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.