If you’re thinking about participating in this year’s 4th Edition of the food festival, Québec Exquis, which runs from April 15 to 27, you must read this! After winning a food photo contest by ICI Québec, I recieved two tickets (worth 250$ each!) to go to the opening event for the festival on March 25! (click here to see the winning recipe.) It was organized by Tuxedo Wine Experience to give everyone a pre-tasting of what to expect at the Québec Exquis festival, and it was also an opportunity to benefit the youth foundation Tel-Jeunes.
The event featured twenty well-known restaurants from Quebec, presenting in partnership with twenty different local Quebec farms/producers–a new concept for the festival. La Soirée Haute Cuisine took place at L’Éspace 400e, which was a perfect open modern space for the occasion! We were given a deck of 20 numbered cards (in a black Tuxedo-like case) representing each food station, listing the name of the restaurant and its paired farm/producer. We turned in the corresponding card at each station to receive our little taste of the restaurant. Everything was very well-organized.
I was really happy to personally meet the chefs of some of my favourite restaurants here! I especially appreciated that the event was not just about the restaurants or the chefs, but also about the local produce, and, of course, it was all for a good cause.
Here are some of the highlighs of the event:
*indicates my favourite bouchées of the evening
*Chef François Privé (Table) Grizzly smoked salmon rillette with candied lemon, cucumber jelly and Hendrick’s gin (see photo in slideshow below): When I first saw this without looking at the description of the dish, I thought it was a piece of red bell pepper on the outer layer, but it was actually smoked salmon pieces! The rillette filling was so creamy and the taste of the smoked salmon was fresh. With a little hint of sweet lemon peel and cucumber jelly, it made the perfect compliment for the rillette! I knew that Table would not disappoint me!
*Chef Marie-Chantal Lepage from Espace MC Chef Lamb gravlax with mango hummus and fresh mint: I’ve tasted Chef Lepage’s creations before. Not only is she such a kind person (she even insisted to give me an extra bouchée), but I admire her creativity, and her presentation. The lamb gravlax was basically like a rillette. It was so creamy and light, without feeling the richness of the fat (not to mention the generous portion, too!). With the mango jam, I could only say…wow!!! The only thing I would have liked more was the flavour of the mint. I guess it was so subtle that it didn’t quite come through. (To read more about Espace MC Chef from Allison, please click here)
*Chef Jean-François Bélair (Monte Cristo l’Original) Spiced breaded sweetbreads (Charlevoix veal) with vanilla parsnip chiffon, marinated shimeji mushrooms and crispy prosciutto (see photo in slideshow below): I can’t say that it was my top choice of sweetbreads (since I had such a good one at L’Affair est Ketchup), and it would’ve been better if it were a little warmer, but I liked the interesting mix of the five-spice seasoning in the breading and the the use of Japanese shimeji mushrooms, which gave it a nice Asian twist and kick! These chefs were the only ones who combined Asian elements in their bouchée.
*Chef Martin Gagné (La Traite) Candied smoked salmon with velvety organic currant vinaigrette from Cass’Isle d’Orléans (see photo in slideshow below): I know it sounds rather sweet, but it was really nicely done! I absolutely loved the organic currant vinaigrette; it was really what made this bouchée so special and delectable. The very kind Chef Gagné told me that the vinaigrette will soon be available at the Marché du Vieux Port. Oh, I can’t wait! (To read more about La Traite from Allison, please click here)
*Chef Mathieu Brisson (Clocher Penché) Pork confit mousse (piglet from Turlo farm) with pork jerky teriyaki and apricot on a rosemary cracker (see photo in slideshow below): It was indeed a very good pork confit! Very tender, with excellent taste, but the cracker was a bit too sweet for me and a little difficult to chew.
*Chef Jean-Luc Boulay (Le Saint-Amour) Highland farm beef with wild grain mustard, tartar sauce with condiments (see photo in slideshow below): This was probably the best presentation of all! It was just so lovely in terms of taste and looks. The veal steak was cooked to perfection and it went so well with the citrus-y tartar sauce and the potato-chive condiment. It was simple, yet elegant!
*Chefs Raphaël and Daniel Vézina (Laurie Raphaël) Veal tartare and mustard micro greens (Vertigo Gourmet): This to me scored the most creative bouchée of the evening! The quality of the veal was superb and was mixed with truffles, then topped with mustard micro greens and frozen whipped cream. I loved every element of it, and the frozen whipped cream performed like magic when you put everything in your mouth! (To read more about Laurie Raphaël from Allison, please click here)
*Chef Yvon Godbout (La Fenouillière) Fresh chèvre mousse, caprini cheese (from Alexis de Portneuf) with a sour cherry compote and pistachio crumble. This was my favourite dessert of the evening. The very friendly and funny chef Godbout explained that he didn’t do much with the cheese. The chèvre mousse and caprini cheese together were sooo creamy and light. He was right, it didn’t need much–just some cherry compote and pistachio crumbs. It was a delightful little treat!
I’m sorry to say that, unfortunately, there were a few that were a bit of a disappointment for me. （｀＾´）One was from Louis-Hébert: Tomme de Rudy cheese tart (Fromagerie Ducrêt) with dried duck and blueberry jam. Compared to the others, it seemed a bit effortless. Both the presentation and the taste just did not impress me at all. The other one was from Bistro B: Tuna on Skewer with yellow prune jam. I was especially expecting more from Bistro B since I’m a regular customer to their restaurant and I know how much heart they normally put into their food! I liked the jam very much, and I thought it went well with the raw tuna, but there was a bit of unpleasant fishiness from the tuna. (To read more about Bistro B form Allison, please click here)
In the end, I was a little queasy after eating 20 different varieties of bouchée (who wouldn’t be?), but overall, it was a very successful event. I would like to thank ICI Québec, again, for giving me the opportunity to go to this special event and to taste the food from a lot of restaurants that I haven’t been to. I would also like to thank all the chefs and everyone who worked at the event, including the DJ who provided some electric and fun music that night. It was very enjoyable and memorable. I now know which restaurants I’d like to try next. As for you, you’ll have to try as many as possible during this 13-day event, Québec Exquis, to decide for yourself which ones are your favourites. Bon appétit! ヾ(@^▽^@)ノ
More photos to view in slideshow below!
Photos © 2014 Yvonne Rosenbaum
魁北克這裡的美食是知名的，而這裡每年也有不少不同的美食活動讓在地居民與來自世界各地的觀光客參加，其中較大型的活動之一包括即將要開始的第四屆Québec Exquis美食節。由於在ICI Québec贏得了一項美食攝影的比賽，獎金是兩張參加3月25日Québec Exquis美食節開幕晚會的票(一張值加幣$250！)。這個晚會是由Taxedo舉辦，主要的目地是讓大家預先品嚐一下參預美食節的所有二十家餐廳的廚藝，另外也順便讓大家經由這個活動來造福Tel-Jeunes這個青少年基金會。 (*^▽^*)
在這開幕活動裡的所有二十家餐廳都是魁北克知名的，而他們又分別與當地不同的二十個農產商搭檔合作以促銷在地農產品。這次的開幕晚會 – 美食之夜是在空間開敞又非常現代的Espace 400e舉辦，入場時每個人都會拿到一個黑色小盒子，裡面裝有二十張印有號碼、餐廳名稱及合作的農產品名稱的卡片，要取食物的時候再把號碼合對的卡片給每個餐廳的攤位，一切都規劃的很又次序。
Bouchée – 是一種一口塞小點心
Chef François Privé (Table) – 燻鮭魚醬片和糖漬檸檬、小黃瓜凍與Hendrick琴酒: 乍看之下，我以為那紅色的外層是甜紅椒，結果吃下去才發現，哇，原來也是燻鮭魚！中間那燻鮭魚醬又鮮又綿，再加上那帶點甜酸味的糖漬檸檬與小黃瓜凍，真的超好吃！我就知道Table不會讓我失望~(*⌒∇⌒*)
Chef Marie-Chantal Lepage (Espace MC Chef) – 羊肉醬、薄荷與芒果泥：我吃過 大廚的料理，她人不只非常的友善，她的創作總是令人驚喜！那羊肉醬吃起來又細也不油膩，份量也多，所以吃起來很過癮，與那稍甜的芒果醬一起吃真是棒極了！唯一那薄荷的味道感覺不太出來，要是能再多一點點薄荷的味道就會更完美！
Chef Martin Gagné (La Traite) – 糖漬燻鮭魚與黑醋栗甜醋醬：聽起來好像很甜，但是甜度剛剛好。我好喜歡那有黑醋栗味道的甜醋，使得淋上那甜醋之後的燻鮭魚，味道更特別！
Chef Jean-Luc Boulay (Le Saint-Amour) – 小牛排、野生芥末、塔塔醬與馬鈴薯：小牛排又軟又嫩，烤的剛剛好。與其它的配料吃起來超搭的!!! 雖然非常簡單，但卻非常的精緻！
Chefs Raphaël and Daniel Vézina (Laurie Raphaël) – 韃靼式拌生小牛肉末與芥末micro greens: 對我來說，這是當晚最有創意的bouchée! 上等品質的生小牛肉拌上松露再加上芥末micro greens與非常特別的冷凍鮮奶油，真的是與眾不同！
Chef Yvon Godbout (La Fenouillière) – 新鮮羊奶酪慕思、櫻桃果醬與開心果酥：這是我當晚最愛的甜點！那慕思吃起來又綿又細緻，友善又可愛的 大廚解釋，他並沒有怎麼給那新鮮羊奶酪加工，因為它的原味就已經很棒了喔~