830 Fort Street in Victoria B.C. Canada – on the North side of this bustling one way street – huddled in the middle of a scrum of antique stores and government offices is Choux Choux Charcuterie.
According to their website: “Choux Choux Charcuterie is Victoria’s premiere charcuterie. They specialize in house made pates, sausages, smoked and cured meats. Their products are made on premise, using only fresh, free range, un-medicated pork from Sloping Hill Farm in Qualicum Beach, Mill Bay rabbits, Cornish Game hens and chickens, free-range chicken livers, Quebec foie gras, and Cobble Hill lamb, when available.”
Food expert, Mark Engels, joined me for my first lunch here – and apart from the wall of cheeses, meats and bread that I saw in this cute little walk-in, I did not know what to expect… Okay, I did. Meat. Meat and more meat. Smoked meat. Cured meat. Cheese. More meat. Some bread. Meet. Cheese. Strange Cheese. More meat. Apparently this is a meat lovers paradise. Personally, I like to eat less of the red stuff and more of the green stuff – and I encourage everyone to do the same. Anyway.
When I saw that the lunch special was Sirloin with a swirl of steamed spinach and a lump of blue cheese… I thought to myself: “Self, what on Earth are they going to do with this?” Well – not surprisingly, our 2 identical orders arrived: 2 plates, 2 handsome slabs of beef perfectly cooked (medium rare I think) – about 1 ounce of steamed spinach and 2 or 3 ounces of melting grainy blue cheese on top of the steak. This is crazy, I thought. The French don’t eat like this… or do they?
After resisting the urge to growl and snap at anyone that came near my dish (we were, after all, sitting at a busy sidewalk as civil servants and beautiful people walked by) – and I knew they were looking at my sirloin. I growled under my breath – my upper lip curling slightly revealing perfectly sharpened incisors.
Anyway. The beef was insanely tasty and I felt pangs of guilt with each alternate bite and surges of a B12 rush with the other bites. The perfect follow-up to this feast would be curling up on the sidewalk with a good bone or chasing down a frisbee or a tennis ball.
But at $10.95, this was a fun and filling meal – heck, if they were to add frites (French fries all dressed) they could probably rival those beefy slabs from Brasserie L`ecole. Maybe just maybe.
Next visit: Cheese and bread. And that’s a promise!
Colin Newell is a Victoria resident, University employee and Pop culture savant. His food reviews on this blog make up for the endless political drivel!