Poutine galore: 7+ festivals for Ottawa cheese-curd-and-fries lovers


Flickr/Creative Commons photo of poutine by Yuri Long.

Okay, I’ll just put this out there and wait for the flying cheese curds and gravy to come my way: I’m not a big poutine fan.

I must be in the minority in my dislike, though, because more and more festivals are devoted to what more and more people are deeming Canada’s National Dish. (Hey, whatever happened to maple syrup, Nanaimo bars and butter tarts?)

The sticky dish of fries, cheese curds and gravy has become insanely popular over a relatively short period of time. Several Quebec establishments have claimed credit for inventing it in the 1950s or the 1960s, including restaurants in Warwick, Drummondville and Princeville. Since then, it has spread far and wide; in the U.S. Northeast, it is still sometimes known as “disco fries”; in at least one Vietnam restaurant, they top it with kimchi and pulled pork.

If fries, cheese curds and gravy are your thing, here’s the scoop on some places within a day’s drive of Ottawa where you can get your fix. I’m particularly curious about the festival in Manchester, which has a large and proud population of Franco-Americans. Sudbury’s festival is brand new. And two big festivals in Ottawa are happening on consecutive weekends; is it possible to get too much of a greasy good thing?

Did I miss your favourite fest? Let me know in the comments!

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