When visiting a new city, taking a food tour is a great way to explore and sample different foods. Yet to really get a sense of the area’s food culture, you should visit local farms and artisanal factories. Visitors to Quebec City can travel just 15 minutes northeast of the city and experience the rich agritourism community of Île d’Orléans. You could explore on your own, but if you are traveling on your own, it’s so much more enjoyable to take a guided tour.
I was in Quebec City for a women’s travel conference last May and pondered what to do in Quebec City. As part of the conference, Tours Voir Quebec offered complimentary tours to event participants. I took their Île D’Orléans Farm & Market Tour and the Quebec Food Tour. Both are fantastic opportunities to see the area and taste a little bit of everything. If you are looking for things to do in Quebec including winery tours and chocolate, then this Île D’Orléans Farm Tour is for you!
Touring Île D’Orléans
Île d’Orléans is an island in the middle of Lawrence River. The island is unique from the surrounding area because of it’s microclimate. The Lawrence River insulates the area, so it’s actually warmer than the mainland. For thousands of years, local farms produced fresh fruits and vegetables year around for Quebec City and surrounding areas. Today visitors come to turn the farms, wineries, local restaurants, sugar shacks, and other attractions. That’s why I went on the tour.
Farm Tour Stops
To start the tour, JC the tour guide picked up our group at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. From there, we boarded a bus and headed to the island. Along the drive, JC does his tour guide duties telling us all about the sites we will visit. The overview is one of the reasons why I love taking guided tours. You can the back history so you can put everything in context without having to do the research yourself.
Chocolaterie De L’Île D’Orléans
This artisanal chocolate factory and ice cream shop is our first stop on the western point of the island. Here we learn about their chocolate and get to sample several Belgian style chocolates. Products are made in house and are delicious. Throughout the shop there are chocolate themed gift sets and chocolate related products you can buy. On the other side of the shop is a small cafe with ice cream, coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.
Café La Maison Smith
Second stop on the tour is a wonderful coffee shop. They have locations all over Quebec and the one here in the island is a must for coffee lovers. Here the treat is a Maple Macchiato. It’s a well balanced brew sweetened with maple syrup. You are in Canada after all. Everything can come with maple instead of sugar. Afterwards, there’s more time to browse and shop the boutique which features only made in Canada products. I fell in love with the warm shawls and gloves they were selling. Plus those French Bulldog mugs… Precious!
Vignoble du Mitan Winery
Now that everything has had something sweet and is properly caffeinated, it’s time to visit a local winery. Vignoble du Mitan has been open since 2007 and offers a selection of whites, rose, sparkling rose, dry red, and ice wine. Ice wine is an extremely sweet wine made with frozen grapes. The tour includes a sampling of 5 wines. The dry red is nice. I did try the ice wine which is available for an additional fee. I didn’t care for it as it’s REALLY sweet. After wine tasting, go out into the yard to take pictures or enjoy the scenic views. The winery sits atop a hill and we can see across the river. It’s beautiful!
Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau
Next stop is an orchard and cider house. Luckily, you are not driving as you are about to sample the second set of alcoholic beverages, hot cider. Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau makes 8 kinds of cider including ice cider and sparkling, plus various apple and maple food products. I really enjoy a hard cider and there were several I liked her. The Reflets de Cassis (apple and black currant) and traditional Symphonie were my favorites. The apple butter they sell here is fantastic. I brought home several jars of it and the old style mustard.
Le Cassis Monna & Filles
One more stop on this Île D’Orléans Farm Tour and it’s to a black currant farm. A black currant is a blackish purple berry similar to an Aronia berry. Visitors are invited into their wine cellar and gourmet shop. They get to sample farm’s 3 black currant or cassis wines, a cassis liqueur, jams, and assortment of condiments. The Crème de Cassis is an award winning liqueur that is really good.
Île D’Orléans is a great day trip from Quebec City and touring the farms/shops is an enjoyable way to see the sites. Whether you are traveling solo or with friends, plan on exploring here. These are the five stops on the Île D’Orléans Farm Tour with Tours Voir Quebec. There are countless things to see on the island, but each of these stops has a delightful food or beverage to sample plus some type of retail space for gifts or souvenirs. You may notice that there is more alcohol than food on the tour. I recommend eating a good lunch before starting the tour.