Red Alert! Summer in Montreal means one thing to dessert lovers: Berries. Succulent ripe-and-ready berries are in pint boxes and baskets in the markets, and plates in the city’s finest restos. The early strawberry season is in full swing (though Quebec has another strawberry season in early fall, just in time for autumn preserving) and Montreal’s best restaurants are making full use of the bounty…
We know one of Montreal’s top chefs, Normand Laprise of Toque! has a basement gallery of berries: industrial freezers dedicated to his $18,000 annual inventory of Quebec buckthorn berries, rosehips, black raspberries, red raspberries and sweet, sour and savoury strawberries are all fresh picked and flash-frozen, ready to be plucked from the underground at a moment’s notice.
I like to eat strawberries out of the basket at Jean-Talon Market, where they taste like summer and happiness to me. However, their sweet gorgeousness inspires chefs more than any other ingredient around these parts, so of course they like to play- below are some of our favourite strawberry dishes of the season…
Toqué!: This summer dish was unexpectedly not on the dessert page, but in the entrées – the first strawberries of the season tucked alongside slices of terrine de foie gras, with meringue, rhubarb compote and rosepetal jelly.
Maison Boulud: These adorable desserts at Maison Boulud are cute as bugs’ ears, but way tastier: Rhubarb vacherin topped off with some sexy strawberry mini-meringues, or strawberry and essence of orange, with a pinenut biscuit and crystallized violet goat’s yogurt sorbet.
Lawrence: A simple, perfect tart as red and glistening as a ruby.
Nora Gray: This new hotspot pairs strawberries from île d’Orleans near Quebec city with homemade mascarpone ice cream.
Finally, sometimes there’s nothing so satisfying as a strawberry sundae: Le Bremner does it super well, with all the right accessories.