The first ever Poutine Week in Montreal is a citywide no-holds-bar showdown between 30 restaurants, in which novices and masters are pitted against one another in the quest for poutine perfection. (Think of it as the Canadian answer to Nacho Week.)

Among those competing, a good third are sticking with the classic recipe for the gravy and cheese-curd covered french fry dish, with only a few tweaks here and there. Others are exploring the recipe outside of convention. Some of the ingredients being added to nouveau versions include creamed corn, pulled pork, and roasted root vegetables. There is a breakfast poutine with fried egg, and an organic lamb shank poutine with edible flower petals. 

The result is an eye-opening mix of flavors and influences. As one organizer explains, “Poutine Week aims to recognize poutine’s place in the city’s social fabric—and to get people out of their old fast-food habits.”

The real winners of the competition are diners who get to try each participating restaurant’s poutine—all dishes are priced between $5-10—as well as the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation. A portion of the proceeds will go to the organization.

Poutine Week launched this past weekend and will run until February 7. 

[via The Gazette]