Just when I start thinking that life can’t possibly hold any more culinary surprises, I find myself at Auberge la Montagne Coupee, a lovely resort and country inn nestled into the crown of Montagne Coupee in Saint-Jean-de-Martha, Quebec, when co-owner Marie Prefontaine points out a striking modernist building o’er yonder.
“It’s the Abbaye Val Notre-Dame,” she explains.
“An abbey, like where monks live?” I say, amazed by my seemingly endless supply of religious knowledge.
“Yes. And they make wonderful chocolates full of a caramel sauce that they are very famous for.”
I don’t stick around to ask any more questions. Instead, I’m off, Speedy Gonzalez-style hightailing it from the hilltop through the snow, over to the car and down the mountain to the large shop at Abbaye Val Notre-Dame, all the while thinking that, maybe, just maybe, the monks hold the secret to the Caramilk bar.
About 20 monks live within the wood and glass structure, where Gregorian chanting can be heard from on high. The shop boasts all manner of religious books, jewelry, as well as a huge selection of local cheeses, sauces, jams, cured meats and ceramics.
I buy some of the chocolates, a jar of the specialty caramel, plus another one hit with local maple syrup.
And they all taste as good as sin.