I go through the same cycle every Christmas. I start off with a noble plan of quasi-ascetic living in the weeks that lead up to the feasts, only to realize that self-deprivation is always more successful in thought than practice. Sad to report, my pre-emptive battle plans against cheese and chocolate fondue have once again been demolished by the minefield of gourmet Quebecois delights that entrap at every turn.
In most of Europe, Quebec products have not yet gained any real traction. I usually like to keep secret pleasures secret (less man more share philosophy) but given my own geographic needs, it would be great to be able to grab a bottle of Boréale Blanche or Coaticook maple ice-cream at Albert Heijn.
I learned to appreciate beer in Munich after years of snubbing, but it was in Quebec that true love blossomed. Microbrewery here is a competitive sport and the myriad of awesome, punchy beers that line the walls of dépanneurs, grocery stores and liquor stores are the happy consequence. Students brew beer in their bathtubs (showering at the university gym is just as hygienic + free) and there is an educated attitude towards the hoppy brew, even amongst the youth.
Beyond beer, there’s cheese. While I do enjoy cheese, its not something I generally overdose on. However, in the land of cheese crazies (average 8kg per year per Quebecker), I find myself snacking on cheese squares as if they were the fleur-de-lys equivalent to my usual guilt-free wakame (just FYI, this is wilful blindness). Whilst cheese in Holland is plentiful but placid, Quebec artisans are to be lauded for their operatic range in stinky succulence.
So is it any wonder that since its -20◦c out, and the nearest gym being an icy 30 minutes away, my burgeoning tire just can’t wait to wobble itself back onto the tracks!