Follow Me Foodie to Montreal & Quebec City!
Bonjour mes amis de foodie! Comment allez-vous? Affamé? Moi aussi! D’accord… I think that’s as far as I can go, and I guess I can also order food. Merci beaucoup.
I know, I usually “sneak away” and surprise you after I come home from a culinary trip, but I decided to switch things up once again! This time I’m actually still physically in Quebec and I’m just rounding up my culinary adventure. I want my blog to be like a box of chocolates, where “you never know what you’re going to get”, so Follow Me Foodie to Vancouver one day and Follow Me Foodie to _____ the next!
My getaway to Montreal was first and foremost a coffee trip, which naturally also turned into a full out culinary trip. You can’t survive anywhere in the world without food, but in Montreal the same goes for coffee… and maple syrup.
I’m Canadian, born and raised in Vancouver, and I thought that maple syrup thing was only a stereotype… but, nuh uh. Wait until you get into Quebec! And I thought I had a sweet tooth. Let’s just say the province and I get along quite well.
Anyways, the first portion of my trip was an invitation from Van Houtte to explore the coffee scene in Old Montreal. But wait, it doesn’t mean Follow Me Foodie to Montreal is going to be all about coffee, Keurig machines and K-cups. No, there’s a lot more to Montreal, and Van Houtte is only one brand and coffee is only one aspect. There are things that I liked and things that I didn’t, and as always I’ll be honest about it all.
Before the trip I basically knew Van Houtte as the “gas station coffee” and I compared it to places like Starbucks, Second Cup, and Blenz. I admit, I did it without really even trying it too. I recognized the logo and the name, but my passion for it didn’t really extend beyond that. The brand has a much stronger presence in Quebec and the East Coast than it does on the West, and they even have Van Houtte Cafes and Bistros there too.
I don’t consider myself a “coffee snob” or coffee connoisseur, although there are roasters that I prefer. I’m very proud of the West Coast and Vancouver coffee scene and our support for independent roasters. I also do prefer places and brands like 49th Parallel, Stumptown Coffee, Elysian, Illy and Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, but I certainly don’t know them all.
Comparing Van Houtte to any of the ones I listed would be comparing apples to oranges because it’s not a boutique style coffee. It is on the other hand a Quebec institution and although they might not represent “the best coffee”, I give them a whole lot of credit for activating the coffee culture, which is a culture I knew very little about until now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still no coffee master, but I know what I like, and I love to learn and be inspired by passionate people.
After getting to know the brand and their product I see them differently. Van Houtte is more than a man with a mustache. To be honest, I’m still not that passionate about their actual coffee and I still compare it to Starbucks, Second Cup and Blenz, but it’s what the brand represents that gets me excited. My few days with Van Houtte was coffee boot camp and the experience was unreal.
I know I just said I was excited about the brand, but let me be more specific. Van Houtte is only the product of a much bigger topic, which is essentially coffee, and that’s what I’m excited about! Coffee. It helps that what I was “studying” was caffeinated, but that wasn’t the only thing leading to my excitement either.
During this trip I was able to really learn about coffee. I’m not about to give you a history lesson because I actually didn’t pay too close attention to it either, but I was more interested in the coffee bean as an ingredient and my relationship with it.
From discovering my flavour profiles (you can discover yours here), to coffee and chocolate pairings, coffee and cupcake pairings, using coffee as an ingredient, and “cupping”, I did it all in Montreal and I can’t wait to share these unique experiences with you.
But of course, what’s a trip without the food? Um, not a trip? Or I mean not a trip. <— I wish there was a way to enlarge that period. But you didn’t think I was going to leave without doing what I do best right? So with fork in one hand and knife in the other, I was invited on a culinary tour of Montreal and Quebec City separate from Van Houtte.
Here is just a sneak peek at Follow Me Foodie in Montreal & Quebec City!
My collection will never be complete, but I need to start somewhere! By the way that is not a Dinglehopper or a fork, on this Follow Me Foodie adventure it is a fourchette! This treasure chest of delicious French-Canadian finds is just getting started and I’m bringing home more than one trunk if you know what I mean. One has treasure… and the other is a bit of junk *blush*.