Festival du Voyageur: French food with flare -

Festival du Voyageur: French food with flare

By: PegCity GrubFebruary 20, 2013 // French

Le Garage poutine
Food purveyors at Festival du Voyageur get into the spirit, dressing like voyageurs. Photo by Robin Summerfield.

At Winnipeg's annual Festival du Voyageur, you're guaranteed great music, massive snow-sculpture spottings, spontaneous outbursts of jigging and loads of French and Métis-inspired food.

All the elements—plus tons of family friendly events—make the festival a must-do every year for Winnipeggers and hardy travellers.

The food—served from inside warm tents, outdoor food trucks and at the bourgeois house on-site at Fort Gibraltar—is a melange of fine dining, fast food and hand-held French eats.

Inside the main festival tent, find Le Garage, Café Postal and liquor sales.

Warm up with a cappuccino, latte or hot chocolate pulled by owner Adrienne Huard or Andre Clement, the latter of which is sporting a thick beard in anticipation of the beard growing competition.

Meanwhile Le Garage does a steady business with its poutine and other hot specialties. Their poutine is a must-try. All the elements combine for a perfect version of the classic French Canadian treat. Expect crispy, potatoey-delicious, house-cut frites, topped with chunks of melting cheese curds and a beefy rich gravy. Use a fork or just go for it with fingers. Don't share. Get your own.

poutine Festival du Voyageur
Poutine—frites with cheese curds and loads of rich gravy—are a popular treat at Winnipeg's Festival du Voyageur. Photo by Robin Summerfield.

Outside, head to the west side of the park a short jaunt from the main festival tent, to fill your belly with authentic French food to go. Promenade Café and Wine, one of Winnipeg's signature French restaurants, has its temporary food truck on site.

The menu is loaded with French comfort food. For a fork full, grab a pommes de terre piles. This hardy meal in a bowl includes mashed potatoes topped with either veggies, pulled pork or pulled turkey. Or go local and try a bison meatballs on a stick. For dessert, order maple sugar pie on a stick. Lattes and cappuccinos are on board here too.

The Beaver Tails truck is also on site and a popular spot for festival goers. This food truck chain serves fried slabs of flat dough dressed with many sweet toppings. Oozing and gooey is a forgone conclusion with this tail-sized treat. For a simple, yet fantastic bite, try the cinnamon and sugar version. This warm, juicy bad boy is cinnamon toast on steroids.

beaver tails at Festival du Voyageur
Beaver Tails—fried slabs of dough dressed with sweet sensations like chocolate-hazelnut spread, sugar and cinnamon—are a Festival du Voyageur favourite.

The 10-day festival wraps up this Sunday, February 24 with a food event for everyone.

At 1 p.m. that day, Festival du Voyageur hosts its annual pea soup making competition at the park. This year, chefs from Chez Sofie, Peasant Cookery, Resto Gare, Le Garage and Promenade Café and Wine will vie for the crown. The contest will be judged by local food experts including Erin Bend, editor of Ciao magazine.

As locals say 'Bon Festival.'

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