Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Friday, 4 January 2019

What’s Québec if not Poutine?

It’s pronounced Putin, as in Vladimir.  And when they write about Vladimir in the media, it's written as Vladimir Poutine.

And for some inexplicable reason Québécois love it - poutine, not Putin. It originated here in the 1950s and the is dish part of their cultural heritage, which does make you wonder.  

The basic components are three of the hunter-gatherer’s favourite things, so it could be appealing: fries, cheese, gravy.  Sadly, poutine layers these three things together. Traditionally it’s fries topped with cheese curds (squeaky cheese) and covered with brown gravy.  It looks just like it sounds. 

As luck would have it, Poutineville -yes that is the name of the establishment- is on the ground floor of the building where I’m going to language school. I didn’t say it was good luck.

I'd rather go to Margaritaville

I give in and try it, to give an informed opinion if nothing else.  Poutinevillle only serves poutine, but in a bewildering number of combinations.

so many options, and none of them good
I switched it up by adding roasted peppers and bacon.  It didn't help. No matter how you look at it, putting gravy on fries is only going to make them soggy- what’s the point?

I don’t need to eat it again.  Ever. 

Tastes as good as it looks
Fortunately there's more to Québec than poutine, such as great cities like Montreal and Québec City, and the chance to practise your French, though this is not French as you learned it at school, it's Québécois.

Among other things, Montreal is famous for Leonard Cohen and Schwartz's.  You are probably familiar with Leonard and the city is so proud of its son it has a massive mural to prove it.  I was in the Montreal Art Museum (fabulous) when I looked out the window and there it was - much larger than life, looming over the rooftops. 

 Now Schwartz's Deli is world (they say) famous as the home of smoked meat. The deli has been there since 1928 and they marinate the brisket in secret herbs and spices - sound familiar? - for 10 days before smoking it daily and adding no preservatives.  It seems it is extremely famous in North America.  I met people who were buying pounds of smoked brisket and flying home with it in their hand luggage - that cabin must smell amazing. 

The queue to get in to the restaurant was metres down the street so I decided to get take out - the queue to get take out was metres down the shop.  Those boys were slicing like demons to keep up with the play - it was artistry.

And was it worth the wait?  Depends on how much you like smoked meat I guess, but it was pretty tasty.  I'll tell you this much - it was a whole lot better poutine.

The $9.95 smoked meat sandwich - I didn't need dinner

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