“What if we did…?” This question, relegated to “later”, “one day” and then never for many of us, turned out to be the starting point of a life project for Didier Lortie and Edith Foliot. They did it ! And that’s how their country fantasy went from dream to incarnation in Maison de Soma, a farm that promises to show us all the colors and flavors with its culinary laboratory focused on the Laurentian terroir. and its seasonal cuisine.
It is five minutes from the city of Mont-Tremblant, on the rural and rural side of this resort area, that Maison de Soma opens in July. On plots of agricultural land, a couple of creative people realize their desire for food self-sufficiency and their desire to explore boreal flavors through agriculture and wild gathering. The duo thus joins the new explorers who step by step clear up the flavors of the terroir and contribute to the construction of a local food model that aims to be sustainable.
“See the end of the mountain over there? It’s not the fifth of our land! proudly launches the prolific head of Maison de Soma, Didier Lortie, who has found on his 240 hectares of valleys and meadows a playground large enough that he will not have to go around it anytime soon. Edith Foliot, the left hemisphere of the duo, maneuvers the boat – or rather the tractor – to get it to its destination. Soma’s house is in good hands.
Since they moved in with their three young children on this former bison farm two years ago, the place has gone from a wasteland to a place that they will one day be able to call, we hope, of land of plenty. There are already two greenhouses and small outdoor crops, where more than 60 varieties of vegetables and 120 cultivars are growing this year. In addition, there are a dozen laying hens, 300 chickens, 12 beehives, a large sloping orchard and three hectares of berries, including haskap, currant, elderberry, blackcurrant, gooseberry and sea buckthorn.
These small fruits and the larger ones – apples – will be used, among other things, to develop alcohol blends that “break the boundary between wine and cider,” says Édith Foliot. Until then, Maison de Soma is banking on its country refreshment bar with unusual dishes to savor outdoors, which kicked off in early July. The menu will change as the harvest progresses, but these days include the cabbage crepe with marinades, fresh cheese smoked with miso and habanero, as well as cold cucumber soup… among other gourmet delights.
Farm ciders, natural wines and beers from Quebec microbreweries are offered as accompaniments at the counter of the boutique, which also offers a few products processed on site such as marinades, hot sauces and kimchi.
The farmhouse table will be in action from September in the dining room with open kitchen, where a crackling fire will be an integral part of the cooking tools of an exploded kitchen inspired by Asia and South America, but with Quebec sauce, of course!
In Maison de Soma’s culinary laboratory, apples and black garlic have been cooking at very low temperatures for weeks. We are offered to taste these curiosities whose taste, slightly acidulous, is rounded off by a hint of umami. On the shelves are lined up oyster mushroom and shiitake powders, dehydrated lactofermented carrots, misos, syrups of flowers or young shoots of conifers, chutneys, marinades, various fermentations… all from forest picking and market gardening. Enough to make our mouths water and the chip in our ears.
“Here, you won’t find olive oil,” says Edith. It will instead be replaced by a roasted spruce butter whose nutty taste is similar to that of Mediterranean oil, while having the advantage of being local. There will also be no lobster or scallops on the slate. “It comes from too far from here”, chain the entrepreneurs who do business only with local producers and wish to gradually expand their production.
The choice is not lazy: to achieve the food self-sufficiency they aspire to and their production goals, they will still have to deal with a phenomenal amount of paperwork in order to be regulatory – a major obstacle for small farmers, they lament.
Not a sound of machinery on the Maison de Soma site. Instead, you hear the chirping of birds – the real ones and not the social media ones. You can see far, you smell nature, you can feel the sea breeze… A soothing setting for “idea machines” who cut their teeth in the world of advertising and magazines. “I found that my creativity was not used for good business,” says the former creative director who returned to studies in agronomy after an “existential crisis”.
From the moment they met 13 years ago, the dream of going to live in the countryside was already beginning to take shape for Didier Lortie and Édith Foliot, who wanted to be able to raise their children there. They left “Hochelag” for Saint-Sauveur first. But Didier’s career reorientation was the springboard to then migrate to the land of Tremblant and embark on the adventure of Maison de Soma, where they invested all their assets and an inheritance.
The brand will never welcome more than 80 people, and by reservation, “to keep the offer and the experience intact”. She will diversify her production as she experiments and the inspiration of the moment, relying on “her ability to turn around on a 10 cent and readjust the shot as needed”.
Maison de Soma will evolve before our eyes in the coming years and will certainly have some surprises in store for us.
A few days before the opening, a small fear is felt among the troops which now include 13 employees, in addition to the founding duo and their offspring. “But the outcome is so clear that you believe it 100%,” they say. We have two proverbs that we repeat all the time: here, we eat a whale (it’s more local than the elephant) one bite at a time; the other is that if our dreams don’t scare us, we’re not dreaming big enough! »