critics, Food, gastronomy, PEI, Quebec, Restaurant, wines
Lately I have been watching on Instagram various people visiting and tasting food. One is Francois Simon who devotes all his posting on Instagram to food, restaurants and dining in France, in Morocco, lately in Abu Dhabi in fine restaurants and hotels. He is a well known award winning author and critic on gastronomy. He makes a few observations on the food, the philosophy of fine dining, service and atmosphere. It is very European in its approach and you see how very different North America is in comparison to Europe when it comes to food culture and dining. It is a way of life and a philosophy appreciating the ingredients and how they are prepared but also the Chefs and their craft, getting to know them and their own views on food culture.
The other site on Instagram is about wines and how to appreciate them, Les Secrets des Bouteilles this fellow, Eric knows his stuff and the presentation is interesting, he does it as a conversation between himself and his off camera son, Hugo and us the public watching. Both are Sommelier with 30+ years of experience. Another one is Le Canon Francais, they drink and eat fine French Food and part of their proceeds go to protect French Heritage and restore Chateau like Fontainbleau, this is a very French site and even I would feel a bit out of it with such a crowd.
There is another fellow on YouTube called Lussier L’Affineur, he has a cheese cellar and his talks on cheese are nothing short of amazing with the detail and what to look for. Today I watch him how he described 6 sorts of Raclette cheese depending on the region it is made in. Another one was about Camembert at 1.50 Euros and one at 10 Euros, these are French prices, but all to say that if you look for quality you will buy the 10 Euros Cheese and he explains why you should.
On YouTube there are lots of French language sites on Wine and their age, what to look for in the colour of the wine if it is red to determine if it is young or older. White wine can tell you by their colour what type of grapes are used, etc. Some sites will only recommend the great names in wine and the idea behind this is to say, if you drink wine at a meal, you must have the best. In such cases the expert will name wines by regions of France and a meal can easily have 3 types of wines both red and white depending on the dishes being presented/served. Not to forget a Champagne not just for special occasions, but simply because it is the best option with certain foods. Well if you can do the 3 martini lunch why not, enjoy. Do remember that any wine expert will tell you to stay away from strong liquor prior to a good meal. You can have a Campari soda, or a Pimm’s or a sherry or sweet vermouth instead.
I learned the other day something I had been suspecting for some time that restaurants in PEI do not have a wine cooler or special room for keeping wines. Lots of box wines on the menu and wines in the lower price range which could be seen as house wines. In the white wines Pinot Grigio is always featured, in the red there will be wines from South America and USA but they tend to be in the affordable range at the Liquor store, nothing special. One chef told me that he found the wines have a sour taste or moldy taste, the reason being poorly kept in less than optimum conditions, most people do not know since this is a beer drinking island. Which is a real shame, given how tourism is suppose to be so important to the Island, you would think that restaurant owners would be more careful, not the case. What we need in PEI is a professional critic who will survey restaurants and write truthful and accurate food/restaurant reviews. That brave person will make a lot of enemies for sure. What I find sad it that because many think of PEI as a vacation style resort, the mentality is that there is no need to offer anything out of the ordinary. This does not mean that food is cheap in restaurants or snack bars, you pay big city prices. In the Summer a Lobster roll which is served on a hotdog bun of varying quality starts at $22. which is not cheap.
When I mentioned to someone how I found the food on Les Iles de la Madeleine which sits 5 hours from us by boat in the middle of the Gulf of St-Lawrence of very high quality and prepared with much imagination and attention to details, the person pointed out to me that the clientele who go to Les Iles go for the gastronomy and the vast majority are French speaking Canadians looking for that sort of experience. Again it is a matter of culture and the eternal difference between French and English in Canada. I doubt PEI will ever come close to what you see in Quebec or New Brunswick because of the Acadian culture when it comes to food.
Le Cinq, Paris