Quebec

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Tire-Bouchon

I can’t believe how much we got out of our very short trip to Quebec’s Eastern Townships! Truly, there is so much concentrated in a small area that we were able to experience the area in two days without feeling rushed or tired. Except for that panicked late afternoon drive into a hurricane, of course. That part was tiring.

One of the things I was most excited about was visiting the wineries of the Eastern Townships. Dotted along a rural route, where our GPS went in and out and we saw more bicycles than cars, we found winery after winery offering degustation, and we were more than happy to take part.

Vignoble L’Orpailleur

One of the wineries on our itinerary was Vignoble L’Orpailleur, a sprawling country house that held a tasting room, information center, and restaurant.

Vignoble L’Orpailleur

On this beautiful late summer day, the tasting room was packed with locals and vacationers, and lots of tastings were being poured.

Vignoble L’Orpailleur

Instead of waiting at the tasting bar, I decided to wander around the winery, which showed, among other things, the cycle of a vine. I’d learned all of this in wine class, and I have seen vineyards at various stages, but it was helpful to see it all in one place.

Vignoble L’Orpailleur

The crowds in the tasting room didn’t thin, but my hunger started to kick in, and we decided to make use of the conveniently located restaurant, Tire-Bouchon, right next to the tasting room. Although the dining room windows faced the lush vineyards and gardens through vast windows, there really was no discussion about where we wanted to site, outside under the grapevines. The indoor dining room would be amazing in the fall, when everything starts to change color, but it might be too chilly to sit outside.

Tire-Bouchon

On this day, we could not say no to the glorious Northern sunshine.

image

Since we missed the tasting, I decided to have a glass of L’Orpailleur Brut. Made in the traditional Champagne method, the way I prefer my sparkling wine, the Brut had toasty aromas and crisp apple flavors. It was perfect, the view was perfect, my company was perfect. It was one of the best moments of the summer.

Brut de Brut

We lingered over light lunches, baguette, vegetable soup, and a cheese platter with our wine.

baguette

cheese plate

Cheese, wine, bread, and sun? Pretty much sums up our afternoon in the Eastern Townships. No rush, no fuss, just warm hospitality, great food, and a very nice way of life.

We wandered the grounds of the winery and made another attempt at the tasting room which was even more crowded, a pack of people on motorcycles arriving just as we finished lunch. We were happy with the wine we sampled at lunch and decided to save our tasting for our next trip.

What was your most relaxing day this summer?

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Tags: Dining out, Eastern Townships, Lunch, Quebec, Restaurants, Tire-Bouchon, Travel, wine, wineries

Chocolate Museum

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Now back to the regularly scheduled programming, chocolate in Quebec!

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Wandering lazily around Quebec’s Eastern Townships led to many discoveries, natural beauty, perfect places for running and biking, top rate restaurants, and lots and lots of food and wine related gems. One of those gems was in the small village of Bromont; in addition to stumbling across a fair of all sorts of artists wares, we also followed our noses to the Le Musee du Chocolat, a quaint little red building featuring chocolate history, a café, and a store with every bit of chocolate joy one could imagine.

Chocolate Museum

Chocolate Museum

Chocolate Museum

A case with handmade confections, a daily menu filled with sweet delights, and shelves stocked with homemade sauces welcomed us.

chocolate sauces

chocolate

We spent some time visiting the exhibits on the history of chocolate.

chocolate museum

I loved looking at advertisements for chocolate and chocolate in popular culture.

chocolate museum

The store part of the museum contained every (quality) chocolate bar imaginable, and we, of course, could not leave without a little snack for the road, in the form of silky, hazelnut-studded chocolate bars, one of my favorite chocolate combinations.

We loved Bromont and its chocolate museum, a definite must-visit on your Eastern Townships journey.

 

What is your favorite chocolate bar combination?

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Tags: Canada, chocolate, dessert, Eastern Townships, Food, museums, Quebec, Travel

Weekend getaways are always a treat, and with our trip to the Eastern Townships of Quebec, we found a new, close by spot for short (or long) trips just a drive from Boston.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love the opportunity to fly to Ireland or across the country to Sonoma, but those long haul trips often end up being exhausting at the end, the antithesis of vacation.

Our quick drive to the Eastern Townships of Quebec brought us to Chateau Bromont, a luxury hotel in the heart of the countryside, flanked by a rolling golf course, ski mountains, and forests. We didn’t spend much time in our spacious, lovely room, because as usual, we wanted to explore, eat, and drink some wine!

Chateau Bromont

Chateau Bromont

The Chateau Bromont features an indoor and outdoor pool and hot tub, in addition to a bistro and a high end restaurant.

Chateau Bromont

The outside of the building featured amazing views and lush gardens, complete with bubbling streams. The environment was completely serene, secluded, and perfect for a little getaway.

Chateau Bromont

 

Les Quatre Canards

I always have food and wine on the brain, so I was excited to eat at the Chateau Bromont’s restaurant, Les Quatre Canards.

We started with an amuse bouche of phyllo dough with cheese and vegetables in a delicate sauce.

amuse bouche

I, of course, had a glass (or 2) of sparkling wine.

bubbly

We skipped appetizers because I had dessert on the brain already. Instead we skipped into entrees. I got the trout which was wrapped around crabmeat with a side of seasonal vegetables and a cauliflower truffle mash.

trout

My husband had perfectly cooked beef (I even tried it!) with seasonal veggies and peppercorns. It was divine.

beef

And then came dessert. A chocolate bomb, flaky layers of chocolate wafer, mousse, and a chocolate ganache, for him.

chocolate bomb

And for me, one of the reasons I came to Quebec, Tarte au Sucre, this one an upside down version. A maple sugar tart with ice cream, in a jar, is one of the most perfect things in the world. Maple sugar is not too sweet, not at all. There is no fake sugar flavor or overly sweet goo here, just a subtle hint of sweetness with creamy vanilla ice cream and a crunchy crumb crust.

tarte au sucre

It was one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. My pre-Quebec bucket list included local sparkling wine and tarte au sucre, two goals I met. It also included seeing a real live moose, which did not happen. And that gives me more reason to return.

All joking aside, Chateau Bromont provided the perfect place to relax, wine, and dine in a comfortable, luxe environment. Next time I will be booking a spa treatment and bringing a bathing suit to take advantage of the pools. And maybe doing some skiing, if the husband has anything to do with it.

 

Where is your favorite weekend getaway? It could be close or far, just a place you love to kick back, relax, eat, drink, and be merry?

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Tags: dining, Eastern Townships, Food, hotels, Quebec, Travel, wine

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