Whisk(e)y tasting a popular part of Celtic Festival

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Julien Bergeron 2013 coordinator of the Celtic Festival is eager to make the Quebec Celtic Festival an international event.

Whether it's Scotch whisky or Irish whiskey or any other kind of whisk(e)y, tasting it is always a hit at the annual Celtic Festival. Such was the case at the first of two whisky tasting evenings held at the Morrin Center on Thursday, August 29.

Both spellings of the word are of Celtic origin, meaning the "water of life." However, whisky generally denotes Scotch whisky while whiskey is used for the alcoholic spirits distilled in Ireland or America.

The first whisky and cheese tasting evening for the 2013 Quebec Celtic Festival brought together some sixty beginners and experienced whisky devotees allowing them to familiarize themselves with whiskies from McClelland's, Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch. The flavours of these whiskies was enhanced with some of the Laiterie Charlevoix's best cheeses.

Festival goer Pierre-Olivier Hamel came to the tasting thanks to positive word-of-mouth feedback about the 2012 event. "I love whisky," declared Pierre-Olivier "and each whisky tonight has been quite different from each other with a more pronounced flavour thanks to the cheeses."

The evening was well animated by Patrick Bourassa, the president of the Quebec Scotch Whisky Club. Patrick's powerpoint presentation of the whiskies and their origins, accompanied by his knowledge of those Scottish regions, was enough to whet the palate of any novice or entice a traveller to book a trip to the Haggis-eating nation.

Quebec Celtic Festival coordinator Julien Bergeron is passionate about the future of the biggest North American Francophone Celtic Festival for Quebecers. "This festival blends local gastronomy and Celtic culture making it more accessible to people. In fact, this cheese and whisky tasting event came about from suggestions received at the end of the 2012 festival." Festival goers are encouraged to send in their feedback online to the festival website at: http://festivalceltique.com/en/.

Bergeron sees the Celtic Festival as an occasion for people to learn more about the diverse Celtic cultures, and are hoping for it to also become major sporting event. The Festival committee has already created links with individuals in Cape Breton and Virginia to broaden the scope of the Quebec festival. The Celtic Games in Virginia attracts over 300,000 people which had Julien ask, "Why should our festival be such a small celebration? The majority of people in Quebec are not aware that 50% of us have Celtic origins. We are the people we are today because of these origins." Bergeron and the other members of the organizing committee have been working on the development of a nationally accredited Highland Games whereby in 5 to 10 years time, there will be a Canadian Highland Games champion.

In the meantime, festival goers can enjoy the Quebec Celtic Festival's Highland Games at St. Patrick's High School starting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, featuring strong men from the four corners of North America, and Gaelic Football on Sunday. Don't miss out on the remaining festivities. For more information go to: http://festivalceltique.com/en/ or phone (418) 692 6079.