If you’re like me, a food-obsessed gourmet, nothing would give you more pleasure than receiving a food-related gift this holiday season. Forget about a sweater, or jewellery, or even a night at the theatre — I’d much rather open up a beautiful cookbook full of tantalizing recipes or get wined and dined at a nice restaurant. Even better, I’d love to discover some exciting new kitchenware or delectable gourmet goodies.
Here are a few suggestions you can easily fit in your suitcase:
À table tout le monde
361 St. Paul W. Montreal, QC, H2Y 2A7, 514 750-0311
I’ve already mentioned my latest fave shop, À table tout le monde that carries exquisite porcelain china, Blohmgumm, made in Germany. This boutique in Old Montreal unites the art of cooking and design. Not only are all the objects beautifully crafted; they’re also fully functional. Prices range from $7 to $700.
Marché du Vieux
8 St-Paul East, Montreal, Qc, H2Y 1G1 514-393-2772
If you like edible presents, then head to the Marché du Vieux, where they offer a fantastic selection of Quebec products, including several maple syrup-based treats. New arrivals include a line of gourmet syrups from Fins mets. The syrups are made from recipes from the old days of Nouvelle-France. My favourite was the organic raspberry syrup. It can be added to drinks, poured over ice cream, desserts or used in salad dressings and sauces. These new edible treats won the “Coup de Coeur” award at the Salon Passion-Chocolat in the “artisanal products” category.
1057 St. Laurent, Montreal, QC, H2Z 1J6, 514 868-1818
This cluttered little shop is stocked with everything from 99-cent dishes to bamboo steamers, as well as mandolins (the chopping and slicing kind, not the musical instrument) and magnificent Japanese-style teapots (that are now “Made in China”).
6851 St. Dominique, Montreal, QC, H2S 3B3, 514 271-2057
A veritable fixture in Little Italy, Quincallerie Dante was once a hardware store, but now sells kitchenware and even has a hunting (yikes!) section. Owned and operated by the friendly Faita family, they have just about everything you need related to cooking, including Peugeot pepper grinders and their locally renowned chestnut pannettone (which was devoured in record time).
Marché des saveurs
280 Place du marché du nord, Montreal, QC, H2S 1A1, 514 271-3811
Marché des Saveurs is located in the Jean Talon Market and it’s where you go if you’re looking for the largest selection of Quebec products in one shop — over 7,000! With everything from ice wine, beer, cheese and Quebec caviar to jam, gift baskets and more.
1451 Laurier E., Montreal, Qc, H2J 1H8, 514 522-9993
This adorable neighbourhood shop is full of gorgeous gourmet goodies (a huge variety of chocolates and olive oil) offers a wide selection of tea and accessories, including Italian coffee makers at unbeatable prices.
1081 Laurier W. Montreal, QC, H2V 2L2, 514-813-3135
Newly opened, this little shop called L’émouleur sells hand made high-end knives, privately imported from Japan and they supply the knives for the famous restaurant Toqué. These magnificent implements are available in prices ranging from $100 to $1,000.
152 Laurier W. Montreal, QC, H2T 2N7, 514 278-0008
I’ve already extolled the virtues of the Les touilleurs and warned you that it’s an extremely dangerous place for my pocketbook. I passed by last weekend and added a couple more items to my holiday wish list: Revol espresso cups and some teak cutting boards.
Appetite for Books
388 Victoria Ave. Montreal, QC, H3Z 2N4, 514 369-2002
Appetite for books is a charming little bookstore devoted entirely to the art of cooking. They have everything from celebrity cookbooks, rare first edition books and haute cuisine publications. The owners often invite authors to hold book launches in their store, so you just might walk out with a signed copy from one of your favourite chefs!
(Syrup from Les Fins mets)
Finally, running through to Dec. 22, 2009, the Salon des métiers d’arts is currently in town. Entrance is free and this year you’ll find an epicurean section with several varieties of Quebec-made products.