When I go to a new city, the first thing I look for are the local farmer’s markets. They’re places where you can feel the pulse of the city and so they make for a great first destination. This is where life tastes the sweetest and I am always excited to partake.
Located in the heart of Little Italy, the Jean-Talon market has been the city’s biggest – and best – culinary destination for decades. Foodies go there in search of perfect mushrooms and rare spices, while others come to take in the ambiance while nibbling on freshly roasted almonds or the abundant samples. Best of all, a visit will throw you directly into Quebec’s food culture, or multi-culture, if you will. You can hear the farmers speak with different accents from all over the province, watch the Italian greengrocers comparing the freshness of their tomatoes and basil, and be amused at the North African merchants who determinedly argue that now that you’ve bought olive oil, you MUST buy a tagine AND a merguez sandwich.
My tip if you go on a weekend? Get there early! As noon comes by, it gets pretty packed! When you’re done with shopping and tasting, head over to St-Laurent Street to have an Italian espresso and play a game of foosball. That’s how I do it!
I will eventually review some of the market’s stands and shops. Meanwhile, here are my faves:
Marché des saveurs
http://www.lemarchedessaveurs.com/ (French only)
You’ll find more than 7,000 Quebec products here. Ice wine, beer, cheese, Quebec caviar, jam, gift baskets and more.
Specializes in traditional smoked fish from the Gaspésie region. Try the smoked trout and shrimp rillette, or the smoked salmon with cilantro.
For almost 50 years, this cheese shop has been one of the best in Montréal in terms of variety. You’ll also find deli meats, fine chocolates and imported European products. Don’t be shy to ask for cheese samples!
This grocery and butcher shop has loads of fresh pasta, cheap cheeses, Italian sausages and meats. Got there to get a glimpse of Italy without crossing the ocean.
Homemade ice cream and sorbet – need I say more? With flavours like chocolate/tangerine, strawberry/fresh cheese and Chai Masala, you may spend 10 minutes just deciding which one to get!
For more pictures and suggestions, check out what Seriouseats said about the Jean Talon Market.
7070 Henri-Julien Street
Monday , Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 7 am to 6 pm
Thursday, Friday 7 am to 8 pm
Sunday 7 am to 5 pm