Do you pronounce Canada’s favourite dish “pou-tin” or “poo-teen”? Well, that depends on where you are and who you are talking to.
In the heart of poutine country in Quebec and New Brunswick, francophones vote “pou-tin” all the way. Outside of those provinces, it’s straight anglo with “pou-tine”.
Either way you slice it, poutine is the best thing to happen to potatoes since, well, cheese curds and gravy! And with National Poutine Day coming up on April 11, we ask you:
Eat in? Or take out?
Coming out of mid-century Quebec, poutine’s true origin is not confirmed. One story from 1950’s Warwick, Quebec has a restaurant customer ask for fries, cheese, and gravy. To which the owner proclaimed, “Ça va faire une maudite poutine,” or, “That’s going to make a dreadful mess.”
Indeed. Poutine is a hot mess of the very best kind. What makes it so good?
Squeaky cheese curds are the benchmark for the very best traditional poutine. You’ll only hear the squeak when the curds are very fresh, and some curd-experts insist that a curd must be eaten before it spends even one night in a fridge. However, although not as noticeable after refrigeration, the squeak will usually last a day or two before it finally dissipates. If you want the squeak, your best bet is to stop at our Cheese Shop in Courtenay (635 McPhee) around 1:30 on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll be able to pick up a bag still warm from the vat. The taste, texture and shape also make it the perfect snacking cheese, as you can eat it straight from the bag like popcorn. We have customers who pick up two bags when they come to the shop on Wednesdays – one for making poutine, and one for the drive home.
Some gravies are lighter and chicken stock based, while others are dark and beefy. We prefer our gravy somewhere in the middle. For that, we look to French-Canadian and tv host, Ricardo. His recipe uses a 2/3 blend of both chicken and beef, which we think is the perfect balance.
We like our fries thick, hand-cut, and twice fried. The fries have to be heavily crispy to stand up to hot gravy, and will provide the best textural contrast in a meal with only three star ingredients.
From Vancouver BC, to St. John’s, NL you can find poutine in menus across the nation. When it comes to eat in vs take out, we like mastering the ingredients and preparing the best poutine at home. While there are countless recipes for it’s preparation, we like Ricardo’s recipe for Brown Gravy Sauce for Poutine.