National Poutine Day (Canada)
National Poutine Day (Canada) is observed next on Thursday, April 11th, 2024 (47 days from today).
National Poutine Day on April 11 every year is believed to have been created in 2018 in order to promote the dish.
History of National Poutine Day
In Canada, especially in Quebec, poutine is a staple, if not iconic, food. It has become a popular dish in the US as well as in other countries, and we celebrate it today, on National Poutine Day. The standard poutine includes fresh fries, cheese rolls and brown gravy, but there are many variations on the dish. Most likely, the name is derived from the French word "pudding", pudding, or the word poutine, which is slang for "messy" in Quebec. It is pronounced "pou-tin" in French-dominated regions such as Quebec and New Brunswick, but as "poo-teen" elsewhere.
According to a well-known and widely believed story, poutine first appeared at L'Idéal (Café Ideal), a restaurant later renamed Le Lutin Qui Rit (The Laughing Elf) in 1957, in the small town of Warwick, in County Arthabaska, Quebec, a town famous for its production of curd cheese balls. An ordinary customer, Eddy Lainsesse, ordered curd on top of his fries. The restaurant's owner, Fernand Lachance, is said to have replied, "Ça va faire une maudite poutine", which roughly translates to "That would make a terrible mess." A variation on the story is that Lainsesse asked to put curd and chips in a paper bag, Lachance looked at the bag and said, "This is a snack." The dish began to be sold in bags and quickly gained attention. The patrons started adding ketchup and vinegar to it. In 1963, Lachance began serving it on a plate. Customers quickly noticed that the fries quickly cooled, so Lachance added gravy to keep them warm.
According to another story, its creator is Jean-Paul Roy, the owner of Le Roy Jucep, a drive-in restaurant in Drummondville, Quebec. He had been enjoying gravy with fries called pate since 1958, and in 1964, he realized the fact that some of his diners had added cheese curds to enhance the flavor of the dish. He soon added a dish with all three ingredients and named it fromage-patate sauce.
No matter how poutine started, it will soon be sold as a street food in Canada. By 1969, in Quebec City it appeared at the Ashton Snack Bar on Wilfred-Hamel Avenue, and in Montreal in 1983. By the early 1980s, it had become a staple. Street food is widespread in Ontario and Quebec.
It first appeared at the Canadian restaurant chain in 1985, and was added to the menu of Frits, a chain based in Quebec. By the 1990s, poutine was widely available in the country, after it was included on the menus of other chains. It was first added to Burger King's menu in 1987 in Quebec, and then, it quickly spread to other branches of the chain. The same thing happened with McDonald's in 1990. Canadian fast food chain Harvey's put it on menus across the country in 1992.
But poutine is more than just street food and fast food. By the early 2000s, this dish appeared in high-end Canadian restaurants. It was introduced to the menu at Aud Pied de Cochon in Montreal in 2002, where it was topped with foie gras. Other upscale Montreal restaurants followed suit. Garde Manger started serving Iron Chef American award-winning lobster biscuits, and Quartier Latin Tavern included steak, truffles and demi-glace red wine biscuits on their menu.
Several Canadian restaurants have made poutine their primary focus. La Banquise in Montreal started serving it in the 1980s. They started with the standard version and the Italian version with bolognese sauce instead of gravy. Since then, they have expanded to serve 30 varieties. Smoke's Poutinerie, founded in Toronto in 2008, was the first habit-only restaurant in that city. Other casual fare-only restaurants then in Canada are Poutini's House of Poutine, La Poutinerie and Poutineville.
Poutine made its debut into the United States in New Jersey and New York, where a version of the recipe known as "Disco Fries" became the most popular. This version substitute’s mozzarella or cheddar cheese for the curd. Since then, Poutine has grown in popularity in the United States as well as in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Russia.
As mentioned, there are different varieties of poutine in addition to regular fries, cheese curds, and gravy combinations. Potatoes, cheeses and sauces can be used for making differences. Italian dishes may use spaghetti sauce instead of gravy; vegetarian poutine made with mushroom and vegetable sauce; Irish dish made with lard. La galvaude comes from Gaspésie and is made with chicken and chickpeas. A special version of Montreal uses smoked meat to make this dish.
Festivals devoted to poutine are held throughout Canada throughout the year. Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto are some of the cities that keep them. On National Poutine Day, there are a variety of parties and specials at restaurants in some countries such as Canada and the United States. For example, My Meatball Place in Toronto gave away free samples of vegan meatballs and poutine, and The Hops Spot in Syracuse offered half the price. With a wide variety of poutines at so many different restaurants, with poutine’s serve in several parts of the world, there is no reason to go hungry on Poutine Day.
How to make Poutine
Making authentic poutine is not as simple as taking some french fries (or french fries), adding some cheese, and then pouring gravy on top. There are certain requirements for each of the three ingredients in a meal.
- Fries should be moderately thick. The right dish would be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Cheese must be in curd form and must be fresh. The curds should be soft when coated with hot gravy without melting completely.
- The gravy should be brown, rich, and fragrant. It must also have the right consistency. It shouldn't be runny, but it should be thin enough to go through the gaps between the chips.
- Curd cheese and hot gravy must be added just before the poutine is served.
In some places, you can buy canned or dehydrated poutine or sauces at stores. Since I have never tried these I do not know how good they are, but some people say they like them. They can be helpful for someone doing a routine at home. There can be at least one advantage to implementing a routine of your own. I always like the taste of the dish, but I find some versions too salty.
Rise and Variations
After the dish became popular in the small towns of southeastern Quebec, it arrived in Quebec City in 1969 (at the Ashton Snack Bar on Hamel Avenue) and in Montreal in 1983. Being a popular street food, poutine has become a favorite dish on menus in Quebec and Ontario.
As the popularity of poutine spread, various iterations began to emerge, such as the Italian poutine (made with spaghetti sauce or sausage instead of gravy), vegetable poutine tubers (made with mushroom and vegetable gravy) and Irish flatbreads (made with lard). Regional variations include la galvaude from Gaspésie, made with chicken and chickpeas, and Montreal-style poutine, made with smoked meat, which goes by two names.
By the 1970s, a version of the dish appeared as far away as New York and New Jersey, where it was called "discovery fries" and was made with shredded mozzarella instead of frozen cheddar cheese. However, purists consider authentic poutine to contain curd cheeses that "crack" like those produced in its region of origin.
Poutine was first appeared in a restaurant chain in 1985, by the short-term franchise Frits in Québec (the company founded in 1988). In 1987, Jean-Louis Roy, a Quebec-based Burger King franchisee, convinced the chain to offer poutine on his menu. This loved dish started to appear in all stores in Quebec, and in Hawkesbury, Ontario later. McDonald has made fast food famous when it decided to add it to the menus of its stores in Quebec in 1990 before expanding its offering to other Canadian locations. Canadian chain Harvey's also added poutine to menus across the country in 1992.
There were a lot of specialty poutine chains and restaurants in Canadian cities, including Smoke's Poutinerie (2008) and Poutini's House of Poutine (2009). Apart from the United States, it has become popular in many countries including the United Kingdom, South Korea, and potato-friendly Russia, where it is known as Raspoutine.
For many people, poutine is an unlikely choice for high-end dining; the sturdy classic has become a favorite dish during the comfort food revolution in the 2000s. In the culinary movement back to the basics, chefs have begun creating premium take on nostalgic favorites - including burgers, mac and buns and cheese and poutine.
Famous Montreal chef Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon was the first to raise the bar for poutine. In 2002, he introduced a special dish, named his foie gras poutine, which combines high-end Quebec dishes on a single plate.
Gourmet biscuits are starting to appear on menus at upscale restaurants in other cities like Toronto, where lobster is made at Chef Mark McEwan's Bymark and braised beef at Chef Jamie Kennedy's restaurant of the same name is now defunct.
How to celebrate National Poutine Day (Canada)
Do you have any ideas for this day? Below are some references for you to choose:
- Make a habit of your own. You can make the original version or another variation of the dish. You can even make Disco fries, the Americanized version of the dish.
- Check to see if there's a place near you that serves the usual fare.
- Enjoy this dish at a Canadian restaurant that specializes in the food, La Banquise, Smoke's Poutinerie, Poutini's House of Poutine, La Poutinerie or Poutineville are some typical examples. Smoke's Poutinerie also has several locations in the United States.
- Eat cookies at a restaurant in Warwick, Quebec, the town where the dish is believed to have originated, or eat at Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville, Quebec, another location that is believed to have started popping up.
- Enjoy some poutine at Harvey's or any fast food restaurant in Canada with your friends or you relatives.
- Come to enjoy this special dish at a Canadian restaurant such as Aud Pied de Cochon, Garde Manger or Pub Quartier Latin.
- Choose any available specials at restaurants like My Meatball Place in Toronto or The Hops Spot in Syracuse.
- Make a plan for a trip to enjoy a casual festival, such as Le Grand Poutinefest in Montreal, the Ottawa Poutine Fest or the Toronto Poutine Fest.
ObservedNational Poutine Day (Canada) has been observed annually on April 11th.
Monday, April 11th, 2022
Tuesday, April 11th, 2023
Thursday, April 11th, 2024
Friday, April 11th, 2025
Saturday, April 11th, 2026