The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 02.01.08


Sugar coating Quebec's latest bilk job

It is a privilege living here in Quebec, what with the advantage of paying the highest taxes on the continent, our wonderfully safe road infrastructure, our tolerant language freedoms and warm weather. To add to our Joie de Vivre we were delivered a gift yesterday to signify our special status as a nation within a nation.

Yesterday, the price of milk in Quebec rose 4.6 cents a liter and allows us to pay forty percent more than what others pay in Canada. We like this because we enjoy price fixing here and it helps define us as a nation. It is what really sets us apart from the infidels who are unfortunate enough to reside in other provinces.

You don't know what you're missing and we have a distinct cultural advantage. For example, where else can you so readily procure a tub of white margarine?

An informal survey this week by professor of marketing at the University of Regina, Sylvain Charlebois, revealed that a four-liter container of two percent milk retails in Toronto for $4.55, in Edmonton for $3.94, in Vancouver for $3.77 and in Regina for $3.71.

The same four-liter container of two-per-cent milk now retails for about $5.40 in Quebec.

A report delivered by the Montreal Economic institute last autumn showed that Quebecers pay an extra $300 a year on milk, eggs, and poultry.

Plus ca change, plus c'est pareil...

We might consider replacing our mandatory Quebec license plate slogan of Je Me Souviens with Same As It Ever Was. Of course this would be in defiance of the Quebec language charter and incur an immediate complaint by L'office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) and we just can't have that now, can we?

Here is what they would have to say on the matter:

La publicité doit se faire en français (Charte, article 58). Elle peut &eacukte;galement etre faite à la fois en français et dans une autre langue pourvu que le français soit nettement prédominant, c'est-à-dire que son impact visuel soit beaucoup plus important.

I tell you, as a Quebec privilege, we are constantly force-fed legislation resembling the practice that produces Foie Gras....

Yesterday's milk hikes are largely due to increased costs of roughly four percent in production of grain as well as rising fuel prices. While an adjustment may be warranted to support farmers who produce the milk, they in fact will only see two cents of the increase while Quebec retailers, distributors, and processors will pocket the rest.

On a positive note, I thought I'd make some sweet Quebec Fudge to put our expensive milk (or cream and butter) in this case to good use. It will take away some of the sour taste in my mouth I think.

Sucre à la Crème

1-cup sugar
1-cup brown sugar
1-cup heavy 35 percent cream
2-tablespoons butter
1-teaspoon maple syrup
1-cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

In a large microwave-safe container, mix together sugar, brown sugar and cream.

Microwave for 11 minutes, uncovered, on high. Meanwhile, measure butter and maple syrup.

Pour some ice-cold water into a sink; add some ice cubes. Butter a square pan; set aside.

Remove mixture from microwave oven; stir in butter and maple syrup.

Place container into cold water without submerging. Do not allow water to come up over the sides; stir until mixture just thickens.

If desired, mix in walnuts or pecans; pour into prepared mold. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares.