Canada 150 post: Oyster mushroom in Charlevoix

An oyster mushroom at Champignons Charlevoix in La Malbaie, Quebec.

An oyster mushroom at Champignons Charlevoix in La Malbaie, Quebec.

So you might wonder why I’m posting a photo of a mushroom as part of my Canada 150 series. Many of the other photos so far have been landscapes or landmarks—the places we travel to see.

However, food is also a big part of why we travel, and if you love good food, Charlevoix—a sweeping rural region just east of Quebec City, hugging the north shore of the St. Lawrence—is an amazing destination.

I took this photo at Champignons Charlevoix in La Malbaie, where Danielle Ricard and Jean-Pierre Lavoie grow oyster mushrooms organically in a substrate of wood chips designed to mimic the woodsy spots where oyster mushrooms naturally grow. They’re delicious, and you’ll find them featured prominently on menus throughout Charlevoix. (I bought some bottled ones which made a great crostini topping back home.)

Another eco-friendly food producer, Laiterie Charlevoix, powers its operations with methane from its herd of cows and cleans its recycled water before releasing it into the La Mare River. And did you know that there’s a breed of cow called the Canadienne? Brought over from France in the 1600s and re-introduced in Charlevoix in 2007, these cows produce the milk used in the dairy’s Le 1608 hard cheese, also ubiquitous on local menus and very tasty.

The region is home to another excellent cheese maker, Fromagerie St-Fidèle (which the GPS in my car insisted on pronouncing “Saint Fiddle,” to my endless amusement). Again, you’ll see it featured everyewhere.

Businesses across Charlevoix enthusiastically promote local products. At my B&B, Manoir Hortensia in Saint-Irénée, my co-host Mario Tessier readily explained the origins of everything from the cretons to the muffins. (The view of the St. Lawrence from the B&B’s breakfast room makes the excellent food taste even better.)

During Canada’s 150th birthday, I’ve found myself reflecting gratefully on all the amazing things this country has to offer. Our farmers and chefs rank pretty high on that list for me.

Disclosure: I travelled to Charlevoix courtesy of Tourism Charlevoix, which neither reviewed nor approved this post.

Throughout July and August 2017, I’ll be posting one photo a day that I’ve taken somewhere across Canada, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Want to see more photos in this series? Click the “Canada 150 photo” text in bold near the top of this post.

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