Today, we visited Île d’Orléans, which is a beautiful (and relatively large!) island just a few miles outside of Quebec City. It is an idyllic island originally colonized by the French that is covered in lavender fields, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, and wineries. One of the most interesting things about it was the widespread presence of cassis, or black currant. Chris was in heaven.
The first winery/confection shop we visited specialized in all things cassis – jams, syrups, candy, and wine and liqueur. We were given a free wine tasting of at least four different types of cassis wine ranging from light to cognac-like (creme de cassis). It was as though Chris was being transported to his childhood days of drinking Ribena, except this experience was much more suited for adults given the alcohol content of these sample sips. I originally thought that maybe it was just this one shop that made black currant products, but in every subsequent shop or winery we visited, they all had black currant items. That black currant flavor is so distinct and delicious, yet it’s such a shame we can’t check any baggage and bring this creme de cassis back with us. It’s the kind of liquid that you just want to keep drinking and drinking, not just for its pure taste, but also for its incredible mouth-feel that is one part syrupy and another part soft and velvety. I can feel my mouth watering as I type this now.