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Circuit du Paysan next weekend

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OliverB Sep 19, 2011 05:59 AM

I'm planning a day drive along the Circuit du Paysan next weekend and would like to get some info on the best food/wine/produce destinations to visit, since we'll surely not have time to tour them all.

Does anyone know whether most of the 'u-pick' orchards, wineries, charcuteries, cheese makers, artisanal shops, and farms, are open on Sundays?

I've just discovered the http://www.circuitdupaysan.com/ website and filled out the form to 'order' a map. I still don't understand whether it will be mailed out free-of-charge (QC tourist board funded perhaps?) or I will be contacted for further details, as I was simply asked my shipping info and nothing more. Eitherway, I hope it'll be received before the end of the week.

I've mapped out all of the seemingly interesting food stops along the route, and came up with the list below. As we will not be visiting 15 different cideries and orchards, I'm hoping some of you can help me narrow down the list from "must visit" to extended destinations, in order to sample not only the best of the region, but also the most interesting and unique that the route has to offer. Ie. the best orchards for varieties of pickings, fresh juices and ciders, exceptional produce, etc.

Some of the following spots may not apply as, for instance, berries are now out of season...

I would like to load a couple of large Coleman's into the trunk, and stock up on the best fresh baked goods, hand picked fruits, ciders and local wines, farmed meats and cheeses, etc; as well as visit interesting shops, pâtisserie and places to sample on location. Would also like suggestions for a picnic lunch en route, with local products and ingredients purchased along the way.

Here's what I've managed to compile with the help of Google and the above linked site (c/p from notepad reference file):

• Charcuterie Frick

• Marché des Jardiniers

• Route des Bleuets du Sud-Ouest - [Bleuetière Au Fin Délice, Bleuetière L & L, Bleuetière La Planète Bleue, Bleuetière 2800, Bleuetière Machabée, Bleuetière et Verger Benoit et Mario Faille, Bleuetière Sylvie Rémillard, Bleuetière Ivanhoë Faille, Érablière et Bleuetière Mario et Nathalie, Bleuetière St-Bernard, Chocolaterie Ody Au Domaine des Petits Fruits - END OF SEASON

• Vignoble du Domaine St-Jacques

• Fromagerie le Métayer

• Pâtisserie Chez Hoffmann

• Vignoble le Royer St-Pierre

• Vignoble Morou

• Les Fraises Louis Hébert - END OF SEASON

• Boulangerie Chez Tartine

• Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser

• Vignoble Angell

• Cidrerie du Minot

• D'Antan Magasin Général

• La Face Cachée de la Pomme

• Vergers Petch Orchards

• Vergers Écologiques Philion

• Domaine des Salamandres

• Boucherie Viau

• Vignoble le Marathonien

• Brasserie Saint-Antoine-Abbé

• Cidrerie Rockburn

• Les Vergers Franklin

• Verger Biologique Maniadakis

• Cidrerie La Pommeraie du Suroît

• Stevenson Orchards

• Les Vergers Blair

• Vignoble J.O. Montpetit & Fils

• Aux 3 Chocolats

• Fromagerie Ruban Bleu

How realistic would it be to expect to visit a good portion of the above sites in a single day, if setting off early morning? Visiting fifteen different cideries might be considered a tad superfluous, so is there anything listed above that would strike you as inessential and expendable? I'm equally interested in exploring the small townships, countrysides, landscapes, etc. and would include 100 year old historic farms and other staples of the region, even if they are not necessarily the foremost producers in the area, or aren't especially peerless in their offerings compared to other specialty producers nearby. Anyone who has done this route in recent years, your feedback would be much appreciated!

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    unlaced RE: OliverB Sep 19, 2011 07:31 AM

    I have a copy of the map that they will send you - I will have a look tonight and let you know which of your choices are closed on Sundays. I know Boucherie Viau are closed - I was in the area on Sunday and was hoping to visit, but I had called beforehand and confirmed they were closed. Next time!

    3 Replies
    1. re: unlaced
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      OliverB RE: unlaced Sep 19, 2011 07:40 AM

      Thanks so much, I appreciate it!

      Though if many of the places will be closed, I'll adjust the plan to Saturday instead. I was even considering an overnight at Manoir Rouville-Campbell nearby.

      Did you do the cidre route and if so, which producers did you enjoy visiting the most?

      Also, could you please tell me if the map was free? I'm curious to know if it will show up in post or if I'll have to purchase. Did you get it fromt he website as well, or pick it up along the way?

      1. re: OliverB
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        unlaced RE: OliverB Sep 19, 2011 08:35 AM

        Yes, the map was free, I just picked it up on our first stop (Ciderie du Minot)

        We only visited Ciderie du Minot and the Vergers Écologiques Philion. We had a voucher for a tasting at Ciderie du Minot so I am not sure if you normally have to pay or not (perhaps they waive the cost if you buy something?). The lady giving the tasting was good, and happy to speak in English for us. You taste their whole range (between 8-10 samples, if I recall), and the pours were generous. I really liked it and would definitely recommend.

        At Philion we tried the apple ice wine and the pear ice wine (both very good, particularly the pear, which I had never tried before) but the focus there seems to be more on the apple picking.

        1. re: unlaced
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          Daiya RE: unlaced Sep 19, 2011 09:06 AM

          There were (free) maps at Le Marché des Saveurs du Québec (Jean-Talon) a few weeks ago. Maybe they still have them?

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      OliverB RE: OliverB Sep 19, 2011 09:33 AM

      Thanks for the info!

      All the wineries/cideries look so good, that I'd like to try and visit as many as possible. I guess if les Saveurs is giving away the free maps, I'll probably find one in my mailbox before the end of the week. If not, I'll stop off and pick up a copy before leaving.

      Does anyone know what the best orchards are for specialty varieties and on-site bake shops? Or which are the most fun and scenic to pick?

      1. porker RE: OliverB Sep 19, 2011 09:38 AM

        A highlight of your list, IMO, is Fritz Kaiser. Frick is also quite good.
        Boucherie Viau is good, but nothing extraordinary. They're a strong countryside butcher and fun to visit (I used to get whole hogs here), but I wouldn't change plans based solely on them.
        The Circuit de Paysan is almost wholly west of the 15. Just FYI, east of the 15, you can find the just-as-interesting Route Des Vins
        http://www.laroutedesvins.ca/en/index...
        for perhaps another weekend outing.

        6 Replies
        1. re: porker
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          OliverB RE: porker Sep 19, 2011 10:17 AM

          Thanks porker; Fritz and Frick are definitely on the must stop list!

          I didn't realize we had a Route des Vins... I think I'll save that for an October weekend!

          Interesting to see the list of vineyards here:
          http://www.laroutedesvins.ca/en/vigno...

          There are dozens of cideries and local wine makers along the Circuit du Paysan as well. I'd like to try and visit Domaine St-Jacques, Vignoble Morou, Cidrerie du Minot, La Face Cachée de la Pomme (their winter snow days look like a blast!), Domaine des Salamandres, Cidrerie Rockburn and Cidrerie La Pommeraie du Suroît. A number of the small orchards also produce their own ciders apparently.

          I'm going to leave early in the morning and try to visit as many of these stops along the way as possible! And will definitely be leaving Saturday rather than Sunday as many appear to be closed, according to what I've found online.

          1. re: OliverB
            porker RE: OliverB Sep 19, 2011 12:35 PM

            Yeah, the Route des Vins is certainly interesting and fun....as long as you don't have visions of a Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino Sideways trip!
            Some of the wines are OK/mediocre, some are downright nasty, but I feel this should be secondary, or perhaps a bonus, to a great ride in the country seeing new stuff.

            Besides regular ciders, some orchards produce ice cider or apple icewine. Many local vineyards also do ice wines, again some good, others not so much.

            1. re: porker
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              OliverB RE: porker Sep 19, 2011 03:36 PM

              I'm guessing that most of the 'vignobles' along the Paysan route are probably producing apple/fruit icewine, which is really the only thing that the region does quite well. I can't say I'm a huge fan and don't often find myself drinking the stuff, but I'm sure I would appreciate it when visiting the local makers and walking through the orchards. Doubt I'll be leaving with many bottles, but I would like to visit the better producers for tastings. I'll be in the Sonoma/Nappa wine valleys in January for the real deal!

          2. re: porker
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            finefoodie55 RE: porker Sep 29, 2011 12:51 PM

            Where do you get better bacon than Viau's extra smoked. Its been my reference for over a decade. Viau's is the only one of two establishments in Quebec that are still licenced to "Open Pit" smoking with Maple. Also to be noted is his extra smoked angus Smoked Meat and his 60 day aged Porterhouse Steak. I think you might spend too much time on the other side (Left hand side) of the shop buying weight.

            1. re: finefoodie55
              porker RE: finefoodie55 Sep 29, 2011 05:51 PM

              I used to deal with Viau on a weekly basis (for fresh meats) so I know their quality. I don't have experience with most other products, so you're probably right on all counts.

              1. re: finefoodie55
                hala RE: finefoodie55 Oct 7, 2011 08:38 AM

                What is the other establishment that can "open pit" smoke with maple?

            2. TheSnowpea RE: OliverB Sep 29, 2011 05:14 PM

              I look forward to reading your notes from that trip!

              4 Replies
              1. re: TheSnowpea
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                OliverB RE: TheSnowpea Sep 29, 2011 05:28 PM

                I've actually postponed until next weekend when (I think) the apple picking and produce will be riper and ready. I'll report back though. Btw, the map arrived free of charge, as expected, in my mailbox about 4 days later.

                1. re: OliverB
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                  chickenbruiser RE: OliverB Sep 29, 2011 06:22 PM

                  My experience in the rougemont area is late-sept for the best quality for actual picking. You'll still have lots to pick from anyhoo just alot higher up in the trees and more rejects. It being thanksgiving weekend... not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
                  They probably will be riper next week but not sure what the lack of cold nights will have on the taste.

                  1. re: OliverB
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                    unlaced RE: OliverB Oct 5, 2011 11:03 AM

                    Did you end up going on the Circuit last weekend OliverB? What did you think? Any highlights?

                    1. re: unlaced
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                      OliverB RE: unlaced Oct 6, 2011 04:40 AM

                      It rained hard all last weekend... I'm going on Saturday instead and will report back!

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