One of the best things we did last fall in Quebec City was to take a food tour of the Saint-Roch area. It is a short walk from the touristy part of the city, overrun with visitors who pour out of buses and cruise ships and take over the old French Canadian city.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved exploring of the historic part of Quebec City, learning about the mix and mingling of First Nation, French and English cultures and the important military events. But it felt a bit like Disneyland, much of it re-created for tourists like us. (SEE blog post titled Quebec City Full of Surprises for more about the historic part of the city.)
The food tour was in an area populated with folks who live and work in Quebec City full time, considered to be one of Quebec City’s trendiest neighborhoods. Once home to navel and blue collar workers, it became quite downtrodden in the 1960s, but started to revive in the 1990s. Now the boutiques, bars, cafes and offices are packed with students, immigrants, artists and young professionals.
I liked the mix of architecture and creative approaches outdoor seating.
Once an empty dirt lot, the Jardin Saint-Roch has become a symbol for the ongoing revolution in the area. It stimulated business to come into the area and set up in the old warehouses and factories, converting them to creative environments.
On the food tour, we visited six different sites, tasting typical foods of the area along with the trendy. I enjoyed them and also getting to know the neighborhood. Here are some of the foods we enjoyed.
Before joining the food tour group, we popped into the oldest grocery store in North America. Walking into J. A Moisan felt like a trip to France. Absolutely charming. The perfect thing to do when you are tired of museums, but want to go back in time. Eestablished in 1871, its goal has always been to offer gourmet foods to the neighborhood.
I also loved seeing the The church Elise Saint-Jean Baptiste, the biggest church in Quebec City built in 1882 replacing a church burned down in a fire. While we didn’t get to go inside on the food tour, we did make note of a large refrigerator set up outside the church where people put food to share with those who have none.
Our food tour was offered by Quebec City Food Tours. Taking this tour was a tasty way to explore the neighborhood.