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My kingdom for a "beignet"

What type of food would be the most emblematic of the Magdalen Islands? Take a minute to think about it. Is it lobster? Seal? Smoked fished? You would think so, but that's not it! Although all these exquisite dishes are served locally, they can also be found on the mainland if you know where to look. If there's one dish that you absolutely have to taste during your stay on the Islands, and won't find anywhere else, it's the delicious beignets!

Beignets? You mean doughnuts, like the ones at Tim Hortons?

Of course not! Actually, what we call beignet (or banax in Fatima) is simply bread dough, braided and deep-fried. 

This fritter is generally served for breakfast and tastes like heaven, so much so that you'll immediately crave a second one.In fact, the beignet (or Banax if you are in the village of Fatima) is a basic bread dough that is braided and cooked in oil, and usually served for breakfast.

Beignet in a brunch plate
Beignet as a side dish
Guillaume and its beignets

All breakfast restaurants on the Magdalen Islands have beignets on their menu. True connoisseurs order a plate of 3 or 4, no-frills, with a coffee. For another classic, try finishing any order with "and I'll have a beignet instead of the toasts, please." This twist is now Guillaume's default order, known by heart by all the waitresses. 

The most daring of travellers can challenge themselves with a beignet discovery tour of the Islands. Can you taste the difference from one restaurant to another? Of course, we have our favourites, but we'll let you pick your own. You'll also get a chance to notice the different styles of braids from one village to the other!

But a beignet wouldn't be complete without something to dip it in. Traditionally, the dish is served with an egg marmalade (also known as fripette). Don't let the name fool you like it did the naive newcomers we once were! Egg marmalade doesn't taste at all like eggs. The mixture is made by beating eggs into molasses (beaten, or frippés, hence the name). Got a sweet tooth? Try the homemade caramel, another local treat that you're sure to enjoy.

These fritters might sound like commonplace food by our description, but please, do yourself a favour, have a bite. Still not convinced? Keep in mind that we had many of our guests tried the dish last summer, and all of them reworked their schedule to eat beignets at least once more before leaving the Islands. Come say hi, we'll have a plate ready for you!

You should also know that another version of this local dish exists, but this one is much harder to find. Produced only in March, and only in Havre-aux-Maisons, the croxignoles are made of bread dough, braided and fried... but in seal oil! The sale only takes place one day a year, and everything is sold during the first hour. But that's a story for another time...

Par Guillaume Pitre & Stéphanie Lepage

Born on the “mainland” and residents of the Îles de la Madeleine since a little over a year, the two of us are passionate about adventures, discoveries and gastronomy. It didn't take long for us to become two island lovers who are completely #fousdesiles!

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