On a recent grocery run, something in the frozen food aisle caught my eye: Michelina's Poutine.
This intrigued me for multiple reasons, both as someone who has enjoyed a number of this brand's microwavable meals in the past and as a poutine purist who wondered if this could even live up to the Canadian classic.
I brought it home, prepared it directly following the steps on the packaging and documented my honest opinion.
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What does Michelina's poutine look like?
Just looking at the packaging, one would be inclined to say that this is not poutine.
The product is described as "fries with gravy and cheesy topping" which is already a red flag. In my books, if it doesn't have curds it doesn't count.
The accompanying photo on the box shows a steamy pile of fries with some gravy and what appears to be shredded mozzarella.
However, once I actually opened mine up I didn't even get shredded cheese. There was a complete absence of any dairy topping whatsoever.
The fries inside were crinkle cut, which is fine, but was unexpected given they don't look like that on the package. The only other issue was the slightly smaller portion size.
What does Michelina's poutine taste like?
To be frank, this does not taste like poutine. It lacks the proper textures and the cheese which is a staple of the dish.
That being said, it's not disgusting.
While it is soggy in texture, and the fries have absolutely no crisp to them, it tastes like potatoes with gravy on them which isn't a bad flavour, it's just not what's advertised.
The sauce itself is decent as it's not too salty and has a good consistency.
Is this poutine?
As a self-proclaimed potato expert, I can confidently say this isn't poutine in any way, shape, or form.
I simply cannot overlook the lack of cheese, and even if it had looked more like the packaging, it still wouldn't have counted because poutine isn't made with shredded cheese.
Upon closer inspection, the box says it's a "Product of The U.S." and while there's nothing wrong with that — Michelina's is an American company after all — in my experience if you want good poutine you have to keep it Canadian.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Narcity Media.