Boulangerie Artisenale Grains de Folie, Amqui, Quebec
We knew we'd crossed over the border into Quebec even before we saw the sign welcoming us to the province. Boulangeries (bakeries), fromageries (cheese shops) and bouchers (butchers) started appearing immediately on the sides of the road. It didn't take long until the RV (of its own accord, I swear), kindly pulled into the parking lot of a charming boulangerie so that its owners could buy some bread and cheese. Despite our abysmally bad French and the owner's equally lacking English, we somehow managed, with a lot of laughing and charades, to leave with 100 grams each of locally made pied-au-vent triple creme cheese, duck and cranberry terrine, raclette with black peppercorns, rustic bread, a couple of chocolate brioche, and a half dozen croissants. Oooh la la!
The cheese selection
Recently while traveling in Newfoundland, Luis and I met a couple, Jacques and Carmen from Quebec, who invited us to spend a few days on their small farm, Ferme Aux Trois Vallons in Canton Stanstead. We looked at the atlas and saw that their place was not so far off our route, so we swung by and spent three wonderful days enjoying home-cooked meals and great company. We knew we were in for a treat when Carmen asked us if we preferred farm-raised rabbit or deer for out first dinner. I had found some chanterelles and other foraged mushrooms in woods while hiking, so I brought those in and Carmen and Jacques prepared roast rabbit with the mushrooms along with apples and root vegetables from their farm for a cozy autumnal meal in their charming farmhouse kitchen.
Jacques, Carmen and Luis enjoying the rabbit and chanterelles
Over the three days we visited, they took us walking around their farm, showing us the various plants and structures they'd built or inherited, including a hunting blind, rabbit hutch and maple-syrup processing hut. They fill their chest freezers with the organic meat and produce that they can access more or less right out their back door, supplemented with the few items that they can't grow themselves. An amazing, generous, lively and active couple, they had done most of the renovations on their 100 year old farmhouse themselves, continued to work the farm and make secondary items such as chocolates or jams and, if that wasn't enough, Jacques is an avid hiker and mountain climber. Having reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at age 69, followed by Mt. Everest's base camp at 70, he was now thinking, at age 74, of climbing the highest mountain outside of Asia, Aconcagua.
Jacques picking dragon carrots from his garden