Fall Gourmet Getaway in the Lower Laurentians
Our ambassador Ariane was charmed by the Lower Laurentians during a colourful gourmet getaway!
Lately, I had the chance to go on a road trip with friends to discover the lesser known region of the Lower Laurentians again, and this time, it was more for the taste buds. From exotic farms (ostriches, alpacas, bees...) to themed gardens; from original microbreweries to magnificent vineyards; or from fair trade stores to lively orchards, agrotourism is in full swing!
Let's not forget the possibility to cross charming village and to enjoy lots of outdoor activities: hiking in the SEPAQ Parks or other, cycling down a dozen beautiful routes), criss-crossing the islands by kayak or rafting down rivers.
In order to continue your discovery of Quebec this fall, I will first share with you my notebook of the best gourmet addresses:
Photo credit: Tourisme Basses-Laurentides
Labonté de la pomme orchard
405, Rang de l’Annonciation, Oka, QC, J0N 1E0
This family business - open almost year-round - seems to be appreciated by everyone! Enjoy a beautiful location in a rustic atmosphere, but with many little extras that make the experience very special. Depending on the season, the general store also carries multiple top-of-the-line homemade artisan products (deli meats, jellies, honeys, prepared meals, etc.) as well as products from Quebec (Oka cheese), to be eaten on site in season or to take away.
U-pick: Not only apples, but more than 25 varieties of fruits and vegetables (pears, plums, pumpkins, squash, cherries, corn, cabbage, etc.) can be harvested. Last spring, we even started to pick our own maple water.
Honey house: Discover the wonderful world of bees by tasting the honeys and products of the hive, 100% pure and natural, coming from the apiary of the same estate.
What differentiates this orchard: Since 2007, we can find the first "Apple shack" in Quebec, which offers a gourmet upscale formula. It is, of course, the opportunity to honour the terroir of the region. A great classic: the onion soup revisited with Quebec flavours. Whenever possible, we also cook outdoors using an antique wood-burning oven fuelled by apple tree wood. Or why not go for brunch? I can't wait to go back!
The smallest: After your harvest or not, pick up your epicurean picnic (dishes and utensils included), without forgetting the apple fizz.
TAKE PART IN THE HARVEST
Rivière du chêne vineyard
807, Rivière Nord, Saint-Eustache, QC, J7R 0J5
The Lower Laurentians tend to be less identified as a wine region. However, there are real nice places, such as the splendid Rivière du Chêne vineyard. With its imposing structure (16.5 hectares of vines) - which we certainly remember - and its look reminiscent of the vineyards of Western Canada, we also count on, not only the quality of the wines, but also on a warm welcome and impeccable service.
Tasting: A curious package is offered at the boutique, including a guided tour and commented tastings among a selection of more than 15 unique wines that reflect the terroir.
Bistro: From the gourmet boards, from Wednesday to Sunday, to the great novelty of Sunday brunches, epicureans will be delighted.
Photo credit: Rivière-du-chêne vineyard
What makes this vineyard different: Become a grape picker for a day, a unique experience - offered free of charge - to live alone, as a couple or with friends. You will need to bring: pruning shears, a small cushion, good shoes and a bottle of water as well as comfortable clothing adapted to the temperature. I can't wait to go back!
PSST: There are still a few spots left in October. But be quick! It is necessary to book online.
A little plus: Tapas evenings are offered every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Take the opportunity to discover the new autumn menu.
An overview of the harvest via this video:
210, Route du Long-Sault, Saint-André-d'Argenteuil, QC, J0V 1X0
This beautiful café-boutique - with a relaxed atmosphere - was built in a former fire station only 2 years ago. One could also describe this beautiful place, on the banks of the North River, as a kind of general store for modern life. One can find there obviously local and regional products, but also other items for health care, some household items and without forgetting those for leisure. All chosen with taste and the most sought-after, as we also notice the importance of design.
What makes this coffee store different:b> Green and sustainable values are certainly in the spotlight! Refillable, reusable, biodegradable and zero waste for all spheres of daily life.
A little plus: In addition to serving excellent quality fair trade coffee, occasional (when regulations permit) artisanal cheese tastings are organized.
SPOIL YOURSELF, WHILE REPLENISHING YOUR ENERGY
Bistro Le Sacré de l’Abbaye d’Oka
1600, Chemin d’Oka, QC, J0N 1E0
Why not take advantage of a visit to the Abbey of Oka - its store and its hiking and mountain bike trails - to also plan a meal at the Bistro Le Sacré. This magical place, within stone walls, has just been taken over by the chef owners of the famous Géraldine located in Saint-Eustache. Do you know it? We will serve more comfort food in the form of appetizers (more copious than tapas).
What makes this bistro different: According to the following, almost half of the ingredients come from the Abbey site: gardens of squash and other vegetables, black and ash walnut trees, vineyards, pear trees, mushrooms in the forest, etc... We even have one of the largest orchards in Quebec!
A little plus: An extensive selection of beers, whiskey, wines - many from the region (among others from the Rivière du Chêne vineyard and the Wilsy Brewery and Distillery) you are also offered a wide selection of beers, whiskey, wines - many from the region (among others from the Vignoble Rivière du Chêne and the Brasserie et Distillerie Wilsy) you can also enjoy the atmosphere of a bistro.
Reopening of the bistro: September 26th 2020.
(Please note that lodging at the Auberge is not currently offered, due to the current situation.).
Wilsy Brewery & Distillery
4600, QC-344, Saint-Placide, QC, J0V 2B0
Even though this superb microbrewery is only starting its second year, it is already on a roll! For the record: the owners of the most sympathetic, in love at high school, have taken different paths. But to find themselves in big 7 years ago. At the same time, the Equa Farm was going through a big change and the couple wanted to create a new project. Inspired by their travels and training in Ireland, British Columbia and Scotland - where they not only visit whisky distilleries, but learn the basics in depth - they finally created Wilsy Distillery.
However, as the process takes at least 3 years to mature, the entrepreneurs are forced to re-evaluate their project - still quite unique - which will be transformed into Wilsy Brewery (We will see!). For the moment, distribution is done on site and only in about 25 outlets in the region. To be seen according to the extent of their success! After production, no waste is left behind.
What differentiates this microbrewery: The 7 artisanal beers (10 soon) come from the production of maple water, on the very ground of the site (2000 taps planned). Under all reserves, it is the only place in Quebec to operate in this way: The maple water brings less minerals and offers a different texture. For about a month, the grain, the hops and the yeast do their work in order to offer a tasty product.
A little plus: Housed in an old stable, the ranch is still accessible to horses for the enjoyment of young and old alike.
OTHER GOOD ADRESSES IN RAFFLE (that I also tested):
Les Vergers Lafrance
1473, Chemin principal, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, QC, J0N 1M0
Vignoble & Microbrasserie Les Vents d’Ange
839, Chemin principal, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, QC, J0N 1M0
Brasserie Sir John
455, Rue principale, Lachute, QC, J8H 1Y4
Érablière du sanglier
(Jardins, Restaurant, Produits maisons & Ferme de dindons, poules, lapins et sangliers)
8405, Chemin St-Jérusalem S, Lachute, QC, J8H 2C5