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There is No Distance Too Far to Travel for the Perfect Lobster Roll

There is No Distance Too Far to Travel for the Perfect Lobster Roll

Lobster roll in Québec

From the moment I drive off the ferry onto Îles-de-la-Madeleine—seven small islands in the Gulf of the Saint-Lawrence in Quebec, six of which are connected by a road—my goal is to find the best lobster roll on the islands.

Lobster has been an obsession of mine since I was a teenager. A treat I would enjoy once or twice each summer, when my dad received a crate of live lobsters from a customer in Prince Edward Island, resulting in an impromptu lobster feast in our backyard.

Large chunks of succulent lobster meat stuffed into a fresh hot-dog bun is, in my opinion, one of the best summer foods in North America. And I will happily eat them any time of day. Still, my first lobster roll experience was a disappointing mix of lobster meat, mayonnaise, small bits of celery, and lettuce stuffed into a hot dog bun. A tuna salad sandwich made with lobster meat.

Surely, I thought, there would be a place on Îles-de-la-Madeleine that serves
lobster rolls with an enhanced flavor profile.

Now a decadent treat in many households in North America (and around the world), lobster rolls and lobster sandwiches have more humble origins on these islands. For the fishermen here, it was a cheap staple, not an indulgence.

At 10:30 a.m., five days after arriving on the islands, I pull into the parking lot at La Renaissance des Îles, one of the biggest lobster-processing facilities on the islands, ready to eat a lobster roll for breakfast. Walking up to the counter in their canteen, I order a lobster roll with a small bag of fries, grab a bottle of Bull’s Head blood orange soda (a Québec soda company), and sit down at a picnic table.

My lobster roll is a delicious combination of large chunks of lobster meat caught the day before, mixed with mayonnaise, small bits of celery, and green onion, in a hot dog bun with lettuce. I set out to find the best lobster roll on Îles-de-la-Madeleine. This is where I found it.

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