MANCHESTER, NH – Chances are, if you were raised within the borders of New Hampshire you’re probably no stranger to the comfort food that most of us know and love: poutine! But to many visiting New England for the first time, this Québécois delicacy may turn a few heads. It’s a tasty dish locally offered in many restaurants, which often add extra flair to make it their own. This French-Canadian snack is so popular here, it’s even earned its own local event: The New Hampshire Poutine Festival, sponsored by the Franco-American Centre, which will celebrate its third year on the foodie calendar on June 23, 2018 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.
Local vendors from the Greater Manchester Area will be present to offer up their own versions of the dish for public consumption – although tickets are going fast. The event happens to be aligning this year with Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, also known as Fête nationale du Québec. For More information on The Poutine Fest, and to order your tickets, click here.
For any readers who are not familiar with Poutine, the dish is traditionally comprised of three main ingredients: French fries, cheese curd and gravy. Over time, the dish has evolved and many local restaurants have adopted their own versions, often adding different meats, seasonings and cheeses. But what exactly is the history of poutine, and how did it become so popular?
Poutine first made its “grand début” in the late 1950s in the French-speaking province of Québec. Although the exact location of its origin is still widely debated, many restaurants in Québec claim to have invented the regional dish. One popular story places the origin of poutine in a diner in Warwick, Québec. The owner of the Diner allegedly stated “ça va faire une maudite poutine!“ (“It’s going to make a damn mess!”) when asked by a patron to pour cheese curds and gravy on his fries.
Another popular debate surrounding poutine is related to its pronunciation. When visiting Montréal, one might hear it said as “put-tsin,” where locally, many pronounce it as “poo-teen.”
Regardless of the exact origin and pronunciation, since the 1950s, this foodie phenomenon has exploded as a cultural icon of both Canada and Québec. With waves of Canadian immigration in the 20th century, poutine was brought into New England and made its way into the homes, restaurants and culture of the region.
Manchester’s own historic West Side, home to many Franco-American families, boasts one popular diner with particular poutine pride and French Canadian Flair: Chez Vachon.
As one of vendors taking part of the annual NH Poutine Fest, Chez Vachon is regarded as a local hidden gem, offering French Canadian comfort foods including: poutine, crepes, and smoked meats. Chez Vachon has even been featured on an episode of “Phantom Gourmet” and has attracted national attention! Other popular local vendors who are scheduled to attend the event include but are not limited to: Bonfire Country Bar, New England’s Tap House and The Foundry. Whether you’re a Franco-American looking to celebrate your roots, or simply a lover of all things French fry, cheese and gravy, the NH Poutine Fest will likely have something delicious in store for you!
Alec Biron enjoys covering local events and highlighting spots to dine and unwind! Other journalistic topics of interest include: education, real estate, and opinion pieces! Alec graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in May of 2017 with his B.S. in Business Administration and currently is employed full time at SNHU. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, reading, running and traveling to new places. You can contact Alec via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with news tips and story ideas.