A Sensual French-Canadian Encounter (photos)

After a light shove, the gooey, salty white chunks rolled over the crispy bed—just as thick, spicy fluid cascaded down the deep pockets like honey on a stack of hot cakes. Excited, I finally took a mouthful… and, as expected, the concoction was even more explosive inside me. I had to know more about him…

Frontenac Château poutine, Québec City

View of Frontenac Château, one time I was waiting for him…

old Québec city, poutine at Le Cochon Dingue

This, however, is the street of our favorite encounter…

…so today, I’m exploring poutine history and its different flavors! 😀

The origins

How did this sensual French-Canadian creation came to be? That was probably (one of) the first question(s) that came to mind when I lost my poutine virginity in Montréal in June. And while I had a feeling that it’s background wouldn’t be as exciting as our first encounter, it’s controversial nonetheless.

All accounts point to the late 1950s in rural Québec, Canada. It can’t be decided, however, whether its birthplace was the town of Drummondville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Victoriaville or even Warwick. According to the CBC though, the most-often-cited source is the latter, with its inventor being Fernand Lachance… Or the customer the asked for the special french fries? It went something like this:

Customer: I’ll have some cheese curds with those fries, please.

Chef Lachance: une maudite poutine! [a damn mess!]

Either way, thanks to BOTH! Oh, and to the guy (or girl) that had the brilliant idea to add the gravy in order to keep the fries warmer, longer.

La Banquise Montréal original


Poutine flavors: infinite?

The possibilities with poutine are endless: any shredded meat, vegetable or cheese as topping is fair game. Just please, never forget the thick brown gravy, the salty cheese curds or the crispy, sweet fries.

Below are some of the poutine concoctions I stumbled upon with during my time in Montréal, Québec City, and Toronto:

La Banquise, Montréal menu

CLICK TO ENLARGE: many varieties at the infamous La Banquise, Montréal.

Original Montréal Poutinerie

Original variety at Montréal Poutinerie

vegetarian poutine, Montréal

Vegetarian poutine, made with the vegetable-based gravy (ohbernadine, Flickr)

La Fumee poutine

All the poutines at Le Chic Shack (Old Québec City) are made with quite chunky, yet crispy “wedge” fries — a bold twist from original varieties (photo: TripAdvisor.ca)

Double pork poutine from Smoke's Poutinerie, Toronto

Smoked bacon, chipotle pulled pork topping original poutine and gravy (Smoke’s Poutinerie, Toronto)

My favorite poutine

I gained about 10 pounds from my week in Québec—all from eating a different type of poutine every day. But there’s this special one… One that I still dream about every night. One that’s making me consider booking a ticket from the warmth of Puerto Rico to the bitter cold of Québec just so I can have it again this Christmas holiday…

Le Cochon Dingue food

Duck confit variety HECK YEAH

That poutine… That poutine is what inspired the first paragraph of this blog post. I, however, didn’t describe the shredded duck confit—as it smoothly slid into my mouth, between my teeth—because that would have probably grossed some of you out.

duck confit poutinerie, Vieux Québec

*melts in your mouth*

Just look at that. Even without the duck, it was the best poutine I’ve ever had (my 10 pounds worth of it!), hands-down. The big, perfectly salty cheese curds. The crispy, golden-sweet fries. The thick homemade gravy, mixed with the house’s spicy BBQ sauce. And yes, it even had capers.

I miss him. I MISS HIM SO MUCH. And it can only be found at Le Cochon Dingue, Vieux Québec.

Old Québec City poutinerie

YES. Please.

Damn, I really do love poutine…

(I did pay for that duck confit poutine, in case you’re wondering…) 

Got any other stories about poutine history? What’s your favorite variety?

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