Scenic Charlevoix and La Route des Saveurs

The Charlevoix region extends along the north shore of the St. Lawrence from the charming post-card community of Baie St-Paul to La Malbaie and beyond. The area has a history of being a popular tourist destination and its natural beauty has attracted painters for generations. It’s now home to an eclectic group of artisans who combine their craft skills with online marketing to extend their customer contact and sales via the internet. Once a summer destination, the availability of spectacular downhill skiing, cross country and skidoo trails has opened the area to a 12 month season. Having the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu open year-round has provided the area with an important economic hub, bringing thousands of winter sports enthusiasts into the region every month.

In this installment, we’ll tell you about more of the artisans and farm producers that we visited this past summer.


Sophie Talbot and her daughter Zoe at the family’s Ferme Caprivoix on site store

Danielle Ricard and her partner Jean-Pierre Lavoie said “No thank-you” in 2013 to offers from investors in The Dragons’ Den. The Dragons saw an immense potential for the couple’s Champignons Charlevoix unique zero-waste process for growing oyster mushrooms. Full-sized mushrooms are harvested three times in just 35 days. The couple wanted to expand; but they didn’t want to go to the international scale imagined by the Dragons. They politely declined the offers and continued to build their Charlevoix-based business. They invented a process that uses a mixture of sawdust (from trees on their own property) and coffee grounds (from the local coffee shop Pains d’Exclamation!). The growing medium is recycled to produce gardening mulch.

Visitors are welcome for a free tour from May to October. (Charges may apply for groups.) Their mushrooms and preserves became immensely popular with local restaurants, and they now sell to tourists in their on-site boutique and online, enabling customers to re-order. Pesto is their most popular preserve. The simple ingenuity of their process is fascinating – and it’s easy to see why the Dragons were so enthusiastic. or 418-665-8169.


Louise Vidricaire is passionate about her Azulée lavender farm

Michel Nicol and Sophie Talbot realized Michel’s dream to own a farm and raise beef cattle in 2008. They raise Scottish Highland cattle on their 65 hectare Ferme Caprivoix. They also raise goats for meat, which Sophie likens to veal. They welcome visitors to their farm from June 24 to September 10, coinciding with Sophie’s daytime teaching job. Like the other producers, their passion for their chosen lifestyle and business is inspiring. They sell their meat products to a butcher shops and restaurants locally and to restaurants in Montreal – a large and important market. They recently increased their capacity to raising 250 goats with a new building. Ferme Caprivoix boutique sells a variety of beef and goat cuts, sausages, paté and terrines.

Lavender is one of the world’s most popular scents, and while you’re in Baie-Saint-Paul, a visit to Azulée, the lavender farm owned and operated by Louise Vidricaire is a restful and educational occasion. Louise is a translator by profession, whose clients include the World Bank; but her passion is reserved for her gardens of lavender and other naturally growing herbs. Louise has developed culinary lavender, a lip balm, facial soap, sachets, tisanes and honey. You learn all about lavender with a guided tour of her farm dating back to 1855. For more information:

Charlevoix has many more restaurants, artisans, art galleries and scenic places to visit, and we recommend visiting their website at for the 52-page Route des Saveurs magazine. It’s also available at the Tourisme Québec office in the Dominion Square building at Ste-Catherine and Peel in downtown Montreal.

To learn more about Scenic Charlevoix and La Route des Saveurs read Peter and Beverley Kerr’s Charlevoix – La Routes des Saveurs, Part I