Who doesn’t love a food tour? A guided tour through area eateries where you’re treated to the best that the best restaurants and bars have to offer. In St-Roch Quebec City, this trendy neighborhood has mastered the art of connecting its food with people. Even Anthony Bourdain stopped there to sample the fare.
The St-Roch Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour encompasses six stops, but my favorite, by far, was the first. Maybe because I was so hungry. But I think it had more to do with the most amazing grilled cheese I’d ever had.
In my part of the world, grilled cheese is a staple of childhood made with white bread, American cheese and butter. At Fromagerie des Grondines, “grilled cheese” was in a whole different class than anything I’ve had in the States. Creamy gruyere cheese, artichoke, and jambon (ham) was melted between two pieces of nice, thick break. The result was a gooey mess that tasted something like a rich, artichoke dip that we would have all eaten until we could eat no more. But alas, we had five more stops ahead. This was my clue to pace myself.
The next stop was at Ness, a vegan place where we enjoyed a nibble of key lime pie.
Then came Noctem, an Artisan Brasseur that brews flavors as addictive as catnip. The entire bar is cat-themed. I was in heaven! I’m a little bit cat-crazy, so was instantly enamored with the banners of cat-faced flags that had a cat tale behind them. They were the result of a contest the brasserie held when they opened. They were looking for a cat to use as their mascot, but after receiving hundreds of pictures of adorable (my word, not theirs) cats, they decided instead to include all the cats in their decor. They did finally decide on a mascot/logo: a mosaic of a black cat made from all the submitted cat pictures.
You can order a flight of beers that they call a “litter of kittens.” (Come on! How cute is that?!) You can watch the master brewer creating his concoctions as you dine. We sampled an Herbosophie beer that was flavored with sage, rosemary and thyme, paired with a small plate of octopus.
If I lived in Quebec City, I’d be a regular at Nochem.
After Nochtem, we enjoyed tea at Camellia Sinensis. I’m not much of a tea drinker, but the non-drinkers in our group loved it. Especially on a cold day.
Next we ventured into Chez Ashton for my beloved poutine. I ate poutine every single day I was in Quebec. I know I shouldn’t admit that, but when in Quebec…
Chez Ashton’s poutine is reputed to have the creamiest cheese curds of all. They squeak when you bite into them. In a good way. The way they’re supposed to. Let’s pretend that I was doing quality checks of that all week. Chez Ashton (and the others) definitely passed inspection.
Finally, we ended with dessert: chocolates at Champagne Chocolatier. These handmade chocolates were the perfect finale for a fabulous food tour. When I return to Quebec City, I will definitely make the short detour to St-Roch again. If I’m smart, I’ll plan my trip for September when St-Roch closes it’s streets for a Food Festival that includes all the flavors I mentioned.
Which of these tasty spots have whet your appetite?