The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Poutine oui ou poutine non?

I believe every country has its own good share of fats and unhealthy foods. Sometimes the fattier and more caloric it is the better it tastes. Of course there are exceptions - and I would immediately list the Glasgonian deep fried Mars-bar...

This national Quebecois snack seems to be perfect after a long night out and many pints of Labatt as it is salty, fatty, and tasty. To be honest I was expecting something worse than what it was - possibly having experienced the deep fried Mars bar - as every time I mentioned poutine everyone rolled their eyes and sighted. Somebody even admitted that she allowed herself to indulge in it once a year - which made me think that this poutine was deadly poisonous. All it turned out to be was a plate of chips soaked in gravy and covered with crumbs of cheese curd. C'est tout? Oui, c'est tout! So I reckon that a medium portion has only 600cal which in the end is the equivalent of a very loaded pizza.

Poutine seems to be the French variation of the English pudding, clearly not the sweet version but the savoury one like the Yorkshire pudding that is typically eaten with roast beef. Possibly in origin there were no chips but more something like a batter that was then covered with cheese and topped with the gravy from the roast.

I must recognize that the look is not the most inviting but the taste is not bad - if you like those sort of things once in a while. We had ours sitting on a bench in one of the lovely roads of old Quebec City.



It was cute to find "posh" versions of poutines -"gnocchi and fois-gras".

Clearly I'm not going to give you a recipe for this but I might have inspired you to concoct something new next time you come back from the pub.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Canada in a tart

Hopefully this will be the first of a series of posts on Canada. I am sure that many won't expect gourmet dishes from the northern cousin of America but to our surprise we discovered many delicacies which I want to share with you.


Of course maple syrup was at the top of our gourmet trail being probably Canada's n.1 symbol. There are several ways in which this golden gloopy syrup can be used and we had great fun in discovering them. The most fun thing though was to discover how it can very in taste, colour, and smell- a bit like wine, really!  And that most Canadians seem to have an uncle who produces it...

The trees get wired up with a series of tubes that are then channeled into a main pot where all the sap gets collected, then directed into a massive cauldron and boiled for ages until it acquires the desired consistency. And the purer it is the more expensive it gets - and by purity I mean not been mixed with the syrup from previous years or from different batches - so no cuvees please!

One gets so convinced that maple syrup is simply everywhere that I was deadly sure that it was one of the main ingredients of these wonderful tarts...perhaps the trick is given but a combination of muscovado sugar, cream, and butter. These little crumbly melt-in-the-mouth gems that are sold almost everywhere in Ontario - there is even a "butter tarts trail" around the town of Kenilworth where bakeries claim to seel thousands a week - are tiny cases of pastry filled with a mix of  butter (obviously!) and cream that becomes one of the most delicious filling - it is so oozy that there is no point in cutting a tart into half to share the guilt, you've got to have it all or the syrup will form a big lake in your plate leaving even more traces of your gluttony!