My three culinary favorites of the year!

My three culinary favorites of the year!

What could be better than family gatherings and dinners with friends that introduce you to the wonderful products of Quebec. (Photo: 123RF)

GUEST EXPERT. In keeping with tradition, I am dedicating my last column this year to three of my culinary favorites. As a major player in Quebec’s agri-food industry, I like to share my gourmet discoveries, especially on the eve of the holidays, when we are scrambling to offer our guests a surprising and delicious menu.

What could be better than family gatherings and dinners with friends that introduce you to the wonderful products of Quebec.

However, this year is special. The inflationary crisis, combined with an uncertain and fragile economy, has put enormous pressure on tens of thousands of Quebec families.

Before I introduce you to my three favorites of the year, I invite you during your next grocery shopping trip to buy some non-perishable foods to donate to your local food bank. You’ll give another family the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with food worthy of the name.

Phil & Fred’s Pizzas

Wow… That’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of Phil & Fred’s Pizza and the entrepreneurs behind this great company. Founded in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, this pizzeria started selling its frozen pizzas over a year ago. After their scintillating performance in the show In the eye of the dragonorders exploded!

Their pizzas, which received the Public Prize in the “Quebec foods on my plate” competition in collaboration with Pasquier, are worth the detour: delicious as can be, made with an unlimited amount of high-quality ingredients and a generous and soft dough. Honestly, they simply have no competition on the market!

Fattoush Girls

I admit it: when a company develops great products and also has a mission to change the world, I’m already a winner. Much more than a tribute to succulent Syrian cuisine, Les Filles Fattoush exemplifies the of business by offering Syrian refugees their first job opportunity.

In 2017, faced with a wave of Syrian refugees in Canada, Adelle Tarzibachi and Josette Gauthier joined forces to found Filles Fattoush. The aim was to facilitate the integration of Syrian women by using their culinary know-how.

Six years later, we can only thank Adelle, Josette and their entire team for introducing us to Syrian cuisine through their various products, each one tastier than the last. From Aleppo pepper to a bold vinaigrette and their staple pita chips, their products are sure to steal the show at your receptions!

Quebec food banks

I would be remiss if I did not highlight the extraordinary work of food banks in Quebec. Unfortunately, 2023 was a record year, helping more than 870,000 Quebecers each month, an increase of 30% compared to 2022.

Worse, almost 20% of the people who needed this help have jobs whose conditions do not allow them to support themselves. Unacceptable.

We must not forget that the holiday season is certainly a time for sharing with friends and family, but it must also be shared with those less fortunate than us. Sadly, of the 1,300 organizations that make up the Food Banks of Quebec, 71% of them have literally run out of food!

Banks need pasta, rice, meat, fish, canned fruit and vegetables as a priority. When it comes to monetary donations, know that with $1, the banks are able to give back $16 per meal, which is the equivalent of three meals.

Finally, I would like to wish you beautiful holidays full of happiness, health and rest. Thank you for always reading and commenting on my columns here since my very first one in November 2015. See you on January 3rd!

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