'I didn't know cheese could squeak!' Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager fall in love with Quebec culture
While the co-hosts of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna admit they would typically choose a beach over a snow trip, they were "energized and revitalized" by Québec City
From eating poutine to tobogganing and meeting Bonhomme Carnaval, Québec City seems to have stolen the hearts of Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager.
Kicking off the 69th annual edition of The Québec Winter Carnival in Old Québec, the pair are broadcasting two TODAY with Hoda & Jenna shows from the city this week and showing Americans everything the historic Canadian city has to offer. Speaking to Yahoo Canada Wednesday, before their first live show on Thursday morning in -15 C weather, Kotb and Hager revealed that they are really embracing the cold.
Check out @hodakotb and @JennaBushHager’s adventures so far, from meeting @GenevieveBorne to trying some French-Canadian cuisine and more! ⛷
Sponsored by Bonjour Québec @TourismQuebec pic.twitter.com/dVt57wC7nK
— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) February 2, 2023
"We are energized and revitalized,” Kotb said. “I didn't know how my body was going to react but we have energy and juice, we snowshoed, we tobogganed, we were in an ice castle."
“[Québec City's] just got beautiful cobblestone streets, the kindest people. It may be freezing but I have to tell you, when I saw people jogging and saying good morning I was like, this city has got it, and it's steeped in history. I felt like I was in school again, learning.”
“We had no idea, everything we passed was like the oldest church in North America, the oldest school in North America," Hager added. "It definitely had that sort of European-French feel.”
“All the colours are magnificent and magical. … We said it almost too much but, we feel like we're in a storybook."
'I didn't know cheese could squeak!'
As we saw on the live TODAY with Hoda & Jenna show on Thursday morning, the pair have spent much of their time in Québec City outdoors. While snowshoeing may have resulted in a few falls in the snow, the highlight for the famed co-hosts was tobogganing.
“It just gives you that feeling of being out of control,” Kotb said. “We're control freaks and on a toboggan you can't fear, you've just got to sit and pray that you'll get to the end."
Kotb and Hager were racing on toboggans that went over 60 km/h, but Kotb was ultimately the victor.
"It was a little painful at the end," Hager admitted. "But that feeling of just kind of free-fall was so much fun."
Of course, we can't talk about Quebec without talking about food, poutine in particular. While the provincial delicacy was new to both Kotb and Hager, they are "pro-poutine."
“I didn't know cheese could squeak!” Kotb said.
Ultimately, Kotb and Hager have a simple message to anyone who has maybe been thinking of experiencing Québec City. "Come!"
"I'm not a cold weather person and I've loved it," Kotb said. "We're the kind of people who would typically choose a beach but I have to tell you, the place itself, the energy."
"The architecture, the food, the people, the ice sculptures, there's no reason not to come," Hager added.