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Local festival celebrates Canadian staples

Brad Parker / The Brunswickan

Brad Parker / The Brunswickan

Are you the sort of person that likes poutine and beer?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Any student worth their salt knows that nothing caps off an evening on the town like a fresh poutine overloaded with toppings at 2 a.m.

Come Nov. 8, all your gravy-coated dreams will come true at the second annual Fredericton Poutine Festival, held at the Delta Fredericton Hotel. With afternoon and evening tasting sessions, tickets range from $25 to a $60 VIP package, which gets you unlimited samples of poutine, along with tickets to try beer, cider and mead.

Local venues such as Smoke’s Poutinerie, Johnny 5’s Burger and Fries, the DogHut Canteen, King Street Ale House and James Joyce Irish Pub will be in attendance, hoping to sway attendees with their unique concoctions. There will also be at least 10 different breweries on hand, from titans like Moosehead to New Brunswick favorites like Pump House and Big Axe.

For Lloyd Chambers, co-organizer of both the Poutine Festival and its sister event, the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, it was a no-brainer to pair local brews with the king of greasy fast food. He emphasized the variety of poutines available to sample, which will go far beyond the traditional cheese curds and gravy.

“We’re offering people a chance to try things they haven’t tried before,” he explained. “Everyone loves poutine, but you might have never tried a pulled pork, or lobster poutine. This year we’re even offering a dessert poutine — something a bit different.”

While the poutine will indeed be all-you-can-sample, Chambers suggested patrons pace themselves over the three-hour tasting sessions.

“Last year, a couple of kids in the afternoon went hard for the three hours, by the end they were pretty exhausted — they were sitting at their tables with their heads down, so they might have had too much to eat.”

While Chambers himself prefers the classic Quebecois poutine, he sees the versatility of the dish as its greatest appeal, allowing for a wide range of tastes and culinary preferences.

“People can put their own little flair on it,” he said. “So while it starts with fries and cheese and gravy, there are no set rules — do whatever tastes right for you. Everyone’s taste buds are different. There are some creations that people put together that you may think are absolutely crazy, but they just love it.”

Tickets are available online at Frederictonpoutinefestival.weebly.com.

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