The road from Québec to Berlin

Mission Poutine

The story of Germany's first authentic poutine.

The history

Do you know poutine? Almost fifteen years ago, when I ordered my first poutine from a small Montréal diner, I was completely unfamiliar with poutine. The delicious combo of French fries, cheese curds and gravy was to change my life from that summer evening onwards. You can find the story behind it, what moved me to become an ambassador for poutine in Germany and what my future goals are here...

In early 2013, enthusiastic about the culinary esprit of Canada, I wanted to serve my friends in Germany poutine like I had Québec. Because real poutine consists of French fries, cheese curds and gravy, I faced a major challenge in my kitchen: Real curds and a comparable gravy simply couldn't be found in this country. And so the idea was born to fill this gap and create an authentic poutine experience.

To learn how to make cheese curds and poutine-gravy, I researched Canada, visiting restaurants and cheesemakers in Quebec and Ontario. Later I also went to Wisconsin and Minnesota, in the Midwest of the USA, where cheese curds are also very popular.

Back in Europe with the right knowledge in my luggage, I looked for regional manufacturers for my idea of ​​​​producing the poutine cheese (cheese curds) and the poutine sauce (gravy) . It was and is always important to me that the products taste like I was able to enjoy them in Québec.

Finally, in mid-2016, the first cheese prototype was ready to be tested and the Gravy recipe was also making good progress, so I started The Poutine Kitchen, which was initially intended as a street food project. We celebrated the premiere on Canada Day 2016 with an overwhelming success and many enthusiastic poutine lovers. As a result, Canada Day became an integral part of Berlin's cosmos of events and poutine became a popular product at countless street food markets. The Poutine Kitchen even made it into the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper. The Goethe-Institut invited me to Toronto to speak about the function of culinary delights as an ambassador, using the example of Canadian poutine in Germany, of course.

In 2018 I opened The Poutine Kitchen in the popular Arminiusmarkthalle in Berlin. As a result, the restaurant became a popular place for activities related to the culinary friendship between Germany and Canada. The atmosphere and especially our poutine was well received, even Alexandre Cusson, the mayor of Drummondville in Québec, the place where poutine first became part of a menu, found his way to us. His words were: “Best Poutine outside Québec”! I couldn't imagine a better compliment! And Mayor Cusson even invited me straight to Drummondville, where we reunited for poutine a few months later.

The more recent events since spring 2020 have meant an unwanted standstill and new challenges for the catering industry. But the great advocacy of our customers gave me a lot of courage and was the incentive for the further development of the company for the future. My team and I are very happy to be working to ensure that our poutine finds its way home onto your plate and that you can serve poutine to your friends like in Canada. The circle closes!

I wish you a lot of fun discovering and of course cooking yourself. Enjoy your culinary trip to Canada!

As an absolute highlight and for the first time in Germany, you can now buy cheese curds directly from Québec.

Holger Böckner (founder of The Poutine Kitchen)

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