Tree To Table and Beyond: Seven Seasonal Flavor Profiles in Quebec

The idyllic countryside of Canada’s Eastern Townships is undergoing a culinary transformation, and Manoir Hovey, a Relais & Chateaux lakeside resort, is at the forefront of the movement. Here, Chef Francis Wolf pushes the boundaries of traditional Canadian cuisine with his ambitious, terroir-driven Quebec cuisine, inspired by seven seasonal flavor profiles derived from the abundant ingredients in Quebec’s rivers, lakes, fields and forests.

Birch, Chevreau (Goat Calf), Seafood and Shellfish, Wild Mushrooms, Plants & Herbs, Sea Plants, Poultry & Fowl, and Preserves will be highlighted through culinary events and year round menu offerings.

To celebrate foraging season’s wild mushrooms, plants and herbs, Manoir Hovey will host a special dinner on May 16, featuring a tasting menu by Chef Francis Wolf and Montreal’s rising chef, John Winter Russell, as well as a presentation by leading foraging company Gaspesie Sauvage, and a guided foraging tour with the chefs on the Manoir Hovey property.

Then, as the seasons change, the menu will reflect each of these seven flavor profiles:

Birch: The abundance of birch trees at Manoir Hovey makes it ideal for the “tree to table” production of birch syrup and birch vinegar. In early spring, the birch trees at Manoir Hovey are tapped, and the sap is made into birch syrup and vinegar. 100 – 150 liters of birch sap make just one liter of syrup, and Le Hatley is possibly the only Canadian restaurant to engage in this practice.

Chevreau (Goat Calf). Le Hatley is one of the few, if not the only restaurant in the region, to feature this delicate meat on the menu, which includes Fitch Bay Goat Calf with Pine, Field Peas, Turnip, Black Radish, Mint, Blue Stalk Mushroom.

Seafood & Shellfish: The nutrient rich St. Lawrence River, and the waters of the Atlantic Coast provide an abundant array of seafood that is featured on the menu year round, but especially from April through June. Sea Urchin, Fresh Nordic Shrimp, Snow Crab, Lobster, Sea Snails, Gooseneck Barnacles, Razor Clams and Sea Scallops can be found on the menu.

Wild Mushrooms, Plants & Herbs: In addition to the numerous wild treasures that can be found on the Manoir Hovey property, Chef Wolf works with a network of foragers in Quebec to source the highest quality foraged ingredients, including fiddleheads, morrels, wild ginger, and spruce.

Sea Plants: In the summer, sea asparagus, sea spinach, and seaweed are foraged along the St. Lawrence River and provided to Le Hatley by Les Jardins de La Mer, operated by Claudie Gagné, a local producer who lives in a church and dries part of her harvest in a school bus. Other interesting products are beach rose hips, fresh local elderberry and celtuce stems.

Poultry & Fowl: Chef Wolf sources locally raised, free-range guinea fowl, goose and wild turkey that are fed under a tent that is re-positioned every day. One of the true highlights of the Le Hatley menu is the exceptional foie gras, sourced from La Canardière. Many of the best chefs in Canada and the U.S. consider this the best quality duck foie gras found available anywhere in the world, and it is served in the top restaurants in North America.

Preserves: One of Manoir Hovey’s most notable products of the winter season is the house made winter harvested apple vinegar. It’s made from apples that are left on trees through the first frost, which changes their sugar profile and allows for a unique flavor. Other staples come directly out of the birch and sumac vinegar cellar, as well as in-house dried products such as chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, dry seaweed, kelp, Irish moss, sea lettuce, root vegetables, winter squash and the chef’s own winter stored carrots.

About Chef Francis Wolf:
Chef Wolf has been an integral part of Le Hatley Restaurant’s kitchen team at Manoir Hovey since 2001. He began his culinary apprenticeship in his home province of Quebec, going on to hone his skills at celebrated New York restaurants under the auspices of chefs like Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud and Charlie Palmer, and then, later, in San Francisco with Gary Danko.

About Manoir Hovey
Located just 75 minutes from Montreal, Manoir Hovey is a five-star Relais & Châteaux property on the shores of Lake Massawippi. One of Canada’s most charming and romantic inns, it has 37 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, year-round activities, and hosts weddings, conferences and special events. Its award winning restaurant, Le Hatley, showcases the finest regional cuisine and extensive wine list. Overlooking the lake and surrounded by English gardens, the dining room has a tranquil setting with breathtaking views. For information, visit


Helen Patrikis