Laurent has written an excellent account of our recent holiday on Les Îles de la Madeleine so I won’t bore you with a rehash. However as always I thought I’d post my take on a few things.
On the ferry coming over the big screens looped various videos of facts about Les îles, CTMA job offerings, and advertisements for artisans and services on the Maggies. There was one for a shop that specialized in glassware painted with cartoonish representations of Island architecture in bright, primary colours. We snorted derisively and made mock of these “touristy” chatkas; I mean who would fall for them? Right? Well guess who?
We walked into Creations Nancy on the waterfront at La Grave and I decided in a heartbeat that I needed these martini glasses! Not just needed but wanted! Hey that’s okay we’re tourists!
Also at La grave we came across La Chocolaterie Eaux Îles, a delightful chocolate shop. Of course, we had to verify the quality of the chocolate being sold. I am glad to report back to you that it was excellent! I hadn’t had sponge toffee coated in chocolate in many a year and I am wondering why? During our chat the charming vendeuse asked if we were going to the Grande-Entrée, the north most village on Le îles. If so there was an exceptional casse-croute (snack bar) and we really had to try it. We were. And we did.
However it wasn’t quite a snack bar – it was a small, friendly, exceptional bistro. Bistro Plongée Alpha is owned by diver/filmmaker/photographer Mario Cyr, an authority on marine life in the Gulf and Arctic. One of his stunning documentaries was playing while we had our lunch. It was their first day of the season and we were lucky to get a shared table as it was packed. It seems that along with great food friendly service is a trademark of most eateries on the Maggies – and this was no exception. Much of the produce is local and as he mentioned in his post Laurent had the seal fillet which he found to his taste. Being less adventuresome I had a tomato and cheese pizza. Sounds like a Margherita but it wasn’t. A home made pesto was topped by great sliced rounds of beefsteak tomato and slices of Pied de vent, a splendid local cheese. Washed down with a craft beer from one of the many Island breweries it was the perfect bistro lunch.
As a sidebar on that cheese. Back in 2015 on my brief visit to the Maggies we stopped off at La Fromagerie Pied de Vent for a tasting and I was taken with their eponymous cheese. I bought a round of it and, being me, left it on the boat when we arrived back in Montréal. I made up for it this time and bought two rounds. They have to be consumed before the end of the month – I see a quiche on a future menu.
Pied-De-Vent (foot of the wind) is a local expression for the rays of the sun piercing through the clouds. Madelinots say that these rays of sun announce strong winds.
*Interesting that the facts included some warnings: conserve water it is precious on the Maggies; there is no camping/vans overnight in public places; the undertow is dangerous on the beaches; and there is limited health care available. I found that highly unusual but highly admirable and frankly brave for a place that depends on tourism.
The word for June 8th is:
Bore /bôr/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1. A person whose talk or behavoir is dull or tedious
1.2 A situation which is dull or tedious
2. To make (someone) feel weary and uninterested by tedious talk or dullness.
Late 18th century origins unknown but usually said to be a figurative extension on the notion of “move forward slowly and persistently,” as a boring tool does, but OED has doubts and early evidence suggests a French connection.
English being what it is this is one of four definitions for the same word – each radically different from the other.