Every year, Montreal’s YUL EAT food festival, which ran from Sept. 10 to 16 this year, imports restaurateurs and culinary talent from around Quebec. Place YUL EAT serves as the main hub for the festival, where visitors can sample local products and attend culinary presentations. The McGill Tribune tasted the best of what this year’s pavilion had to offer; these were some of our favourites.
The festival showcased a wide variety of small, savoury bites for visitors to sample. One stand-out station was Super Dips, a company that specializes in dehydrated dip powders which can be blended with traditional bases, like mayonnaise and sour cream, to create quick, delicious dips. At the stand, a vendor handed each taster a packet of pretzel sticks, to be dipped into as many of the thirty-plus savoury dips as desired. Unique flavours like asparagus, maple garlic, and curry cocoa were a few of the most noteworthy selections. Each and every dip was delicious, creamy, and perfectly salted. At the stand, Super Dips sold packages for five dollars apiece—which is not cheap for only a small appetizer, but still suitable for special occasions.
Equally popular were the tacos from the Avocados from Mexico setup. At the counter, festival-goers had two options: A vegetarian taco topped with roasted butternut squash, sliced avocado, and crumbled cheese, and a seafood taco with spicy salmon poke, a seaweed shell, and avocado. Simple and easy to replicate at home, these tacos packed a punch and made for a filling meal.
Among the neatly-placed tents in Quartier des Spectacles, only a handful contained the best kind of food—sweets. There were offerings of fresh, traditional madeleine cookies prepared by festival staff, samplings of raw honey from Le Miel de Bonneau, tastings of fun overnight oats flavoured with chocolate and matcha from YUMi Organics, and ice cream from Les Givrés. Among these tasty options, Les Givrés’ ice cream stood out above the rest. Maybe it was the unusual September heat that made their generous samples especially delicious. The flavours on offer ranged from classics like chocolate and maple, to more original combinations, such as a cinnamon-apple sorbet and a vegan, coconut-based chai ice cream. Every bite tasted like a perfectly-sweet, creamy cloud.
At the centre of the festival ground stood the Creemore Springs’ Biergarten, where several Canadian beers, wines, and whiskeys were available on tap and for purchase. Additionally, grocery-store giant Gold Peak Beverages gave out samples of its new, refreshing, low-sugar fruit teas. The most unique offerings were the non-alcoholic cocktails concocted by La Ferme d’Achille, a small farm in St. Ubalde, Quebec dedicated to small batches of Argouille, a beverage made from sea buckthorn berries. “Cocktail Momentum,” an Argouille-based cocktail infused with mango nectar, cucumber, and picante sauce, harnessed the berries’ tart flavour. The result was a thirst-quenching and dynamic way to refuel after an afternoon of sampling new food.