What's Cooking In... Canada

By Sandra Scott
This item appears on page 48 of the January 2016 issue.
Tourtière served with a baked potato and a squash/zucchini medley. Photos by Sandra Scott

In October 2015 I was able to check off one of the adventures on my bucket list: to travel through the waterways and canals of the northeastern US and southeastern Canada.

Used by Native Americans, explorers, settlers and armies, the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes were key to the development of the Canadian provinces of Québec and Ontario as well as New York state and the interior of the United States. 

I was excited when I learned about the “Locks, Legends & Canals” cruise offered by Blount Small Ship Adventures (Warren, RI; 800/556-7450, www.blountsmallshipadventures.com). The 2-week cruise, sailing all the way from Montreal to New York City — on the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the New York State Canal System and the Hudson River — was a dream come true.

Blount often has special offers. The listed price for this cruise started at $4,399 per person, double occupancy, but, with a special offer of 40% off, the fare was $2,640 each, making it a great value, considering that some of the shore trips were included. My husband, John, and I signed right up.

We would sail on the Grande Caribe, a purpose-built vessel designed to make it through the narrow and shallow waters of canals. 

Meat mixture being pressed into the pie shell.

Even though John and I boarded the Grande Caribe in Montreal, our first port of call was Québec, then the ship returned to Montreal and continued through the St. Lawrence Seaway on its way to New York City. 

Each day, the dinner menu was posted offering a choice of entrées. After taking a morning tour of Québec that included a side trip to Montmorency Falls, I returned to the ship and noticed that one of the entrée choices was French-Canadian Tourtière, a meat pie. I asked Chef William Pannoni if he would show me how to make it. He was quick to agree.

Tourtière originated in the province of Québec as early as the 1600s. While it is enjoyed anytime of the year, it is a traditional part of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations there.    

Sandra Scott can be reached by email c/o ITN.