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The International Writers Magazine: Canadian Food

Charlevoix's La Fete Des Saveurs
a Gastronomic Event
Habeeb Salloum

It seemed to be a confusing mob scene as the elite of Quebec’s Charlevoix gourmet region milled around, some arguing, some gossiping, some discussing politics while others were simply enjoying themselves at La Fête Des Saveurs held at École secondaire du Plateau – a cooking teaching establishment. Hosted by the Table Agrotouristique de Charlevoix, it was the fourth annual celebration by this eco-friendly organization, which draws some 250 annual participants.

Charles Roberge, our Sheppard for the evening smiled watching me survey the packed crowd waiting to enter the dining hall saying, "Everyone of any importance in Charlevoix is here tonight. It’s an event no one likes to miss."

During the two days that I had spent in Charlevoix it seemed to me everyone was talking about La Fête Des Saveuers and its food offerings. No doubt the chefs of the area were at the same time mulling in their minds ideas about their contributions, and about those who had bought tickets for the event of the fine foods they would soon be enjoying.
Soon we were seated in a large dining hall sipping on our wine and sampling some of the best food to be found in food-loving Charlevoix – one of the prime culinary areas in Canada. Some half a dozen chefs and seven other acting as interm sous-chefs from the region had volunteered their time and skill for this fundraising event, promoting Charlevoix as an important part of the gastronomic world. Now we were enjoying their culinary creations.

Twenty-one growers and producers and thirteen Charlevoix establishments sponsored the event as well as providing the chefs for the occasion. During the banquet each guest on the table of ten was given a menu and they could exchange menus when they picked up their food from a large serving hall. This gave each one the chance to savour the foods of his/her choice. Dominic Labbé, President of the Table Agrotouristique de Charlevoix, explained that, "together as in the past guests from each table discover the different products and ingredients."

The appetizers were mouth-watering. Beer and Honey Marinated Brochette of Duck with Gâteau à la L’Orange, Lamb and Migneron Papillote with Caramelized Onions and Port, Marinated, Seared and Simmered Beef Blade La Marre à la Charcutière with Julienned Winter Vegetables and Raclette of Hercule were three of the 24 dishes, which according to Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu’s chef Jean-Michel Breton, had been prepared to titillate the taste buds in anticipation of the five-course dinner to come.

I looked around to see that everyone seemed to be enjoying the appetizers amid laughter and jokes, apparently having forgotten the $125.00 each guest had to pay to attend the event. Harmony appeared to be all around as we gorged ourselves on delicious food and super wines.

By the time that the main course came around I was too sated to do it justice. Before me I surveyed my attractively decorated dish: Agneau de Charlevoix en Crépinette au Migneron de Charlevoix et Oignon Carmélisé au Porto Sauce aux Herbes de Provence. I nibbled a bit then, even though I knew that more was yet to come, because of its taste and allure I dug into it, savouring every morsel.

However, as time passed I rested and sipped on my wine for a while and was able to sample, to some extent, the local cheeses such as Le Migneron, Suisse Vielli de la Fromagerie St-FidèL’Hercle del la Laiterie Charlevoix, La Tomme d’Elles et Le Secret de Maurice and de la Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour. Handmade, they all had something unique to recommend them.

When the desserts, to mention a few, Panna Cotta d’Hercule, Biscuit Glacé and Tourbillon au Vin de Glace came around my eyes could only longingly feast on them - the amount and variety of food had overwhelmed me.

All in all it was a delightful gastronomic repast that I am sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed. As one of the local participants explained: "It’s a feast featuring the best foods in Charlevoix that will be much talked about in the days to come. Come next year and I am sure it will be much better."
"Much better!" I thought to myself. "It cannot be! How can one consume or enjoy more fine food than that in which we had gloried that evening?"

Two Good Places to Stay and Dine in Charlevoix:
Auberge La Muse, 39, Saint-Jean-Baptiste St., Baie-Saint-Paul, Charlevoix, Québec
G3Z 1M3. Tel.: (418) 435-6839 / 1 800 841-6839. Fax: (418) 435-6289. E-mail:
Auberge des 3 Canards, 115, Côte Bellevue, La Malbaie ( Pointe-au-Pic ) Québec G5A 1Y2. Tel: 418 665-3761 / 1 800 461-3761. Fax: 418-665-4727. Email: Website:

For Further Information. Contact:
Tourisme Québec: for complete tourist information Québec, call: (514) 873-2015 or toll free: 1-877-363-7777, or visit web the site: or

© Habeeb Salloum May 2008
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