Tag Archives: French-Canadian Culture

The Peasant Cookery: More than a step above the ordinary.

A few months ago I was doing some volunteer work with a group for men wanting to change their lives.  The work itself was incredibly rewarding but little did I know that I had gastronomic reward also waiting for me.  At the end of the course our group facilitator Mel handed me a thank you card for all of my efforts.  Inside was a gift certificate for any number of city restaurants in the WOW! chain of establishments.  But this certificate came with certain restrictions.

In her patented stern yet amazingly gentle way Mel informed me that I could use the certificate at any one of the WOW! restaurants as long as I chose The Peasant Cookery.  During the course Mel and I had often talked about our passions for finding great meals separate from the throng of mundane chain establishments that seemed to be sucking the life out of the Winnipeg dining scene.

In any case when I arrived home from work yesterday I could tell that Darlene was itching to go out on the town for dinner.  She suggested Hermanos, an all time favorite steakhouse of ours, until I remembered that gift certificate I had tucked away in my wallet a few months ago.  I suggested the Peasant Cookery and within minutes we were out the door and headed down to the exchange district in search of a great meal.

The Peasant Cookery in the 105 year old Traveller’s Block.

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Hé Ho the party is on at Festival.

“Hé Ho, let’s go to festival”,  Darlene said.  Pronounced “Hay Ho” not “Hee Ho”, is just one of the many things a first time visitor to Festival du Voyageur has to learn when navigating the cultural mores that make St. Boniface’s annual winter festival so unique.

That’s right Anglophones leave your English-speaking ways at the gate of Fort Gibraltar, this is a Francophone festivity.  Based loosely on the mid-winter celebrations of the voyageur, this boisterous party celebrates French-Canadian culture and embraces the close bonds of community that only a harsh Canadian winter can bring.

Having won highly coveted tickets to see an invitation only concert by country music recording artist  Shane Yellowbird, we were all set for a night out.  As we left home the temperature was hovering at a balmy -18c but a strong wind decided to play havoc with our plans ensuring that any hardcore partying would have to be done in the relative comfort of one of the event tents set up around Whittier Park.

Having descended back into a deep freeze over the past couple of weeks seemed appropriate for Festival.  Ensuring that all the outdoor events went off without a hitch.  It seems counter intuitive actually wanting frigid temperatures but since so many of the outdoor events are dependant on cold weather not a single soul seemed to mind bundling up before heading out to the park.

Bar de Neige (Snow Bar)

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