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The Best Quebec City Food Tour

When I attended WITS last month, I had the chance to join some local excursions. This was the best Quebec City food tour I took – for my personal tastes. I did not pay for my tour, but I did tip my amazing tour guide, and all opinions remain my own.

Chez Ashton Poutine

Before last month, I had never done a food tour in my life. After spending time on three food tours in two days, I’m hooked. The St-Roch Quebec Food Tour from Local Quebec City Tours captured my heart. I still dream about some of the food and drinks we enjoyed.

Even better? You get a booklet when you arrive that reminds you which locations you visited so you can patronize them again. Even better? They provide you with coupons for some of the locations to go back and purchase your favorite items (found in the booklet). If only I had more time in Quebec City….

Want to see exactly what you’ll eat on the best Quebec City food tour? Scroll down to see each stop and what to expect there – then come back to read more about what you need to know before you book this tour.

Why This Was the Best Quebec City Food Tour

Just in case, I stopped at a local patisserie to grab a pastry for myself before the tour started. When I showed up at the meeting point, the tour guide laughed and told me to put it away. She promised to fill me up on the tour. Florence more than delivered on her promise. This food tour includes the equivalent of a full meal – you do not walk away hungry.

With six different stops, we had a variety of experiences for all sorts of personal favorite foods. I could have stayed in the cheese shop and eaten all day long, but I am so glad I didn’t miss out on poutine or chocolate or smoked salmon or any of the other fabulous treats.

This Quebec City St-Roch food tour accommodates allergies – to a point. If you are vegetarian, have a gluten issue, are lactose free, etc., the tour can accommodate you. But you need to let them know in advance, so make sure you include that when you register. That said, many of the stores have nuts and cannot guarantee a nut safe environment overall. Tours with dietary restrictions may have altered items, so don’t quote me that you’ll always have the items I did!

We learned a ton about the different areas in St-Roch. While this was a food tour, we gained a historical perspective, too. I loved hearing about how this became a gastrohub from its previous humble beginnings. Had I not taken this tour, I would never have visited this area. Now I wish I’d spent more time there exploring and eating.

We never felt rushed. Each stop gave us enough time to learn about the location, enjoy the food, and explore the store a bit more as we wished. This also meant that we had time to digest and enjoy each portion so that we didn’t feel overfull by the end. Did I mention this was a lot of food?

The tour kept to the timeline. Though we never felt rushed, our tour started and ended on time. The three hour tour was truly a three hour tour. We didn’t feel cheated by it ending early nor concerned we might miss another activity because the tour lasted longer than anticipated.

Key Things to Know About the Best Quebec City Food Tour

You meet at the first stop. St-Roch is easy to get to, including via public transportation or cab. The tour ends at the last store, which is a 10 minute walk from the first stop. You can take a cab from there again, walk back to the first store if you parked near there, or find another public transit home.

You walk a mile during the tour. One stop to another isn’t too far from another, which makes it accessible for most people. If you have trouble walking, you may want to consider a food tour that provides transportation instead. This tour is on fairly flat ground so isn’t too taxing, but the group does move from location to location.

The tours operate year round. This isn’t only a nice weather thing. If it’s raining or snowing, dress for the weather!

Tours run Thursday to Monday at 11am, though check their calendar because seasonally tours and times change slightly. Make sure you arrive 15 minutes early to ensure the tour starts on time. This gives everyone a chance to find the right place, get introduced, and head into that first stop.

The tour has tickets available online, and buy them early. Many tours sell out, and all tickets must be purchased by 10am of the tour. You cannot walk up an join the tour.

Bringing kids? They’re welcome! Kids 2-7 and 7-13 get discounted tickets ($17CAD and $35CAD, plus taxes and fees). Adults and teens 13 and over cost $59CAD each. With taxes and fees, an adult ticket costs $71.28 (currently about $55USD). For a hugely filling lunch and the experience? I’d pay this in a heartbeat.

The tours include a maximum of 16 people, so you never feel crowded either. If you have a group of 10 or more, you can arrange a private tour for a flat rate.

Yes, you should tip your guide. You don’t have to, but the guides work hard and Florence was one of the best tour guides I’ve ever had.

Where Does the Best Quebec City Food Tour Stop?

Stop 1: Fromagerie des Grondines Cheese Shop

Put me in a cheese shop, and I’m happy. At this stop, we started with a charcuterie board. This included two raw milk cheeses and a simple garlic sausage. The Grondines is a six month cheese, and the Clos des Roches is a year old. They all tasted fantastic.

Quebec City food tour meat and cheese

The board also includes small cups of sea buckthorn berry juice. I’d never heard of it before, but all these foods are local to Quebec City. Sea buckthorn is an up and coming drink, and we all loved it. In fact, several members of our group had to purchase a bottle! The drink is lightly carbonated and not overly sweet.

Surprise!

More food comes at this stop. We each got a full half grilled cheese sandwich with ham, artichoke dip, and the Clos des Roches cheese. This may have been one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had. Who knew artichoke dip tastes so good on grilled cheese?

QC Food Tour grilled cheese

Stop 2: NESS

This vegan bistro has all the crunchy granola vibes. It’s a really cool location. The tasting here is usually a gluten free vegan key lime pie, but our tour had a raspberry cheesecake instead. Note that every location may have items change up, but all options I saw looked delicious. When you select any food issues at checkout, you can see some of the substitions you receive.

QC Food Tour Vegan cheesecake

This restaurant is health food focused, not all vegan and gluten free, but everything in it is homemade. When they say it’s gluten free, you don’t need to stress. This was one of the shorter stops on our tour.

Stop 3: Noctem Artisan Brewers

Here’s the thing. I’m not even a fan of beer, and I could have stayed in this microbrewery all day. The tasting includes a nice size glass of their house brewed beer. For us, they served a sage, rosemary and thyme infused beer – Herbosophie. Whatever you receive generally is either the Herbosophie or another lighter beer to go well with the fish you also enjoy.

QC Food Tour Beer stop

If you aren’t a beer fan or can’t or don’t drink alcohol, you have the option of a homemade grapefruit and rosemary soda. I  went this route, and all I can say is that it was delicious.

QC Food Tour non alcohol option

At Noctem, you can see the love of cats the owners have with the banners of cat photos strung across the ceiling and elsewhere. As you sit to enjoy your tasting, you can see the beer being brewed in a room next to you, with announcements of what’s coming up next painted on the glass.

Don’t drink your beer too quickly, however. You also receive an appetizer size portion of salmon gravalax with octopus ceviche and black pea salad. I love gravalax, but I wasn’t too sure about the salad. However, it paired beautifully and was a dish I would hands down order again.

Food Tour smoked salmon

Side note: This is the second stop on the tour with a bathroom. If you think you might need to go, take the time and do it. The only other stop on the tour where you can use a restroom is the cheese stop at the very start of the tour.

Stop 4: Camellia Sinesis Tea Shop

Here we experienced labrador tea, something I had never heard of before. In keeping with the local theme, this is a soothing herbal tea the First Nations use for medicinal purposes. We learned this is good for reproductive system. For example, it alleviates period cramps, and it helps start contractions for birth. If you are pregnant, do not drink this.

Quebec City tea stop

It is a plant from the evergreen forest, and it is an herb not a tea leaf. I found it subtle and refreshing, with a sweet aftertaste. At this stop, there is no food, as they literally sell just tea from canisters larger than I’ve ever before seen.

First Nations tea

Stop 5: Chez Ashton

You didn’t think you could have a food tour in Quebec City without stopping for poutine, did you?

Chez Ashton poutine

While they didn’t invent it at Chez Ashton, this definitely ranks among the better poutine establishments. The entire history of poutine remains foggy with no one absolutely sure who really invented it first,  but Chez Ashton brought it to Quebec City.

The first summer Ashton came to Quebec City, they gave away samples, then people got addicted. You know how it goes from there, right? Here they serve classic poutine, unlike the elevated fancy poutine we enjoyed at Chic Shack for dinner. They have a pork based sauce, and those who cannot eat it receive the poutine without sauce.

Bite of authentic poutine

Being Quebec City, they get smart in their advertising. Fun fact? In January, business goes down with health resolutions and cold weather keeping people inside. What do they do? They discount based on the weather. If it’s -15C outside, you get a 15% discount. It’s a good thing you can’t actually get to -100C, right?

Stop 6: Champagne Chocolatier

The final stop provides dessert to finish things off. I wasn’t sure I could eat any more after the generous serving of poutine until I hear it was chocolate. This store generally provides unique homemade chocolates like marshmallows dipped in chocolate. For us, we tasted a raspberry truffle made with raspberries from Ile d’Orleans.

QC Food Tour Chocolate bites

Beyond that, we also received a soft serve ice cream cone dipped in our choice of milk or dark chocolate. It’s amazing what quality ice cream and good chocolate can do for your mood. This was the perfect way to end the tour. In winter, you enjoy hot chocolate instead. I don’t know which I’d rather have!

QC Food Tour Ice Cream

About the History of St-Roch

This neighborhood came later than much of Quebec City and was always a working class neighborhood. It’s changed significantly in the past 10-20 years especially.

In 1759, the first buildings popped up when British came and later it became settled for land and a fur monopoly. The main issue at this time was the  7 Year War, French and Indian War, or The Conquest,  depending on your point of view.

Later, Napoleon’s blockade pushed logging trade to the forefront. St-Roch became big shipyard and shipped logs back to Britain for the war in place of fur. Unfortunately, the discovery of steel killed that industry, and Montreal became the premier city for ports and commerce.

This area went industrial with factories to survive, but the wealth left the area for the most part. The factories remained viable until 1960s. At that point, suburbs became a significant new influence, so people moved there. Only poor stayed stayed in this area, and the neighborhood declined.

By the 1980s, no one wanted to go to St-Roch, and it had bad reputation overall. The mayor then put effort to transform everything. The city created an art college with design, animation, etc. Students came because it was cheap. Beer and coffee followed and then more followed from that.

Eventually, the area started turning around and the city created office space to make this a vibrant downtown area with cheap rent. Unfortunately, the bad reputation of the area stayed, so the city offered a five year tax free period for all new technology companies that settled there.

The businesses became so successful that they all stayed, and now this is the geek neighborhood. That’s a big reason there is so much unique food and drink in the area. The population loves finding off the beaten path food, and you can enjoy it as a part the best Quebec City food tour.

Have you booked the best Quebec City food tour yet? Why not?

The best Quebec City food tour. If you visit Quebec, you must do the local food tour of the St-Roch area of the city. This is the most filling tour with the best food and fantastic guides.

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  1. I went on a different food tour in Quebec City before WITS. It was my first food tour too. I had my first and last poutine although my Canadian friends insist I need to give it another chance at a more upscale poutine purveyor. (I don’t think I ever expected to use poutine and purveyor in the same sentence). ?

    • Michelle says:

      There are so many food tours, and they’re all fun in different ways. I’m not a huge gravy fan, so I could have just done fries and cheese, but I tried my poutine, too!

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