In the spring and summer months, Montreal’s Jean-Talon market is the largest open-air farmers’ market in North America. It’s a great place to get close to what makes Montreal’s food scene great: The farmers and the foods that come from our earth, our land (what we call “terroir”)…
For 80 years, the market has awakened every Spring for the first harvests of fiddleheads, ramps and asparagus. As we swing into the summer months, there’s always something new to munch on, from strawberries to fresh Quebec garlic. That’s how a market renews itself: with something new every season to savour. On a recent trip, we came upon some new treats to look forward to this year…
1) More organic produce. Every year, we see more farmers’ bounty grown and harvested without pesticides or chemicals of any kind. These tender Quebec asparagus can be found on menus all around town.
2) Les Pops fait au Quebec. Not exactly new, but new to their prime location in the market’s main alley – a candy-striped kiosk and enigmatic branding, not to mention great popsicles.
3) La Grange du Marché, or “beer barn”. Finally, a place to sample Quebec’s best microbrews all in one place, as well as marinated meat dishes (tangy maple ham) and exotic salad sauces.
4) Creperie du Marché, which makes some of the freshest, crispiest crepes around town and has always been conscientious about sourcing the ingredients for their batter and fillings, told me that they’ve gone full-on gluten-free and have eliminated wheat even from their béchamel sauce- it’s all in the interests of “balancing the minerals” in their food, they say.
4) Le Pourvoyeur’s new brunch. Morning burger, morning poutine, morning goodness all around– and in that pub-like atmosphere you want most after a heavy night on the town.
6) New ice-cream flavours at Havre-aux-glaces. Malay Mango, and the superlative Bissap, which is hibiscus with a cardamom tinge.
7) La Stellina: Stellar sandwiches on a cute garden patio – new to the market, transplanted from a less-popular area of Little Italy.