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Fetes Gourmandes de Laval 2011

Anybody went this year? How was it?

Last year's review and the pricing scheme this year turned me off.

Last year's thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/724735

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  1. Heard it wasn't that great...glad I didn't go.

    1. I started last year's thread and was hoping another CH'er went this year to provide a review!

      1. I contributed to last year's thread. I was not the least bit interested or curious about the Fetes "Gourmandes" this year.
        Last year's pricing scheme could be described as wanton ludicrous. Just curious, what was this year's scheme (appropriate term BTW).

        2 Replies
        1. re: porker

          I went and it was a ripoff, total disappointment.

          Entrance was 8$ and tasting varied from about 2$ up to 6-8$ each (most were near 6$), incredibly pricy (for little food). Food was uninteresting, did not find anything special to eat there and what I ate was either bland or meh. They also had booths completely unrelated to food (shirts, art pieces, québec loisir, newspaper, radio, etc.), did not make much sense. I will not return in the future.

        2. When I first heard Fetes Gourmandes was going to be in Laval, that raised a huge red flag for me. In the past I've been to various events in Laval and they all sucked. So I'm glad to hear I didn't miss much this year.

          Why in the world is this festival in Laval??? It's not the most convenient location to get to if you don't own a car.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Kitchen Vixxen

            As a Lavallois I feel the need to point out a few facts. First you should know that Laval is the third largest city in the province and fourteenth in Canada. Second, the official name of the festival is Les Fêtes Gourmandes Internationales de Laval. Lastly, the site this year was walking distance from Montmorency metro. Not that I think it was a bad idea to miss this event as clearly it was not worth the drive for you.

            1. re: nextguy

              @nextguy : well said!

              @Kitchen Vixxen : as nextguy mentionned, it's "Les Fêtes Gourmandes Internationales de Laval", so of course it's gonna be in Laval (as it was last year for the first edition). As for your Laval "hate", I would ask to please refrain from it on these boards.

              1. re: Werzoth

                I don't think he was intentionally dissing Laval. I have lived in Laval my whole life and understand why Montrealers sometimes roll their eyes when people suggest coming here to eat. The public transportation system isn't great because the buses don't run as often and you can be sitting somewhere for an hour before the next one comes. and the traffic lights...Lord the lights always seem to be red...BUT...the same people also seem to feel that way about St Laurent ( cote vertu metro area) or the east end...I think they just like very close by Montreal.

                Laval has a large Greek population and more recently a huge Arabic/ Lebanese/ middle eastern whatever the politically correct term is....and the food is amazing! I have had many amazing culinary experiences here with newer Indian/ Pakistani restaurants and even a small Moroccan place that opened up recently. The list goes on because the city is growing. So yes it's a bit further away but if you have a car it's totally worth it...by bus maybe not. I wouldn't even go into further parts of Laval by bus because of complications and I live here already!

                Another thing is the parking. We have lots of room for that and it's free :o)

                1. re: humbert

                  I'm feeling peckish tonight, so why not...
                  K V might not have been intentionally dissing Laval, true, but "I've been to various events in Laval and they all sucked" seems somewhat harsh. It could have been left out of the post without wholly changing the content, but I'm just sayin.
                  With that said...
                  I was at the festival last year. It was in Laval. It sucked.
                  It could have been in New York, Paris, or Riviere-Trois-Pistoles for that matter, if it had the same content, it would suck.

                  1. re: porker

                    In this case, its event related that it sucked, not location related.

                    On top of it, the promoter of the event went bankrupt a few weeks before the event(due to high financial loss incured at the rodeo rock&bull at parc jarry) and it was saved at the last minute by an artist agent, so no high expectations there to be had

                  2. re: humbert

                    Has nothing to do with the transportation system though, so the car comment made no sense at all. You just take the metro and walk 10 minutes, just like any other station in Montreal (for the event I meant).

                    @humbert : free parking sure is fun, saves a ton of headaches! I agree about the bus system though, I used to take it a lot and they do need more service (they've been making progress though). As for the food, you're right, we're slowly getting better and better restaurants.

                    1. re: Werzoth

                      I don't want to turn this thread into a Laval specific one, but KV's post really got to me. It reminds of a Torontonian that sees Toronto as the center of the world. Or in this case a Montrealer that bashes anything that isn't in Montreal. Montreal has some very good restaurants but some of the best meals I have ever had in the greater Montreal area have been off island.

                    2. re: humbert

                      Which Moroccan restaurant are you referring to, Humbert?

                      1. re: hungryann

                        I am looking at the little flyer i got from there...doesn't seem to be a name other than "Cuisine Marocaine' located 1631 Cure Labelle (near the A&W). I have had couscous with sausages and veggies, the lamb and a strangely sweet big meat pancake thing....all very authentic and delicious, but i only had take out since the place is small almost too small to be a restaurant really. I wanted to try the fish dishes but they were sold out :o(. Interesting little place and there is a Lebanese style butcher shop with plenty of marinated meats right next to it if you are in the area.

                2. re: Kitchen Vixxen

                  I wont get too much into it, but i must add:
                  Sometimes, it's not about attracting every single person that lives in Montreal, sometimes it's about a city wanting to have a event of it's own. A lot of Lavalois and people living even further up north like to go to festivals too, and don't want to go all the way to Montreal to see something =P

                3. Kitchen Vixxen may have come across a little harsh but she expressed what I'm sure a lot of people were thinking. I suspect the location is one of the reasons why
                  foodies weren't flocking to the festival in droves the last two years. My friends and I decided against going to the festival because it would have taken us almost 2 hrs to get to Laval with public transit.

                  Also let's face it: Laval isn't exactly a major culinary destination so moving the Gourmand festival from Montreal to Laval was sort of a downgrade and probably a way for organizers to save some money. We figured that if they're trying to save money, then the festival probably wouldn't be good as it was in previous years. I see we were right.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: AdventurousEater

                    Montreal has plenty of foodie events. Is this really a replacement or moved festival or a new instance of one?

                    And i still disagree, i can get some great food in Laval, just that most of the regulars on this board seem to frequent the Plateau, thus it gets more internet visibility on here. There are some neighbourhoods or cities surrounding Montreal that get little to no posts here, it doesn't mean that they don't have some spectacular foodie venues.

                    1. re: AdventurousEater

                      It takes 18-20 minutes from Berri-Uquam to Montmonrecy station, then 7-10 minutes by walk. I really don't see the problem.

                      1. re: Werzoth

                        Not everyone lives in the downtown core. For those in the West Island, the long ride on the 211 would be enough of a turn-off for many potential customers.

                        1. re: davekry

                          I'd need to know exactly where you live then, to check what bus and metro is next to you.

                          I mentioned downtown because that's pretty much where the festival would have been in Montreal (old Montreal).

                          1. re: davekry

                            If you live in the West Island and you don't have a car, then any destination not reached by the Deux-Montagne line is a turnoff

                            PS: i live in VSL.

                        2. re: AdventurousEater

                          Sounds like the chicken or the egg first question - do people stay away because of its distance or because it sucks.
                          Laval is a bit of a trek for me. I use my car, so its not the end of the world, but I wouldn't travel there to shop, I may travel to eat if I heard of something unique or outstanding.
                          Last year's fetes gourmandes was a big enough draw that I didn't even blink when deciding to go. As I mentioned, I was disappointed to say the least. It could now be in my neighbour's backyard and I still wouldn't go.
                          So I don't think Laval has as much to do with it ("culturally" or distance-wise) as it's suck factor.

                          1. re: porker

                            Hmm i feel like some people are missing the point.

                            Ok, so yes being in Montreal would perhaps have a larger bassin of population. But it would cost more and then... well it would be in Montreal.

                            Does this mean that every single festival in this region should be in Montreal to take into consideration the people who don't own a car? Well that hardly gives a chance to the other cities around, trying to have a little "tourism" or life in their community.

                            Its not about having a festival in the most dense populated area. In any case, doing it off shore makes it less expensive to host and you need less people to be profitable. Laval had festivals in the past, before the coming of the metros. Some of you who didn't live there might not be aware because you weren't the target demographic. They were highly successful! There are a lot of people in Laval. Don't believe me? Come have a hard time parking at the Carrefour Laval on Saturday...

                            Now back to the subject.
                            Actually i do not know if this year's Fetes Gourmandes was a flop. Only one person on this thread seems to have actually gone. My friend says it was great but i think her standards are lower then mine... They did change the venue to a paved parking lot (solving the issue of dust last year)
                            So was the place empty?
                            Or was the selection just disappointing?
                            The pricing scheme is what turned me off this year.... I assume that is what turned many people off. If entry were free it would have invited a lot more people in.

                            1. re: SourberryLily

                              it's not as if people in laval don't have cars. try taking the 13 to laval at 4pm

                              laval is a densely populated area - it is the 3rd largest city in quebec. obviously they will have their own events and obviously these events make money or they wouldnt happen

                              the end

                              1. re: SourberryLily

                                @SourberryLily : Good post! Pricing was the main issue for me when I went there, food was just "ok". There was a lot of people though, so I think they did have a lot of visitors.

                                1. re: Werzoth

                                  Hmm interesting.

                                  Well maybe some marketing person from the festival will read his thread and things will improve next year. With google alerts, it happens more and more :)

                          2. My friends and I live in the West Island and the transit system in our area is slow, especially on the weekends. So it would take us quite a long time for us to get to Laval.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: AdventurousEater

                              But if you had friends who went and had a fantastic time, would you make the effort?

                            2. Maybe if there was a shuttlebus to pick me up from the West Island or a metro to
                              take me to the festival I would consider it.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: AdventurousEater

                                Sorry I don't get your argument. Is it quicker for you to go to Montreal than it is to Laval? Again, the festival site was a 5 minute walk from Montmorency metro. If they held the festival in Montreal it probably would have been in Parc Jean Drapeau.

                                1. re: nextguy

                                  Or Place Bonaventure...... =P Anyways, there is already the Internationnal Fest. in Parc Jean-Drapeau for food offerings.

                                  1. re: SourberryLily

                                    Well yeah, but my point is that now a bunch of West Islanders are saying that Laval is too far... but the festival sites in Montreal aren't exacly next door to them either. Kitchen Vixen started this argument and curiously she is nowhere to be seen on this thread now.