Here, local products are kings. The unique signature of our local products come from both our natural pantries, the land and the sea. The following are specialties of the Islands that you will get to taste during our stay.
This shellfish is without question an emblem of the archipelago. Lobster fishing mostly started with the first waves of Scottish immigrants who were skilled fishermen. Since then, our Island lobster has been celebrated for its delicacy and excellence. A "jewel" at the very heart of the archipelago's identity and local economy, lobster has become a gourmet must.
Whether talking about the grey or Greenland seal, this mammal has been inextricably linked to the colonization of the Magdalen Islands. Long hunted for their skin and oil, seals are now appreciated from nose to tail including their meat. Indeed, archipelago's chefs have become masters in the art of preparing this unique delicacy.
This tiny red berry grows naturally along the archipelago's dune environments. Rocked by a gentle breeze, its small wild bushes delight both pickers and strollers. On the Islands, these "meadow apples" are also known as berries, airelles and cranberries. Keep a watchful eye since they are to be found all over!
In ancient times, when La Grave acted as the archipelago's economic hub, smoking or "boucanage" provided an effective and essential means of preserving and exporting fish to market. While smokehouses are now less ubiquitous all over the Islands, smoked herring remains an iconic ingredient.
Molluscs like clams (or surf clams) abound in Gulf waters and are prized by Madelinots. Thickened with potatoes and served in a light white sauce, the local chowder, or Tchaude aux palourdes as it's called, may well be the ultimate comfort food to thrill your tastebuds.
This Island beer lays claim to the most iconic beverage around these parts. Rather than adhere to any one unbending recipe, "bagosses" vary from family to family across time and townships. Mind you, you'll need to cozy up to true Madelinots if you want a taste of this local nectar, but be warned: this is no ordinary beer!
Pot-en-pot is to the Magdalen Islands what tourtiere (meat pie) is to Lac-Saint-Jean. While 17th-century French settlers all over the world usually added whatever meat came handy, Madelinots capitalized on the bounty of the surrounding sea. No doubt about it, this seafood pie has become a classic dish of our Islands' fine cuisine.
Salting meat long stood as a favoured means of preserving food. This simple and effective know-how remains in use today, adding a distinctive taste to a few local dishes. With its slow cooking and abundance of root vegetables, this stew — or "chiard" as we call it — has enjoyed pride of place in many local cookbooks throughout the generations.
Associated with the seal hunt, croxignoles are a traditional, exclusive and even rarefied pastry of the Magdalen Islands. Unfortunately, the majority of visitors may not enjoy the opportunity of tasting these famous braided fritters cooked... in seal oil! If you're among the lucky few, you may want to give thanks and nibble away.