Recently I went on my first real adventure through The Laurentians. When I say real, I mean, I once or twice visited Tremblant as a young kid for ski trips, but never as an adult, and never when I could truly appreciate all this region had to offer.
The Laurentians are located in southern Quebec (Canada) and begin only about an hour away from the city of Montreal. They consist of rolling mountains, beautiful blue lakes and rivers and some of the cutest villages you’ll ever lay your eyes on.
Outside of Mount Tremblant, which is more commercialized than other parts of the Laurentians, I didn’t know much else about this region, and what I definitely didn’t know was the yummy food treasures that are hidden among the sprawling greenery and jaw dropping views.
After visiting Tremblant Gourmand in Mount Tremblant, a foodie festival like no other, I was headed off to stuff my belly even fuller with the tastes of the Laurentians. The first stop of my day was Bois de Belle-Rivière, a regional park located in Mirabel. Although this park is an excellent place for people of all ages, what we were coming for was to celebrate one of Canada’s most prized possessions, maple syrup. The park is home to both an old and new sugar shack where you can learn about the production process of maple syrup.
When we were visiting, the second annual celebration of maple was taking place, Mirabel Fête l’Érable du Québec. Foodies gathered to visit food vendors who had set up stalls celebrating products of the Laurentians and in particular, products that incorporate maple syrup. The festival also had several chefs on site who were creating gourmet samples for us throughout the day. (Stay tuned for more on this festival coming in the next few months)
Although the maple celebration at Bois de Belle-Rivière was great (and yummy), I realize it only takes place one weekend a year, so let’s move on to the next stop, Serres Stéphane Bertrand, a local tomato farm in Mirabel. This farm is located about 50 minutes from Mount Tremblant, and 1.5 hours from Montreal and produces about 20 tonnes worth of tomatoes a day and four million kilos a year. We had the special opportunity to tour the greenhouses that all the tomatoes are grown in and it was incredibly impressive! If you’re anything like me, I don’t really think about how farms mass produce our food (in an organic way), so it was really interesting to see behind the scenes.
We also had lunch at Serres Stéphane Bertrand. They have great sandwiches, soup and salad to go or to eat in their little rustic dining area. Although all the food was simple, it was delicious and fresh (very fresh).
Next we headed off to Intermiel. Although you can find their products in different places throughout Quebec, actually visiting Intermiel in Mirabel is such a fun and educational experience for both adults and children. Intermiel is a producer of honey, and has over 100,000 visitors a year, 15,000 of those being kids between April and November. They have 10,000 beehives that they move around to different areas of Quebec and while visiting you’ll get to learn all about how honey is made in an interactive experience. You’ll even get the opportunity to open a beehive with an experienced beekeeper (yes, that means dressing up in the white suit like in the movies).
But Intermiel doesn’t just offer an educational experience in terms of learning about the honey making process, they also have several areas for you to pack a picnic for the day, you can sample some of their alcoholic beverages like mead, and they even have a petting zoo!
After our sweet (pun intended) visit at Intermiel, off we went to try some local wines at La Roche des Brises in St-Joseph-du-Lac, which is only about a 7 minutes drive from Intermiel. This vineyard has about 35,000 grape vines, incredible views, and produces a mix of red, white, ports, and ice wines, many of which are award-winning. You can visit the tasting room to try (and purchase) all of their wines or schedule a guided tour of the vineyard.
The last stop of our foodie road trip was to Verger Lafrance which is a cider house, boutique and orchard located a short drive from the winery. Apple picking at the orchard takes place every fall, and you can also visit the sampling bar inside where you can try some of the different ciders and alcoholic beverages they make with their apples.
Overall our food adventure of the Laurentians was full of surprises. Many of the places we stopped at I would never know existed as a tourist, but are definitely a fun, off-the-beaten-path activity if you have a car. So if you’re looking for an adventure that will have you trying and supporting local food producers, this is definitely an adventure for you!
Disclaimer: I visited The Laurentians with the help of the Quebec and The Laurentians Tourism Boards. I only recommend things that I enjoyed, and think other travellers would also enjoy. All opinions in this piece are my own and 110% honest.