Restaurant: Au Pied de Cochon
Last visited: October 17, 2010
Location: Montréal, Quebec (Plateau Mont-Royal)
Address: 536 Ave Duluth E
Price Range: $50+
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Chef Picard
- Most popular fine dining French restaurant
- Named one of best French restaurants in Canada
- Very rich traditional French cuisine
- Extensive menu
- Seafood/Game/Exotic meats
- Famous “Canard en Conserve”
- Duck in a can available to go
- Attracts tourists, some locals
- Reservations recommended
- Open Tues-Sun 5pm-12am
- Closed Monday
When I think Montreal the first thing that comes to mind is Au Pied de Cochon. It’s the most famous and popular fine dining French restaurant in Montreal and it’s known for serving the butteriest, richest traditional French cuisine. This post is specifically dedicated to Au Pied de Cochon’s famous Duck in a Can, or as the French call it “Canard en Conserve”.
I actually haven’t physically been to Au Pied de Cochon, however when my dear friend told me she was going to visit I had to make the request to bring back a duck in a can. She was equally as excited to try it and ended up buying a couple. I am so very thankful! It’s seriously the perfect souvenir for any foodie. A duck in a can. Food that travels. I like!
Note: My duck in a can may have been affected by traveling time. It came from Montreal, Quebec on a plane all the way to Vancouver, BC. Yes it can be done. I didn’t open it until about 3-4 days later, so I’m not sure if that made a difference.
On the table:
- This is everything you get when you order it to go. It’s served the same way when you dine it but they just open the can and plate it at your table too.
- Chef Picard uses a variety of in house cooking techniques and his canning technique is a famous one. He cans and cooks his signature duck in a can.
It’s definitely a gourmet novelty and they even have a custom “Canard en Conserve” label for it. The bag and the label are also stamped with the Au Pied de Cochon emblem and symbol to represent “authenticity”. If you order it to go the label actually comes separately and you can stick it on yourself after you boil it.
- 1/2 duck breast
- 100g of foie gras
- 60mL of balsamic demi-glaze
- 1/2 head of roasted garlic
- 2 sprigs of Thyme
It’s half a duck breast stuffed with thyme sprigs, a large piece of foie gras, and then served with carrots, celery and onions in garlic and balasmic demi-glaze. I also call it a heart attack waiting to happen. Seriously this is probably the richest and butteriest thing I’ve ever eaten… I’ve never eaten a stick of butter dipped in duck fat and that’s the only thing that could possibly beat this.
The duck wasn’t as tender as I thought it would be. It was almost like a duck steak and I had to get a steak knife to get through it. I think I was expecting a duck confit type of thing so I had my expectations set different. The layer of duck fat was intense! It was a thick layer of bumpy duck fat and it was really chewy and not tender. I’m not a “meat fat” kind of person though so other people might appreciate this… ?
It was almost like a butter duck stew that was super heavy and really tangy altogether. The sauteed or braised vegetables were very soft and mushy and soaked in buttery balsamic sauce. It was sour and reminded me of sauerkraut and it seemed very Eastern European to me.
My lips were literally coated with oil, butter and fat and I couldn’t finish the whole thing. I had to take a break and eat some pineapple and citrus fruits afterward. I needed the acid to break up the grease. My heart will thank me one day.
This was the massive piece of foie gras. It was the almost the size of the duck breast and I actually felt really bad for eating it. The only way to get it so big is force feeding the duck, I hope it’s not the method they use at Au Pied de Cochon, but I don’t know how else they would get it so big. I could only have a couple bites and I was done. It was really fatty and buttery with almost broken layers of extra fat on top. I prefer my foie gras pan seared if I have it as a whole… but I guess that’s something entirely different.
This is the celeriac puree (celery root puree) that came on the side if you order the duck in a can to go. If your order it at the restaurant they put it on top of the bread and it’s almost treated like a mashed potato to absorb all the buttery tangy sauce. I didn’t know what it was at first and I think the traveling time may have affected it. I’m not sure but it tasted like sour grainy lard and it smelt like cream cheese.
I used it anyways, but I did it wrong because it was supposed to go on top of the bread. I also should have toasted the bread and I should have done my research before I started. I guess next time I’ll just have to go to Au Pied de Cochon for the full experience and real deal. It would probably taste different; nonetheless it was a fun way to get a taste of Montreal.