What is Poutine?

Poutine is a combination of cheese fries and gravy and what sets it apart is rather than a liquid cheese it’s made with cheese curds and unlike liquid cheese doesn’t melt. Often referred to as squeaky cheese because of the sound it makes between your teeth, poutine is a speciality from the province of Quebec. Cheese curds are a byproduct of the production of cheddar cheese and poutine is now widely available everywhere and a regular item on the menu at most fast food chains. Never ones to resist experimenting with a dish chefs are known to add such diverse ingredients as lobster, pork bellies, duck beast, confit,t foie gras, truffles or salmon roe.

Two versions of poutine in Victoria BC, dirty and plain are readily available throughout the day and thought by some to be a good hangover cure. Still seen as a national joke by some hasn’t stopped its popularity spreading across the rest of the country. The origins of the dish can be traced back to 1957 when a restauranteur by the name of Fernand LaChance noticed some of the customer putting cheese curds and gravy on their french fries. After that he featured the dish as a regular item on his menu. Yet another version credits a specific customer by the name of Eddie Lainaisse who served a dish of fries, cheese curds, salt and vinegar. It’s also believed that chef LaChance was asked by a customer, possibly even Lainesse at a cheese factory to combine cheese curds with potatoes. Regardless of the origins LaChance is aid to refer to it as “ a damned mess “ or maudite poutine. The Oxford dictionary of Food and Drink adds that LaChance never added the gravy until 1964.

Then there’s Jean-Paul Roy who claims to have added cheese curds to the fries and gravy on his menu and coined the term Ti- Pont or Poutine. between 1958 and 1964. Today this drive in restaurant, LeRoy Jucep in Drummondville serves up 19 different variations of poutine. Or could it be a traditional Acadian dish known as poutine rapee that started it all. This potato dumpling made with pork fat and filled with meat and boiled for long periods seems an unlikely dish to credit with the origins of the poutine we enjoy today.

Many countries have version of poutine made with different kinds of cheese unlike the version that has its beginnings in the province of Quebec. There are almost as many variations are there are people claiming to have concocted this dish, sitting down to enjoy your Victoria BC poutine it’s origins are the last thing on your mind.