By WAHEEDA HARRISIn Quebec’s bucolic Eastern Townships region near Montreal, you can find plenty of gourmet souvenirs as you wind your way from Sherbrooke down to Lac Brome on Route 112. Stop #1: Magog
Driving time: 30 minutes from Sherbrooke, 1½ hours from Montreal
Fuel up on café au lait and pastries on the terrace at Buon Gusto, a slice of Italian culture, Quebecois style. Of the wide variety of local and international gourmet offerings for the pantry (jams, pastas, balsamic vineDgars and more), the house-made gelato is the hardest to resist.
Stop #2: Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley
Driving time: 15 minutes
Head south a mere 10 km to tour the fragrant gardens of Rose des Champs, with 850 varieties of roses display across four acres. The owners create organic rose water and rose jelly in addition to beauty products.
Stop #3: Fitch Bay
Driving time: 40 minutes
Mosey south on Routes 55, 141 and 247 for about 30 km until the vast fields of Bleu Lavande are at your feet. After a tour, have lunch surrounded by the blue-purple flowers, keeping room for lavender crème brulee and time for a field-side massage. Take-home options include lavender jelly, honey, seasoning, candy and chocolate.Stop #4: Saint-Benoit-du Lac
Driving time: 60 minutes
Driving north along Lake Mephremagog on Route 247 to Route 112, make a stop at L’Abbaye Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, celebrating its centenary this year. This elegant monastery is known for its Bleu Benedictine cheese and in-house creations of jam, applesauce and apple cider.
Stop #5: Lac Brome
Driving time:45 minutes
In less than hour, find yourself on the shores of Lac Brome and at the Auberge & Spa West Brome. Foodies will appreciate the wide range of local ingredients found in cuisine created by Chef Emmanuel Godin on the Auberge menu, including the famous Lac Brome duck, found in duck confit and a foie gras ballotine with ice cider jelly and brioche.