After a brief tour of Quebec City yesterday, we walked along the Quartier du Petit Champlain, taking in the European feel of the narrow streets. There is something about the aura that feels homey and warm despite the bitter cold (it’s currently 5 degrees Fahrenheit). I can’t put those feelings into words just yet – more exploration is needed – but I’ll have photos and some insight coming your way soon enough (remind me to tell you about another writer’s theory on the cold and ozone).
I will say this about the cold: It makes going inside unbelievably amazing, the blast of warm air and your brain’s appreciation for a more reasonable temperature. There’s a romance about coming through the door, unwinding the scarf and removing the tuque. Shedding layers, my body’s natural reaction is to smile, and sitting down at a table and grasping a hot cup becomes, in that moment, everything I need.
My hiking books apparently weren’t meant for snow, and I was more than happy to stop and pop into a few shops along the way:
Chez Ashton: I had never heard of poutine, but apparently it is a staple of Quebec City. French fries with cheese curds and brown gravy – I think comfort food would be an understatement – and it was no surprise to hear that it’s popular amongst young professionals in the early-morning hours. A tip I picked up: The cheese curds must be squeaky. I also heard they make foie gras poutine in some parts of Canada, which seems like a crime.
La Fudgerie: Sea salt with caramel and creme brulee were my two favorite flavors of fudge, and the cocoa was more like melted chocolate than hot chocolate. Au revoir boring cardboard boxes – have a fudge sausage on hand for your next party. This place is a must for both locals and tourists wandering the streets of the Quartier du Petit Champlain – nothing like a belly full of chocolate to combat the cold.