Today was a pretty huge day as far as my bucket list goes. I got to check off not just one, but TWO things: dog-sledding and ice fishing. And although “Eating a ton of artisanal chocolate” was not technically on my list, I did that, too. When in Canada, one makes exceptions!
We went to Chiens Traineaus Petite-Nation for dog-sledding. Right on cue, the snow started to fall, adding to the winter wonderland experience. Everyone had a choice of driving the sled or riding in it, and while most of my fellow travel writers chose to take the role of the musher, I gladly snuggled into the sleigh and called out voice commands to my pups. “Hup-hup” for go, “Whoa!” for stop, and “Merci chien!” for thanks dog. Upon returning back from the hour and a half run, I went up to each of my ten pooches, giving a scratch on the belly and a “Merci chien” kiss on the head. The last guy, the leader of the pack, returned the favor by lifting his leg and tinkling all over my snow pants and boots. I guess it was his way of saying, “Welcome to the family”.
For lunch we overdosed on chocolate at ChocoMotive. The chef and owner, Gaetan Tessier, gave us a tour of the adorable shop, complete with tastings of all his artisanal chocolates. My favorite was the salted carmel. Oh, bliss!
We arrived at the gorgeous Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello just in time for ice fishing. As I said before, ice fishing has always been on my bucket list…not so much the fishing part cause of the vegetarian in me, but the idea of standing out in the middle of a frozen lake, drilling holes into thirty inches of ice, throwing back a few brewskies while getting (coldly) in touch with nature has always fascinated me. So I helped the guide drill holes, while taking pictures of my fellow travelers fishing. If you catch something, the Fairmont will cook it up for you for dinner, but to my relief, nobody got more than a nibble.
Dinner was at Aux Chantignoles. The Executive Chef, Serge Jost, did a splendid job incorporating the traditions of fine Eurpoean cooking with regional influence. Veggie samosas, warm apple pie, and maple syrup creme brulee. After all, I had to make sure to replenish all those calories after a day of dogsledding, ice fishing, and chocolate eating.
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen