In theory, I love the idea of food fairs. In practice, I get annoyed at the process: parking can be a headache, popular booths have huge line-ups, crowds seem to move in pack, and you need need to take out your money (or your little ticket) every time you want to taste something even though admission was not free.
In other words, while I often tweet or facebook food fair recommendations, I know myself enough to usually stay away and visit producers individually when I feel like it. The old “do as I say”.
So what pleasure it was this weekend to just wander around the Festival de la galette et des saveurs du terroir in Old Saint-Eustache (sorry, most links concern small producers with French-only websites). Here’s a small fair on a human scale, headache-free, pleasantly set up in the grounds of old Légaré Mill and Globensky Manor, the latter unfortunately under renovation and covered in scaffolding.
You will be welcomed by costumed craftsmen from weavers to blacksmiths representing several skills required in the olden days, a small military camp with regimental parades, free horse sled rides, play areas and a painting mural for kids, etc.
For the gourmand in you, a large tent features local and not-so-local producers: Nid’Otruche, Fromagiers de la table ronde, Les cerfs rouges de Clément Labrecque> all the way from Beauce, near Quebec City. (By the way, groups of 10 or more can visit his red deer ranch. Given that mating season is starting next week, it might prove quite an educational visit, lol.)
As with any good food fair, bring your appetite. “Buckwheat and beans” breakfasts are served all day for $6, plus you can enjoy corn on the cob, ostrich sausage, fine chocolates, cassoulet, wine, name it. Admission is free — I like that! — but do bring cash to thrill your tastebuds some.
Finally, don’t forget to walk along the water near Légaré Mill, where the crowds are small, providing just enough ambiance but no shoving and pushing. All in all, our family had a great time. We will be back next year.