Classic poutine. Photo courtesy La Poutine Week | Facebook.
 Gourmet poutine with boar shank, duck confit and foie gras sauce (photo courtesy Brasseur de Montréal).
The first week in February is La Poutine Week in Canada.
Often referred to as the national dish of Canada, poutine is comfort food made of French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy.
It’s the northern version of cheese fries, with brown gravy instead of ketchup. It begs to be accompanied by a cold beer.
GET FANCY WITH POUTINE TOPPINGS
What was a simple recipe, developed decades ago in Quebec as a snack to follow a night of drinking, has become a culinary phenomenon.
During La Poutine Week, chefs at restaurants across Canada pull out all the stops to out-poutine the classic poutine with toppings, that go atop the fries, curds and gravy.
These enhancements are just some of the variations added on top of the basics:
Year-round, La Banquise in Montreal serves more than thirty different kinds of poutine. It’s open 24 hours daily. Here’s the menu.
HAVE A POUTINE PARTY
It’s fun to set up a buffet and let guests top their own.
To make it a group effort, you can ask everyone to bring a different topping.
Plus condiments and garnishes: chopped scallions, fresh dill or parsley, ketchup, mustard, sour cream.
And plenty of beer.
Various places claim the credit for inventing poutine, in rural Quebec in the 1950s, where numerous dairies produced Cheddar cheese curds.
The first leg of the story is that poutine originated in a restaurant called Le Lutin Qui Rit (“The Laughing Goblin”), when a customer asked the owner Fernand Lachance to mix cheese curds with his fries.
A restaurant called Le Roy Jucep is the first to have served poutine as we know it today—French fries, cheese and gravy—in 1964. The owner registered a trademark for the dish.
Another restaurant La P’tite Vache (“The Little Cow”) sold curds from the local Princesse dairy. Customers would order fries and buy a bag of cheese curds to mix together at their tables in a 50:50 proportion. When gravy was added, the dish became known as “mixte” (“mixed”).
The name “poutine” appeared in 1982, when large restaurant chains began to sell it. While no one can explain the derivation for certain, it could be derived from the English word “pudding,” which was expressed as “pouding” in Acadian French.
One meaning of “pouding” in Canada is “an unappetizing mixture of various foods, usually leftovers.” According to Merriam-Webster, poutine derives from a Quebecois slang word meaning “mess.” [Source]
Turn the “mess” into a DIY-topping treat!
Source:: TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Poutine Party