probably doesn’t belong on my plate! Low and slow for the roast is by far the way to go!