Quebec Food Tour
Wine, Cider, and Bon Appetit
At Quimby Country, you’re literally on the doorstep of French culture, especially as expressed in good food and drink. Eight of the ten best restaurants in the Eastern Townships are within an hour’s drive. And many guests have spent a wonderful afternoon tasting their way through the vineyards, cider mills, and small villages just across the border.
If you like to get your ice cream as close to the cows as possible, you’re in luck. The Laiterie de Coaticook (“Coaticook Dairy”) has two nearby outlets. The closest is in the General Store of Baldwin Mills, a small village well worth a visit in its own right. The other is in the actual creamery in Coaticook, just a little further into Canada on Route 147. Try the tire et pepites d’erables,” ice cream with maple-caramel taffy and nuggets of maple sugar. (The website is only in French at the moment).
If you would like high-tea in palatial surroundings, go to Coaticook’s Beaulne Museum, on Wednesday afternoon when the tea and pastries are served on the veranda beginning in July. Reservations advised. Call 819-849-6560. The menu is here.
From the Beaulne Museum, it’s a short drive up Rt. 208 to La Station, an artisanal cheese factory in Compton. Stop in to taste their organic specialty cheeses. Tour the farm and cheese factory. Look into the cheese cellar. Taste some cheese, drink an espresso, sample the maple syrup. Buy some cheese, maple syrup, or local crafts. The staff are all bilingual and speak English or French. For the schedule of tours, call 819 835-530.
Further up the road, you’ll cycle back to Route 147 to visit the Louis S. St. Laurent national historic site which recalls the life and work of a former Canadian prime minister. You can visit the house where he was born as well as his father’s general store, and immerse yourself in the attractions of the rural village where he grew up. The site is open Wednesday to Sunday and on holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $3.90 for adults, $1.90 for children, or $9.80 for a family.
Not far away is Pause Gourmande, an artisanal bakery. Try the chocolate croissants and olive bread. Just a few houses down on the right, you’ll find Xocolatl, an excellent chocolatier, specializing in small batch chocolates.
To continue your gourmet tour, turn around and drive a short distance north on Rt. 147 to Chemin de la Station, where you’ll turn left to visit Cidrérie Verger Ferland, a cider mill that has been in operation since 1960. They sell jellies, donuts and pies baked on site, as well as flavored ciders, fortified wines, and ice cider, all made from their home-grown fruit. For details, call 819-835-5762.
To sample some of the local wine, get back on 147 North to Domaine Ives Hill, a vineyard that offers tastings of black currant and blackberry wines, as well as non-alcoholic products. You’re welcome to explore the grounds and use the picnic spots along the river. For details, call 819-837-0301.
If all this just whets your appetite for more, the tourist bureau of the Eastern Townships had a guide to the vineyards of the Brome-Missisquoi wine region. And don’t forget, each adult is entitled to bring one liter of wine into the U.S. duty-free. That’s two 750 ml bottles.