If you are planning a trip to Quebec City in Canada, set aside some time to explore Ile d’Orleans. It’s an island near Quebec City filled with the most adorable farms and tasty shops. I was lucky enough to take a tour here on my recent trip to Quebec City for the Women in Travel Summit. I was looking for things to do in Quebec City in May and found out about a cool Farm + Market Tour around Ile d’Orleans through Quebec City Tourism.
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Ile d’Orleans is about a 45 minute drive from Quebec City. But, it’s one of the top things to do in Quebec City in summer. Hop in your car or join a bus tour to explore this quaint island with a rich history. The island is made up of many small villages that date back to the 1600s. The drive itself is peaceful, with stunning backdrops of forests and the St. Lawrence River. But, to really experience this island, you must get out of the car and explore.
Here’s where we stopped on our 3.5 hour tour:
Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orleans
Our first stop was Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orleans. It’s a chocolate shop that has been around since 1988. It’s located in a house that was built in 1760. Coming from Seattle, that blew my mind!
As soon as I opened the door, the heavenly aroma of chocolate wafted out. Then, I stepped in and it smelled divine! There were lots of prepackaged goodies for people to buy as gifts. We were there right before Mother’s Day, so many people were grabbing gifts for their Moms.
This Quebec chocolate shop only uses quality raw materials imported from Belgium. Our policy is that no chemical preservatives are or will ever be used in their products. They refuse to produce substandard grade chocolate because they believe that quality is essential out of respect for their clients, whose passion is real chocolate.
But, chocolate isn’t the only thing they are known for. In 1990, they began making ice cream and sherbet in the European tradition, using 35% cream, milk and purée of natural fruit. During the summer, they offer 24 flavors of ice cream. I walked by the case and boy did it look tempting!
Since we were visiting Quebec City in May, it was a bit too chilly to enjoy our purchases on the patio. But, I could definitely see my family eating ice cream cones here in the summer. Ile d’Orleans is such a beautiful island!
Vignoble du Mitan
Our next stop was at an Ile d’Orleans winery called Vignoble du Mitan. It was a short drive and we saw so many historic homes. Most of them were built in the 1700s because the ones from the 1600s didn’t survive a massive fire. Each home had so much character.
We got to sample several of their notable red, white and rosé wines. This was also the first time I heard about ice wines. That’s where they freeze the grapes first, which creates a sweeter wine. Those tastings were an additional cost.
Being a family travel blogger, I always geek out a bit when places embrace world travelers! This Ile d’Orleans winery was no exception! I love that they had a world map (in French) so that guests could see all the places people were visiting from. Who knew Ile d’Orleans was such a popular Canadian tourist attraction, especially from Europe?
According to our guide, the home (shown above) is one of the few that survived the fire from the 1600s. It’s located right next to the winery boutique and I just couldn’t stop marveling at it. Our guide told us that the owners wanted to restore it, but it would cost an astronomical amount and there was no help from the Canadian government. It’s a shame because it could definitely use a bit of love. Nevertheless, it’s still worth the drive to see it in person.
During the spring and summer, families can enjoy a picnic with a stunning view of the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Forest. If you are visiting Quebec City in the fall, make reservations for their vine harvest. It usually begins by the end of September to mid-October.
Ok, this was my FAVORITE stop on our Farm + Market Tour of Ile d’Orleans. I’d had “hard cider” before at home and wasn’t impressed. Then, I tasted the ones from Ciderie Bilodeau and it changed my view!
The shop itself is full of the cutest products. I was very tempted by these little bottles of cider, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t drink them because they were just too adorable. However, now that I’m back in Seattle, I wish I had bought some!
I could have easily spent a few hours just hanging out at Cidrerie Bilodeau. It was such an inviting space and would be a fun place for families with kids.
Something that sets Cidrerie Bilodeau apart is that it’s run by the most welcoming women. There were lots of smiles and laughs as they encouraged us to try each and every cider option. It was the first time I’d tried an ice wine and it was spectacular! It was by far my favorite tasting experience!
We also got to try their apple butter. I’ve made apple butter before, but this was head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever tasted. It’s the perfect topping for Dutch Babies or waffles. I bought 2 jars and I’m not sure how long they will last. I’m currently eating some as I write this post!
La Nougaterie Quebec
I didn’t realize nougat was such a popular Canadian candy until I visited La Nougaterie Quebec. It’s located in an unassuming shop off the main road in Ile d’Orleans. When we arrived, the employees were eager to share samples of these delectable treats!
La Nougaterie is first and foremost a candy store and factory, where you can find a wide array of homemade products. Their sweet treats are also available in shops throughout the province of Quebec as well as in some places in Ontario and west Canada. And you can order online.
I’ve been a fan of nougat since I was a kid. But, I’d only tried the basic ones with honey and almonds. Here at La Nougaterie Quebec, they had ones with fruit like apricot, cherry and blueberry. But, the standout was the chocolate caramel. I bought a box for my husband, but ended up eating the whole thing myself. Oops!
Here’s an interesting side note: Nougat is the candy of choice for athletes, as it has lots of energy and very few calories. So, it’s practically a health food, right?
Cassis Monna & Filles
Our last stop was to a winery. At this point, we’d had a lot of wine and sugar, so I only tasted a few of the wines. What’s really cool about Cassis Monna & Filles is that it’s owned by an artist. When you enter the winery from the top floor, you will encounter a statue of a naked man.
We walked down to the daylight basement level and saw a bright and cheery winery boutique! Not only did they have lots of wines, but they also jams, condiments, gourmet food items and more. It’s a great spot to pick up gifts to bring home.
I’m always interested in tasting new things, so I was very excited to try the Crème de Cassis. It’s a black currant based liqueur that can be added to cocktails. It’s quite sweet and would be excellent mixed with soda water on a hot day or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
One of my favorite wines was their Fruité. Like the name implies, it has a strong fruit flavor. Apparently it’s really good in sangria and they have a sangria recipe available.
While we visited Ile d’Orleans in May, it was just warm enough that I could see how amazing the outdoor patio at Cassis Monna & Filles would be in the summer. They had lots of cushioned chairs set up around the property. There were even blankets upstairs for chilly nights.
Other Tours in Ile d’Orleans
In this 3 hour tour, ride a scooter while following your local guide through Ile d’Orleans. You’ll taste local products, learn about the island’s history and marvel at the gorgeous landscape during this fun tour.
Want the same views as a bike tour without all the hard work? This pedicab can seat up to 3 people and you’ll ride through St. Petronille on Ile d’Orleans and taste lots of local products.
Ile d’Orleans with Kids
While I did not take my children with me on this trip, I kept my eye out for things families might want to know. Overall, I’d recommend Ile d’Orleans to families who want to get out and walk around the little villages.
Here are my top things to know about exploring Ile d’Orleans with kids:
- Kids will love sampling the tasty treats at the chocolaterie and nougat factory.
- Parents can enjoy wine while the kids run around the wineries.
- Kids can learn about maple syrup at Erabliere Boily.
- Non-alcoholic apple juice is available at the cidrerie.
- Parc Maritime de Saint-Laurent is a fun stop where kids can learn about boats.
- Families can sample cheese from people dressed up in costumes at Les Fromages de I’Isle d’Orleans.
- Do a side trip to the waterfall as you head back to Quebec City.
This tour was provided by Quebec City Tourism. All opinions are my own.
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