Feast-ivals! Poutine and more

On Saturday, September 8 , the Gendron Franco Center on Cedar Street in Lewiston will host the first Lewiston-Auburn Poutine Feast-ival from 4 to 8 PM., in the street and inside the Franco Center. Food trucks will encourage participants to “graze” through the many flavors of  French-Canadian favorite poutine recipes. A history of this potato based recipe attributes its origins to a chef in Quebec.

I recall the first time I enjoyed eating poutine was when friends Judy and Ross Paradis invited me to visit Aroostook County. We went to dinner at a popular lake side restaurant where one of the appetizer specialties was poutine. The recipe included thick cut fried potatoes drizzled with excellent brown gravy and topped with a melted cheese. Of course, it was a shared appetizer!  Since then, my husband and I enjoyed another version, called lobster poutine, when we visited Nova Scotia.

In other words, lobster poutine ingredients included huge chunks of deliciously tender lobster meat!

Poutine was described in the magazine “Cottage Life” as “melty, meaty, cheesy and salty”. Poutine combines several wonderful flavors and textures, in one bowl.

Poutine

Our homemade rendition of “poutine a la L’Heureux” served with our L’Heureux “les fetes”. (L’Heureux photograph)

Now the many tastes of poutine will be available for sampling at the upcoming greater Lewiston-Auburn Weekend Festival.  Other events are also planned.

Mitch Thomas, the executive director of the Gendron Franco Center sent out an announcement about the planned Poutine Fest-ival program:  “We invite people from around Maine and the region to feel welcome to come and enjoy our two-day celebration in the Twin Cities of Lewiston and Auburn. We truly hope this will be just the first of many late-summer events like this one in our beautiful multi-cultural community.”

“The corner of Oxford and Cedar Streets in Lewiston will become a block party with food trucks serving your favorite Québécois poutine!” said Francis Gagnon, the event’s volunteer coordinator. “Inside the magnificent building, the Franco Center will open the bar and the kitchen with Franco favorites such as pea soup, meat pie and beans and hot dogs, to name a few.”

Mitch Thomas at the Franco-Gendron Center

Mitch Thomas is executive director of the Franco-Gendron Center in Lewiston, venue for the Poutine Festival. (L’Heureux photograph)

A competitive pichenotte  board-game game, sometimes referred to as “piche” or “pish” tournament will begin at 3 p.m. for the L/A Pichenotte crown title trophy. “Start practicing your skills to meet the challenge against 40 other teams,” said Gagnon. Call (207) 783-1585, and visit FrancoCenter.org to register and for more information.

Food and beverage tickets start at $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Booklets include 4 food/drink vouchers. Early sign up early is encouraged, as the Pichenotte Tournament will fill quickly and food and beverage booklets may sell out. Advance tickets are sold by calling (207) 783.1585 or visiting the Box Office at 46 Cedar Street or FrancoCenter.org.

The event is sponsored, in part, by the Québec Government Delegation in Boston, the Lewiston and Auburn public libraries, the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, the Franco-American Collection at USM, Museum L/A and many local businesses.

Moreover, the event is part of the bigger L/A Festival Weekend, which also includes Museum L/A’s Dance Party Under the Stars II , and the two-day annual Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival .

Dance Party Under the Stars II, will help kick off the weekend on Friday, September 7, from 7 to 11 p.m.at their future home, located on Beech Street, in Lewiston. The long-standing anchor of the Festival Weekend is the annual Lewiston-Auburn Greek Festival, on Friday and Saturday, September 7 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  It will be held both days at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, at 155 Hogan Road in Lewiston.

Bon appetit!

Juliana L'Heureux

About Juliana L'Heureux

Juliana L’Heureux is a free lance writer who publishes news, blogs and articles about Franco-Americans and the French culture. She has written about the culture in weekly and bi-weekly articles, for the past 27 years.