What do chocolate, caramel and cheese have in common? Several religious congregations have a long tradition of making these kinds of products to finance their social missions. The Quebec Religious and Spiritual Tourism Association invites you to discover these delicacies made using old-fashioned methods that continue to be produced at Quebec’s monasteries.
Before visiting a site mentioned in this article, be sure to call or visit the website to know which activities are available
The taste of the land, from abbey to abbey
Since 2009, the Val Notre-Dame Abbey has been the residence of the monks who moved from the Oka Abbey. The Val Notre-Dame Abbey in the Lanaudière region is famous for its store, stocked with products made by the monks from ingredients found in the forest as well as a range of other local gourmet items. Culinary and personal care workshops are also offered at the store. To make the most of your visit, take a guided walk to learn more about the abbey and its history.
If you’re in the Laurentians, be sure to stop by the Oka Abbey store, located just steps from the former monastery. The store sells delicious chocolates, fruit cakes, the signature "okaramel" caramel product and other delicacies made by abbeys in Quebec. And of course, the Oka Abbey store sells its famous namesake cheese.
Apples and cheese, hand in hand
The fruits of the monks’ labour at the Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Abbey is prominently featured in the store. The vast orchard means making apple products is a cinch. Sparkling ciders made following the champagne method, apple butter and berry jam are just a few of the gourmet products sold on site. And how about the abbey’s blue cheeses? Several of them have received prestigious awards, and they are simply delicious. It is also possible to visit the premises with the help of an audioguide, and in the fall, the abbey offers apple-picking.
Have you ever tasted chocolate-covered blueberries?
Here’s a story steeped in sweetness and authenticity! The Mistassini Trappist Monk chocolate factory was established in 1944. The monks quickly got to work making chocolate chickens that caused a sensation in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region. They have since perfected their art and invented the famous chocolate-covered blueberries. Today, the monks and their employees make them with the utmost care. You can purchase these and other regional products at the shop. You can also choose to stay a bit longer by visiting the economuseum, attending religious services or taking a walk on the Monasteriorum path at the nearby Grandes-Rivières regional park.
Photo credits: Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Abbey, Mistassini Trappist Monk chocolate factory, Gaëlle Leroyer, the Val Notre-Dame Abbey