The Great Canadian Dessert Search, Edition No. 3

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Posted January 29, 2012 by Adrian Brijbassi in Food & Drink Reviews
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Maxime Fournier still waits tables at Cafe de la Paix, despite taking over as owner last year. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Story by Adrian Brijbassi

QUEBEC CITY — Maxime Fournier will do all the things you would expect from an exceptional waiter in this city known for its food, charm and hospitality. He will explain the dishes on the Café de la Paix menu, pour your wine, refill your water glass and ensure you go for dessert. What the waiter won’t tell you is he owns the elegant restaurant that, like so much else in Quebec, brims with grace.

For 25 years, Fournier worked at the restaurant that’s just off of the main street of Old Quebec, Rue Saint-Louis, before purchasing it a year ago. He continues to wait tables while the previous owner, Benito Terzini, sometimes works as the host.

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The Chocolate Mousse Cake at Cafe de la Paix in Quebec City is divine. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

“We are good friends and he wanted to retire, so we made a switch,” Fournier said with a smile after serving me dinner on Thursday night, the eve of the Quebec Carnival. “My heart is in this house. My two sons work here. I didn’t want to see anything happen to it.”

He said he continues to wait tables because he enjoys hearing what the customers have to say about the restaurant. The hardest part about being an owner is overseeing the accounting and administration of the business. “That’s not so much fun,” he said.

Fournier closed the restaurant for two months for renovations but said there were no major changes to Café de la Paix’s operations or menu. Among the superb items you’ll taste inside the restaurant’s gleaming wooden wall is a divine Chocolate Mousse Cake with English Cream and Raspberry Coulis. The cake has a silky texture that’s firmer than mousse, which allows it to soak up the flavour of the cream and raspberry, giving it a taste that is close to a Black Forest cake but without the heaviness. It’s a treat that feels light and delicate.

The $8 dessert, like the restaurant’s sugar pie and lemon pie that are also popular, is made in the Café de la Paix kitchen. On a busy day, more than 200 servings can be delivered during the lunch and dinner seatings, Fournier said.

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Cafe de la Paix is celebrating its 60th year in Quebec City. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Café de la Paix is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and guests can enjoy a multi-course dinner with wine for $60 per person. The Rack of Lamb for Two ($75) and Bison Filet with Foie Gras ($50) are favourite entrées of guests of Café de la Paix, which serves French- and Italian-inspired cuisine in an elegant space that embodies Quebec’s sophistication and good humour.

MORE ABOUT CAFÉ DE LA PAIX

Prices: A la carte menu items can be as expensive as $85 (Beef Wellington for Two) but many items are reasonably priced. Pastas are in the mid-$20 range, and soups and salads are less than $10. Desserts are $7 or $8.
Ambience: Although it’s a fine-dining restaurant with lots of elegance, Cafe de la Paix has a casual, come-as-y0u-are feel. 
Location:
44 Rue des Jardins, Quebec City (see map below)
Contact: 418-692-1430
Website: www.cafedelapaix.ca

ABOUT THE GREAT CANADIAN DESSERT SEARCH: Vacay.ca is dedicated to find the best travel experiences in Canada, so telling you about the very best dessert choices are a perfect fit for us. And a nice way to justify those sweets we know we really shouldn’t have. If you’ve got a dessert you’d like to nominate for inclusion in our list, let us know and one of our correspondents will check it out. Or write a review yourself and send in photos if you have them and we’ll publish your own great dessert find!

Edition No. 2: Creme Brulee Shooter at Glowbal
Edition No. 1: Jelly Doughnuts at Le Bremner

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About the Author

Adrian Brijbassi
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Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and his articles are frequently syndicated by the Huffington Post and appear in the Globe & Mail. He makes regular appearances on CTV News, TSN Radio and CJSF Radio, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. A former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing and fiction, and has visited more than 30 countries. He is also a judge for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and spearheaded the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list that debuted in April 2012.

 
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