Quebec City is known for its wonderful French food, and while no trip would be complete without sampling it, to get a better understanding of the local cuisine, nothing beats being able to also see where it came from. And with a major growing region within striking distance, taking a day trip to the Quebec countryside is as easy and it is enjoyable.
Located just 10 minutes outside the heart of Old Town is the bucolic Ile de Orleans. Known as the Garden of Quebec, the island has a long-standing agricultural tradition. To make it easy for travelers, there is a self-guided Gourmet Route that highlights the artisans on the island.
Vinaigrie Cass Isle d’Oreleans
This boutique wine vinegar production house is run by Vincent Noel and his wife France Gagnon. It took Noel 12 years to develop the techniques he uses to make gourmet wine vinegar, but now the company is turning out eight varieties, including its flagship blackcurrant variety that are all made using barrel-aged grand crus wines. Visitors to the shop can learn about the process of turning wine into vinegar and sample the products.
Vignoble Isle de Bacchus
Located on the hills on the west side of the island, the Bacchus Winery grows several varieties of vine-Vandal blanc, Sainte-Croix, Foch, Michurinetz, and Éona grapes. While the winery offers white and red wines, it is perhaps most well-known for its ice wine. Guided tours and wine sampling are offered and an area is available for picnicking. True oenophiles can stay in accommodations in the ancestral home on the property.
Les Fromages de L’Isle D’Orleans
What goes better with wine than cheese? This small purveyor creates a cheese variety that is North America’s oldest, which had disappeared from the market for the past 40 years. Visitors are greeted by staff in 17th century customs and can have lunch on site and purchase a variety of cheeses. Guided tours are available for groups.
Chocolaterie De L’ile D’Orleans
Nothing beats ending a day of culinary sightseeing than a stop at the chocolate shop. Learn how their Belgian chocolates are made in an interpretation center located in a 200-year old house. Sample some of the handmade chocolates or try nearly 20 varieties of homemade natural ice creams and sorbets.