Canada’s 100 Best EIC is on location at the West Coast Fishing Club. Jacob Richler. Our helicopter touched down on the West Coast Fishing Clubhouse landing pad at 1:30 pm – and after a quick lunch, we are kitted up in rain gear and in our fishing gear at 2:30. We have been warned that the fishing so far has been slow, or – at best – up and down.
Well, that’s fishing. The best way to go about it is with modest expectations, patience, commitment – and the unrealistic belief that now that you’ve arrived on the scene, things will surely get better. Well, maybe tomorrow. The biggest salmon landed on Sunday was a 24 lb Chinook reeled in by guest chef Normand Laprise’s wife, Sophie. All I got was a single bite – not even a big one, just a tentative swim-by nibble.
But there are consolation prizes afoot. While the 42 odd guests signed in to the West Coast Fishing Club‘s David Hawksworth and Friends Culinary Retreat were out fishing, largely unavailingly, one of those Hawksworth friends was busy cooking up some better results in the Clubhouse kitchen. Normand Laprise of Montreal’s Toqué! – two-time first place finisher on our annual national best restaurant list – had four courses waiting for us. And at eight o’clock we tucked in.
We began with a chilled yellow tomato soup, rich in the inimitable flavour of ripe, sweet tomato, mildly acidulated with vinegar. In it were cast adrift large chunks of sweet and tender lobster form the Magdalen islands, some sea parsley and coriander flowers. It was refreshing and lovely – and paired very successfully with sparkling wine from Jansz in Tasmania.
For the next course, we swung away from summertime to an exceptional foie gras terrine. A thick tranche of pure foie gras, punctuated with dabs of sea buckthorn puree, some lightly pickled girolle mushrooms, and tiny black raspberries. Instead of a predictable sauterne, guest sommelier Mark Davidson served up a glass of Graves (Clos Floridene 2013) and it worked magnificently.
Next, we had tender roast loin of St-Canut suckling pig, with oregano laced-pork jus, braised fennel, and an exceptionally flavoursome purée of Quebec grown lentils (with this we drank 2014 Torbreck, from Australia’s Barossa Valley).
Finally, we checked out with a rich chocolate tart topped with beautiful Quebec strawberries, crimson to the core, and a scattering of honeysuckle berries. After the Banyuls (Domaine Madeloc) it was time for bed. For an early start loomed ahead; we had some fishing to catch up on.
For more information on The West Coast Fishing Club, click here.
Photos: Jeff Vinnick