When French Fries Met Cheese Curds and Gravy: The Story of Poutine

There are a lot of things one can say about this quasi-national treasure of ours—it’s cheesy, sometimes meaty, salty, and definitely tasty. But the one thing that all Canadians agree on is that it is uniquely ours. This savoury, delectable, and mouth-watering mash-up of fried potatoes, cheese, and gravy has gone from obscure roots in rural Quebec to national (and a somewhat international) sensation. No two dishes are the same, meaning what you get at a Montreal Canadiens game will be totally different than your normal cabanes à patates—but you catch our drift. While you can’t go wrong with eating poutine anywhere in Canada, L’Academie serves up gourmet poutine for those of us with a more refined palette and a hankering for the finer things in life (though we do recommend not eating it every day!). Here’s more about our beloved national treasure.

Early Roots in England

It’s the turn of the century. Farmers in Northern England and across the border in Scotland are starving for something other than sheep’s meat and ale. This led them to combine the things they knew best: potatoes and cheese. The resulting dish of chips (that’s fries, by the way), cheese, and gravy was made to provide a hearty meal that helped the toilers of the land make it through the long days and cold nights. It wasn’t until these ingredients met the shores of Quebec, though, that it really took off.

Obscure Origins in Quebec

Though we do know that this lovely, carb-packed, mildly addicting dish does come from within our beautiful province, we are a bit skittish to admit that we aren’t sure from where, exactly. As with most delicious dishes, many claim to have created it. It was somewhere in the middle of the century, most likely in the villages of Southeast Quebec; one story often told is of a cafe owner in Warwick who complained that putting curds and gravy on the fries would make a mess, but eventually acquiescing because the gravy would keep the fries warm in the cruel Quebec winter. Other localities that lay claim are Victoriaville and Drummondville.

We assure you that we make some of the best poutine in the city, but we definitely didn’t make the first. So that rules us out!

Anything Your Heart Desires

In our opinion, the best part of poutine is how flexible it is. The dish is humble but can be elegant if the occasion calls for it. At L’Academie, there is a selection of gourmet poutines dishes that come with either filet mignon, duck confit, or Italian sausage/pancetta.

The origins of this uniquely Canadian national dish are shrouded in mystery. The one thing we can actually agree on is that it is delicious—and our province nailed it. If you find yourself craving a delicious gourmet poutine made by one of the finest restaurants in the city, then L’Acadamie makes some of the most delicious gourmet poutines in Montreal!