Poutine, pouding chomeur, sucre à la crème and tourtière are among Quebec’s most prized culinary traditions. Among these, tourtière wins my prize for the quite essentiel québécois comfort dish.
Every family in the province of Quebec has its version and a book of recipes that includes a well-kept list of aromas and perfumes from our terroir’s heritage: sariette, clove and celery pepper.
Tourtière reminds me of my grand-parents’ kitchen and its smell brings me instantly back to my childhood. Tourtière tastes like Christmas! It always shows up at the center of the table during the réveillon. I have never lived a Christmas without tourtière, because it is part of my family’s heritage.
Tourtière is served as a pie and is mainly made up of three essential ingredients: meat (veal, beef, pork), potatoes and dough. But, its recipe differs whether you’re from the Saguenay or Gaspé region of the province of Quebec. Some add more meat and call it Cipaille, while others only use minced meat. But, no matter which region you’re from, one thing is certain, tourtière is a true French-Canadian culinary classic!
Here is a list of where you can have a taste of tourtière in Quebec City almost any day of the year.
Ferme du Bon Temps
884 Route 138, St-Joachim
Ferme du Bon Temps is about a 45 minute drive from Quebec City in Saint-Joachim on the Côte de Beaupré. Every week, the Ferme delivers their baked goods and seasonal food baskets to the Eumatimi butcher shop downtown Quebec City on rue Saint-Joseph. All year round, Ferme du Bon Temps bakes traditional québécois dishes from their family’s recipe book including donuts, pea soups and fruit pies. During Christmas time, the family matriarch Dolores prepares an impressive batch of tourtière. It is the most traditional recipe I have found in the greater Quebec City and the most similar to my grand-mother’s! Their tourtière is very popular among the locals and sells out quickly. Order online via their website.
Fou du Bio
160 Quai St-André
During Christmas time, Anthony of the Fou du Bio kiosk at the Marché du Vieux-Port carries a 12 meat tourtière from the Magdelene Islands. It comes in late November and usually sells out a few weeks later. This tourtière is a decadent and incomparable recipe where meat takes over on the potato. At the Fou du Bio kiosk, you’ll also find a variety of local organic foods including charcuteries, foie gras, free-range eggs and lots of maple products.
Buffet de l’Antiquaire
95 rue Saint-Paul
No matter the time of year, you can always have a serving of tourtière –they serve the Saguenay version called Cipaille- at the Buffet de l’Antiquaire on rue St-Paul in the Old-Port. But, considering tourtière is a hearty dish, I don’t recommend you indulge in the meat-potato-pastry concoction on a hot summer day. But then again, one of the most traditional French-Canadian ways to indulge in tourtière, is to eat it while talking about the weather.