Last night my daughter and I were chatting about when when she mentioned a dish I’d never heard of: poutine. She told me that had eaten it several times when she had visited Montreal.

Poutine, she explained, was chips, gravy and cheese. ‘It might not sound much, but it’s absolutely delicious.’

Her description reminded me that when I was growing up in Derbyshire chips and gravy was a popular request at my local chippie.

I did a bit of research about poutine and, apparently, poutine translates from French-Canadian to either ‘pudding’ or ‘mess’. The dish has been a staple at Québecois greasy spoons since the 1950s, keeping French-Canadians going through unbearably cold winters. Now it can be found everywhere across the province from roadside truck stops and McDonald’s to high-end Montreal restaurants.

Poutine is usually made with cheese curds, the solid bits left from acidifying milk which have a chewy, squeaky texture halfway between mozzarella and halloumi. When combined with fries and a traditional Canadian brown gravy, they semi-melt, making for the perfect winter warmer, drunken dinner or hangover cure.

Some chefs in Canada and the US, have updated poutine with fancy toppings such as pulled pork, lobster or jerk chicken.


I gather there are several places in London serving poutine, so I intend to go and try it.

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