“Welcome to Sainte-Flavie.” As soon as I arrived, I was taken by the distinctive ambience of this village, which at one time had been the stomping grounds for a community of artists, as well as some farmers looking to bring the area to life. One of these fine folks was Normand Tremblay, who went on to found the meadery. No sooner had I entered the land of lobsters and fresh air than I saw the 100-year-old building that has housed Vieux Moulin since the ’70s. I already felt inspired!
A family project
The Vieux Moulin meadery is a family affair and it shows. I was greeted in the shop by Nicolas’s son (Normand’s grandson). I soon met Nicolas himself and his brother—the founder’s two sons. It felt like visiting a neighbour’s family home!
At first, the meadery only had three beehives. It now spans many acres of land and produces a wide variety of honey-based products, not to mention an array of honey wine.
The proud inheritor of an extraordinary dream, Nicolas explained that beekeeping is quite rare on the seaside and in Gaspésie because of the climate. That being said, his father was always very hands-on with the project and paid special care to his bees, going as far as to set them up in the most faraway field possible to ensure their comfort. There’s no doubt you can taste the difference it makes when you savour their products.
“This project was born from my dad’s burning desire to get back to the land, at a time when everyone was all about peace and love,” said Nicolas, who’s since taken over the business. “Back then, when we first came to Sainte-Flavie, it mostly had art galleries. Our project kind of made us outsiders. Because our brand of honey has been around since 1979, we’ve been able to carve out a place for ourselves with honey wine,” he added. Their products have even earned many awards.
The back-to-nature movement nowadays is quite similar. It just so happens that the company recently provided beehives to a project led by young up-and-comers in the area.
The story of a village
This place is full of history. The meadery was set up in a century-old facility that used to be the local flour mill. I can easily picture the old factory just by looking at the building and its surroundings.
The establishment was then converted into a summer camp until Normand purchased it. “We sometimes have customers come up to us and say, ‘I used to go to camp here when I was a kid.’ It feels amazing to operate somewhere with this much history,” said Nicolas.
The Vieux Moulin Meadery in Sainte-Flavie is a hidden gem between land and sea that’s sure to please lovers of local products and history buffs alike. The owner even created his own museum devoted to la Nouvelle France on the premises, if only to feed his own passion for Quebec history. It’s a veritable treasure trove of heritage objects and First Nations artifacts.
Trust me—if you’re in Gaspésie, you must come by for a visit. You’re sure to enjoy tasting their delicious products, meeting a friendly family and discovering a piece of local history.
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