Summer is the perfect time to embark on a road trip and discover the incredible flavours around Canada. Located just east of Quebec City, the region of Charlevoix offers a wealth of cultural and culinary experiences for visitors. When the opportunity arose to join Chevrolet Canada and explore the area in their brand-new vehicle, we couldn’t resist.
The new 2024 Chevrolet Trax is sleek and sporty, boasting all the benefits of an SUV without the bulk. It drives like a sedan, and the high-tech interface paired with top-of-the-line sound equipment makes the entire experience smooth and effortless. To test it out, we hit the road in search of the best flavours in Charlevoix.
Charlevoix is known for its amazing local produce, and the region’s commitment to local and sustainable agriculture can be felt during any culinary experience there. You can taste cheeses, wild mushrooms, wines, spirits and fresh fruits (particularly black currants and apples). With its proximity to the St. Lawrence, Charlevoix also offers an abundance of quality seafood.
Honey and mead, however, were at the top of our list of flavours to explore. Beekeepers in the Charlevoix area take advantage of its diverse flora – things like the region’s wildflowers and blossoming fruit trees contribute to the unique flavours of the honey. It varies greatly in flavour, depending on the time of year and the types of flowers the bees have foraged from. Wildflower, clover and raspberry blossom are only a few of the rich flavours you can find in Charlevoix’s liquid gold.
At Hydromel Charlevoix, beehives are located in various sub-terroirs, which produces unique flavours depending on their location. We stopped at the hives in La Malbaie to experience firsthand the process.
I have to confess, I’ve always been a little nervous around bees. Fortunately, Alexandre Cote – one of the owners and “beemasters” at Hydromel – put me completely at ease. His evident knowledge and care for the bees was on full display, and it gave us a new respect for how hardworking the insects truly are. Once we finished at the beehives, we hopped back in the Trax and travelled to the Hydromel Charlevoix Distillery in Baie-Saint-Paul. It’s a cute store and the perfect place to experience some fine snacks and shopping after a sunny morning of beekeeping.
As we made our way through the region, we discovered many artisan cheeses. My personal favourite? Le Migneron de Charlevoix. This semi-soft cheese has a creamy texture and a slightly nutty flavour with just the right amount of salt. It comes from a unique fromagerie, started by Maurice Dufour and Francine Bouchard in 1994 and now run by their son and daughter. The second generation has expanded the dairy to include a unique winery, and they also recover and distill the whey from their cheese to create quality spirits.
Our stay at the Repère Boréal was a truly unique stop along the flavour trail. This nature-surrounded retreat provides an incredible balance between outdoor adventure and luxury accommodation.
The retreat was designed by the Galarneau brothers, who were driven by their respect of the environment have a keen eye for details. Each unit is designed to blend seamlessly into the forest, providing a true wilderness experience. You have a few options for accommodations: the incredible Uhu units, 10 meters above the tree canopy overlooking the St. Lawrence, are easily the most luxe. There are also container units and cozy cabins (all with expansive windows) nestled in the forest.
The Nordic spa tucked in the woods – with a spacious outdoor hot tub, cold plunge and sauna – is one of the most serene places you can find in Charlevoix. Relaxing in the wilderness, with spa music quietly playing and a massage waiting indoors, is the best way to complete a day of culinary travel.
All foodies know this to be true: sometimes, the best flavours take a bit of trekking to get to. ELLE Gourmet is on a full-time quest to find the most stylish and comfortable modes of travel, and our trip through Charlevoix made one thing very clear: the 2024 Chevrolet Trax is in a league of its own. Whether we were taking a scenic drive through picturesque countryside or venturing to the Quebec backwoods, the Trax drove seamlessly and allowed us to fully focus on the experience around us. With an affordable price tag that leaves lots of room for travel expenses, it’s the natural choice for foodies hitting the flavour trail this summer.