Canadian Embassy Brings A Little Taste Of Canada To Laos

Embassy Brings A Little Taste Of Canada To Laos
Workshop on French-Canadian Cuisine.

On 19 March the Office of the Embassy of Canada and Pie my Love hosted Vientiane’s first cooking workshop on French-Canadian cuisine.

Approximately thirty guests attended the workshop, a third of whom were Lao students taking French courses at the National University of Laos. The event took place at Love Life Café and was part of this month’s celebrations for the International Day of La Francophonie on 20 March.

The International Day of La Francophonie was inaugurated in 1988 to commemorate the creation of the institution of La Francophonie, a place for solidarity among French-speaking countries and a recognized force in international relations. Both Canada and Laos are members of La Francophonie and every year in the month of March the two countries take part in events to celebrate the French language and French-speaking communities around the world.

Canada’s cooking workshop was animated in French and English by Vincent Laframboise, a French-Canadian chef, and partner at Pie my Love in Vientiane. Mr. Laframboise began the workshop by introducing French-Canadian cuisine. He explained that around 80% of all maple syrup in the world is produced in Canada, with the majority of production coming from the French-speaking province of Quebec.

Maple syrup, which is made from the sap of maple trees, factors importantly in Canadian cuisine, especially Canadian desserts. At the workshop participants were taught to make maple syrup butter tarts. They mixed the ingredients themselves and were invited to take their tarts home at the end of the workshop.

After preparing their desserts, participants were treated to a traditional French-Canadian meal, including ham and pea soup, fresh bread, maple glazed ribs, and poutine. The poutine, Canada’s informal national dish, was made from French fries, gravy, and fresh homemade cheese, which was prepared by Mr. Laframboise ahead of the workshop. The dish was served in the traditional Quebecois style—spread along the table on parchment paper.

According to Chargé d’Affaires for the Office of the Embassy of Canada to Laos, Mr. Bob Paquin, the poutine served at this weekend’s workshop set a record as the longest poutine in Southeast Asia, and maybe all of Asia.

As a concluding treat, Mr. Laframboise and the staff at Love Life Café rolled out a large bucket of snow onto which they poured hot maple syrup. The maple syrup cooled on the snow and was rolled onto popsicle sticks and served to participants. This dessert, known as tire d’érable sur la neige (maple syrup on the snow), is traditionally served in Quebec sugar shacks in the months of March and April.

At the workshop participants were encouraged to practice their French and learn about French communities in Canada. Throughout the month of March, the embassies of France, Luxemburg, Belgium, and Switzerland, as well as French-speaking groups in Vientiane such as the theatre group Betes-sur-la-lune and National University of Lao’s pole Français, participate in cultural events promoting the French language and the cultural-heritage of French-speaking communities around the world.