For most of us, Laval is associated with residential neighbourhoods and large boulevards lined with shopping centers.
But its agricultural side, which allows for beautiful gourmet trips, might surprise you!
This is not surprising when you consider that 30% of Laval’s territory is in permanent agricultural zones, mainly in the eastern part of the island and in Sainte-Dorothée.
The island has more than 120 agricultural businesses and about 50 farm stands offering horticultural and agricultural products, cooked food products and agrotourism activities.
So, if you want to stock up on delicious local products, pick your own vegetables and fruits, get some beautiful flowers, get lost in a maze of corn or sunflowers or be surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see, head for Laval!
Here are 7 suggestions of places to add on your gourmet itinerary in Laval.
1. Ferme Vaillancourt
With more than 185 years of existence, it’s fair to say that the Vaillancourt Farm is well established in the Laval landscape.
It is now Vicky Vaillancourt, also behind O’Citrus, the only citrus farm in Quebec, who has taken over the reins of the family business.
Don’t be surprised if you also see plant sculptures while you are there because this is also where many works are created for the Mosaiculture and the City of Laval.
During a visit to the farm, you can pick your own fruits and vegetables in season or buy them at their boutique.
New this year, Ferme Vaillancourt is also taking part in the July 15 nature-culture tour, When art meets the countryside.
Jams, donuts, pies, fresh fruits and vegetables, pickles, dairy products, homemade pastries, annual flowers and one of the best fruit ketchup I have ever tasted are just a few of the products available.
Vaillancourt Farm (3155, avenue des Perron, Auteuil, Laval)
2. Ferme Forget
Mathieu Forget, with his wife Rebecca, took over the family business, which has been in operation in Saint-François in Laval for more than nine generations.
In addition to the usual pick-your-own activities, they offer an agrotourism farm concept where it is possible to spend several hours.
You can stop by their store to buy a few squash from the hundreds available or pick your own.
But with an entrance fee, you can also access all the agrotourism activities of the farm, including access to the sunflower and zinnia fields as well as the corn mazes.
Picnic areas are available, as well as a multitude of activities for children.
As Mathieu Forget explains, the idea is that people can stay longer on the farm and enjoy the environment rather than just picking up a basket of fruit or buying a few products at the store and then leaving.
Here are just a selection of activities planned at Ferme Forget:
- U-pick berries (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) starting June 26.
- Corn maze starting July 29. Dates for the night maze to come.
- U-pick sunflowers and zinnias from August 1.
- U-pick squash and pumpkins from September 1.
- Nature-culture tour Space exploration to the farm (September 23)
Ferme Forget (7901 Marcel-Villeneuve Ave., Laval)
3. Fromagerie du Vieux Saint-François
Sourcing directly from its goat herd, the cheese factory offers a wide variety of cheeses made from goat milk that go well beyond the traditional cheese spread.
They offer cheese curds, cheddar cheese, Haut St-François tomme (firm cheese matured for 2 months), Lavallois (brie) and Petit Cendré (crumbly cheese with an ashy and bloomy rind).
And of course, you’ll find the popular “bouchées d’amour”, soft balls of fresh cheese preserved in grape seed oil, plain or flavoured with herbes de Provence, garlic and parsley or chives.
Other products that highlight goat’s milk are also available, including soaps and original gourmet creations such as a tasty goat gelato, lightly smoked goat meat sausages and kid meat cuts.
Fromagerie du Vieux Saint-Francois (4740 Boul.des Milles-Îles, Laval)
4. Marineau Farm
If you like enchanting scenery, colorful pumpkin fields and gourmet products, you will find what you are looking for at Ferme Marineau, founded in 1921 and now in its5th generation.
Among the wide range of activities offered, depending on the season, there is pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins and sunflowers as well as a sunflower maze.
They also take part in the July 29 nature-culture tour, From lab to field.
Of course, a stop at the store is mandatory, where products of the farm are proposed as well as local products.
They also sell prepared dishes such as the excellent maple and potato donuts or the Marineau beers, made with hops from the Brune Houblonde estate.
In season, you can also stop at the artisanal Marineau creamery, the project of Roxanne and Matis Marineau, where the products are made of natural ingredients of first quality.
Ferme Marineau (4356 Dagenais Boulevard West, Laval)
5. Château Taillefer-Lafon
Vineyards and a castle in Laval? Yes, you read that right!
Château Taillefer-Lafon is the first vineyard to have the designation “Château” in Quebec since it meets the criteria necessary for this type of appellation.
These include the style of the building, the fact that the vines are grown on the estate, and the fact that the wine is vinified and bottled on site.
Grapes come from noble vines (vinis viniferas), and the Château produces a riesling, a chardonnay, a rosé and a red as well as ciders and sparkling wines.
You can find their wines on the menu of several restaurants and it is also possible to buy their bottles by going to the store of the castle.
Open to the public since 2006, reservations can also be made for corporate, private and wedding events. Otherwise, tastings and visits of the castle are possible by reservation only.
We also know that there are some great projects coming up at the Château so keep your eyes open for them!
Château Taillefer-Lafon (1500 Montée Champagne, Ste-Dorothée)
6. Cléroux Greenhouses
I had a big coup de coeur for Les Serres Cléroux. As soon as you walk through the door, you’ll find yourself in a colorful tropical jungle.
The variety of plants and flowers offered year round is impressive and your eyes will not know where to rest in this colorful universe.
In addition to the garden center, you will find a florist, a nursery, teak furniture and a landscaping service on site.
With 1 million square feet of greenhouses in Laval and Mirabel, it is also the largest producer of ornamental horticultural products in Quebec.
No less than 100,000 poinsettia plants are being produced for the holidays.
You should plan a visit to Serres Cléroux at the end of November or beginning of December, when all those poinsettia plants turn red. It is said to be absolutely beautiful!
Check out their Facebook page as well, as they regularly organize activities in the greenhouses, including a Christmas concert this winter and yoga workshops.
Serres Cléroux (1570 rue Principale Sainte-Dorothée, Laval)
7. Farm Market – Laval Lambs
Sheep, of course, but also ducks and chickens are raised on this urban farm.
Stop at the Marché de la Ferme to stock up on lamb products, but also various farm products (eggs, honey, grain-fed chicken, etc.) as well as prepared meals.
While you are in the store, take the opportunity to say hello to the sheep and ducks in their pen.
Marché de la Ferme – Agneaux de Laval (1055 rue Principale, Laval)
Eating and sleeping in Laval
If you feel like combining a gourmet getaway in Laval with a staycation, here are 2 great hotel recommendations, conveniently located near restaurants and only a few minutes away from agritourism stops.
Freshly renovated, the Sheraton has a new look and offers a full range of services including a restaurant, a bar and a superb bistro café with great ready-to-eat options.
Sheraton Laval (2440 Autoroute des Laurentides, H7T 1X5)
Grand Times Hotel de Laval
The Grand Times Hôtel de Laval is the 5th and most recent hotel in the TiMES family and is located in the heart of the Centropolis district.
Brand new and very comfortable, we loved the large rooms on the Penthouse floor and their large windows overlooking the city.
Grand Times Hotel Laval – Centropolis (1700 Jeanne-Mance Street, Laval)
Where to eat
Bête à Pain
The Bête à Pain is both a bakery and a café, and serves a seasonal menu that is absolutely delicious! We loved the dishes offered on the lunch menu, including the sublime grilled carrots and cavatelli with chorizo and corn purée. Of course, the breads and pastries are not to be missed!
Bête à Pain (1969 Autoroute des Laurentides, Laval)
Lov is known for its vegan cuisine and whether you are vegan or not, you are sure to enjoy it. You’ll find the same beautiful decor as in the other Lov restaurants and the same good food: vegan burgers, coconut curry, fries, tacos, dumplings, beet tartar, etc. It’s a nice place to stop for an Happy Hour and grab a bite.
Lov Centropolis (140 Centropolis Drive, Laval)
To end your stay on a festive mood, head to the Gatto Matto which offers Italian cuisine. Pizzas, pastas, tartars, parmesan fries, roasted cauliflower are just some of the dishes served.
Gatto Matto (1950 Claude-Gagné, Laval)