Alas. With a wastebasket full of canceled flights and snow piled higher than Marge Simpson’s hair, it’s clear I am not going to make it to this year’s winter Carnaval de Québec. I decide to stage my own damn carnaval and recreate some favorite Québécois treats. Jane and David Hartley four-wheel up the Hill to join us. Things are definitely looking up.
First things first. I prepare a steaming pot of Caribou, Quebec’s trademark mulled cocktail of red wine, maple syrup, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and whiskey. My interpretation substitutes an inspired hit of Jack Daniels, et voila!
It is hard to deny the pleasures of a hot toddy in the middle of a nor’easter.
Fortified, next is a classic French Tourtière, Canada’s traditional meat pie. Using equal parts ground pork and bison, plus nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and a cup of mashed potato, I pack the rich, dense filling into my “Canadian Living” recipe for buttery pie crust. Tourtière is rustic – do not attempt a maple leaf flourish unless you are Martha Stewart.
After our imaginary day of snowy tubing, ice slides, “extreme” sledding, cross-country skiing, skating, and snowshoeing along the Plains of Abraham with tubby festival escort, red-capped “Bonhomme,” we’re tuckered out and ready for a sweet reward.
Tarte au Sucre
I tasted my first sugar pie at the legendary foie gras palace, Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, and have never forgotten. The unctuous tart combines brown sugar and maple syrup with eggs, toasted walnuts, butter and vanilla, and baked in a delicate crust until silky and achingly sweet – just this side of de trop. Topped with whipped cream, exquis! Best eaten in the company of good friends with some of Jane’s fresh citrus and berries. •“Recipes” – top right of page under EpicuriousTravelers header.