In the 1920s, roadside bread ovens gave visitors the opportunity to chat…

Gourmet Meeting Places: From Bread Ovens to Microbreweries

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A couple visiting Gaspésie in the 1950s chats with a local woman selling them fresh bread baked in a wood-burning oven by the roadside. Photo: Chris Lund, Library and Archives Canada

Gourmet Meeting Places: From Bread Ovens to Microbreweries

In the 1920s, roadside bread ovens gave visitors the opportunity to chat with Gaspesians about a local specialty. Today, there are many more gathering places that showcase local food products, including artisan bakeries and microbreweries.

The bread ovens of yesteryear

From the 1920s to the 1950s and 1960s, visitors to the Gaspé Peninsula could buy fresh bread baked by proud Gaspesians in wood-burning ovens along the roadside. These bread ovens were mostly found in Haute-Gaspésie and in the Chandler area. Charmed by the idea of tasting fresh hot bread and wanting to interact with “real Gaspesians,” visitors stopped along the road to buy a loaf and have a chat.

Photos of roadside bread ovens were used in 1929-1930 in publications by the Government of Québec to promote Gaspésie to potential visitors, alongside images featuring simple country people, wild landscapes, fishing villages and roadside craft sales. The idea that Gaspésie remained “frozen in time” was used to attract American visitors, who were facing the winds of change and modernity. Even after commercial bread was available throughout Gaspésie as it was in the rest of Québec, the image of the traditional bread oven continued to capture the imagination. As of the 1940s, the region began to promote itself and gradually branded itself in more modern ways.

Today, Gaspésie is home to many artisan bakeries, microbreweries and other sites where local food products are made. All of these are important meeting places where locals and tourists can interact. Photo: Roger St-Laurent

Today’s gourmet meeting places: Bakeries, microbreweries and more

Over the past few decades, the range and scope of activities and attractions available in Gaspésie has expanded exponentially. In terms of food and fine dining, the options have also diversified considerably. Bread is no longer sold by the roadside, but artisan bakeries have popped up throughout the region, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike. Two such bakeries are Boulangerie Toujours Dimanche in Matane and La Mie Véritable, a bakery and pastry shop in Carleton-sur-Mer. Both are also coffee shops where you can sit back and enjoy a cup of java.

Microbreweries, which are also popping up all over the region of Gaspésie, are another important gathering place. In addition to producing an impressive variety of beers—some of which have won prestigious international awards—these sites are also important cultural venues. While locals gather there year-round, microbreweries also attract tourists visiting the region. Don’t miss Microbrasserie Le Malbord in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, the Cap Gaspé Craft Brewing Co. in Gaspé, Microbrasserie Pit Caribou in Percé, Microbrasserie Le Naufrageur in Carleton-sur-Mer and the relatively new Microbrasserie Le Ketch in Sainte-Flavie.

To be in the loop and find out more about the many gourmet meeting places in Gaspésie, visit tourisme-gaspesie.com and plan your trip today! #gaspesie

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