Jazz fest local purchases
spending some time at jazz fest this year and I haven't been to Montreal in ages!!
I'm looking for local items that I should buy to bring home, for example my friend gets a really good fondue broth and excellent maple syrup, amongst other things. What would you recomend that I absolutly bring back to the US to try that I can't get here...thanks!
THANKS to all of you for your many suggestions in the various posts, it was such a fun foodie trip, regardless of the just so so weather….here is a not so short summary…again thanks for making a good trip even better!!
Poutine – went to lunch just over the border about 20 minutes in….the waitress claimed it was the best around but we went with a couple that eats a lot of Poutine and they said it was one of the worst they have had…unfortunately we didn’t try another before we returned home, will try again next time…
Never made it to Schwartz’s…next time…
Bagels – preferred Fairmont to St Viatuer – got mostly sesame and a bozo and some matzoh. Froze most when we got home. This is the first place I’ve ever see fresh matzoh, very cool!
Ate 2 dinners on Prince Arthur – French restaurant (Les Deux Gaminis) and Indian right next door and above. Both were very good and the French dinner was on a night filled with rain so we didn’t mind a slow relaxing dinner sitting and drinking wine…Indian restaurant is BYO with a store right across the street.
Eggspectation(?) near the stages – had a pork burger which was really good. Over all decent food but just so so on the service…
Old City lunch – don’t remember the name but it was closest street to the water and you walked into a cobblestone entrance which was open above to let the sun in, very charming and the sandwiches were really good. The bread is homemade and more like a thin bread which was good because you got a lot of really good stuffing and didn’t get full by the bread.
Brought home lots of Coffee Crisps, Kit Kats, and smarties to try…
Jean Talon: Wow, I love markets and I am so glad you all sent me there! Got off the metro and started with Calamari with spicy mayo – I think it was the recommended Aqua-Mare, the fish store with a fryer stall. Probably the best calamari we’ve all had!!.
Got 2 sausages (Les Cochons Tout Ronds) to bring home as the woman at the counter said they could stay un refrigerated for a month if you didn’t cut into them...I am a little skeptical as when we got them home they are a bit stinky…Do you think she gave me correct info or did I hear her wrong. I cut into one tonight and I think the taste was fine just a bit stinky….I put them both in the refrigerator just to make sure before I check with you all…
Bought some dried yellow split peas as we had some split pea soup the day before made with yellow peas and I just like the concept…
Maple syrup pie from the bakery as you walk toward the kitchen gadget store and bathrooms. My friend makes this pie and has tried to describe it to me but eating it was fantastic!! Went back the next day and bought one in a smaller pie shell for breakfast….yum!
Crepes with maple butter and strawberries….Chocolate bun from the bakery at the end row…Nectarines, fresh figs, pineapple…I love how they put out samples of all the fruits…beautiful to see all the fresh veggies, etc….
Verger Lacroix – tasted most of it and bought a bottle of crackling hard cider which we enjoyed drinking chilled in the hot tub! Ice cider as well which hasn’t yet been opened…
2 cans of maple syrup (we don’t see cans of syrup down this way…)
Fresh cheese (curds?) to munch on….
Before leaving town stopped at the grocery store and got: St Hubert poutine and bbq sauce, maple cookies, ketchup chips, pea soup (habitat), jif creamy pb, and more candy….
i am going to ontario this weekend and am taking some maple syrup and maple syrup products such as mustard with maple flavour from the nice maple products store in old montreal (Maple Delights)and i also picked up some lavender products (lavender honey, candies, chocolate and salad dressing/marinade) sold in front part of downtown Bay store, all very nicely packaged and of course all from quebec farms. I did check out products in vieux marche store in old montreal and although lots of products from quebec and tastings available nothing much tempted me particularly since the people in ontario make their own jams and i found these homemade jams in stores had too many additives including sulfites! And some ot the canadiana products were made in mexico such as cheesecake preparations which seemed odd......
Interesting: just discovered there is a Jif.ca - the terms & conditions of some contest that's ended include this nugget: "Jif’s products and services are available in many parts of Canada and the USA. However, the Jif site may describe products and services that are not available where you are located."
...and I found this pertinent thread on the Ontario board.
oh, so sorry, it was Kraft creamy - I got the recomendation from your referenced thread at the top (kraft vs jif:)...I think we have jif in the US stores but I never really looked, will have to make a point to check on the next market run....thanks again for the thread and suggestions!
Hey! I just had the spruce beer from Marco last week They serve it - full bottle - at Smoked Meat Pete in Ile Perrot. I have loved spruce beer since I was a child. Marco's is a tad less sweet and syrupy that the spruce beer I remember from the Pop Shop (ack! I am dating myself!)
«Marco's is a tad less sweet and syrupy»
That's one of the things I like about it. Very refreshing and clean. Made with sugar, too. Am talking about the stuff in the bottle with the wired stopper. Haven't tried Marco's '56 spruce beer, which looks more soda poppy.
Ingredients in '56 sprice beer: carbonated water, sugar/glucose-fructose, natural and artificial flavours, sodium benzoate, citric acid, phosphoric acid. saponin.
Ingredients in the old-fashioned spruce beer: water, sugar, spruce essence, yeast, sodium bicarbonate. The label also says to keep it refrigerated at all times, further proof that it's a natural product.
Boston hound here, who just returned Sunday night from Montreal.
To expand on what Carswell is writing (and he is spot on always):
1. The meat ban at the border has been lifted, according to the counter staff at Schwartz's, which has opened a new takeout location, next door to the original. $10.95 per pound for Smoked Meat, which is now vacuum packed. We didn't take home any this trip, but we will be returning in July. The new takeout location has both sliced meat and full briskets in a refrigerated case, plus bottled french fry and steak spices, and the collection of t-shirts,sweatshirts and mugs.
2. The bagel companies will supply you with plastic bags for freezing bagels. Fairmount Bagels is open 24 hours. Montreal bagels are unlike any other.
3. Anything to do with Cream is more intense than many places in the US. My wife swears that the soft serve ice cream in Montreal is more creamier and flavorful than here in Boston (we stop several times before we leave). She also had cream cheese and mushrooms on a burger at La Paryse for the first time, and it was as awesome as Chowhounders described. Carswell's suggestion about the Liberte Cream cheese is dead on.
4. Coffee---since suburban Boston expresso choices are mostly between Dunkin Donuts,Starbucks, and McDonald's, stop and get a good expresso at any number of local cafes, and scan their coffee bean selection. This trip we stopped at Cafe Myriad on the recommendation of Chowhounders, before that it was Cafe Art Java. We normally return home with coffee beans purchased at La Vieux Europe (next to Schwartz's), but this trip stopped at Frenco, a block north of Schwartz's on St.Laurent, for Cuban black beans. We have always declared "coffee beans" at the border, but never been asked where they came from, or had them confiscated.
5. We spent part of the day Saturday at Jean Talon Market. Our lunch turned into noshing on fruit, a knackwurst with sauerkraut at William J. Walter, a bison sausage on a stick,and a caramel covered crepe. (Why bother with a restaurant) We visited Olives et Epices (our 2nd time) and left with a brass spice grinder, vanilla beans (at half the price we pay at home), olive oil and balsmic vinegar, all after having a personalized tasting with a member of the staff. Incredible staff and selection.
6. Ice Cider/Ice Wine----Jean Talon Market, again. We always find that some producers who may not have set up distribution through the SAQ will have a booth in the market. And then there is Les Saveurs du Marche. It is not unusual to have a tasting at a producer's booth inside the main market, purchase a bottle or two, and then go to Les Saveurs du Marche and taste 5 or 6 more different producers, and end up purchasing more. As long as you follow the general rules for declaring alcohol when crossing the border, there has been no problem.
7. Microbrewed Beers-- Again, Les Saveurs du Marche in the Jean Talon Market has an incredible selection of Quebec brewed beer. Even if you go to the Atwater Market (another fantastic market), there is a 1st floor purveyor with hundreds of styles made in Quebec. I left this trip with a Brasserie McAuslan 2007 and 2009 Special ale ($5.99 each), neither of which is easily obtainable where I am, and a fine beer brewed in a limited batch that will age up until I decide to drink it.
I will add to Carswell's list...specialty maple products.....not standard maple sryup, but items like granulated maple sugar, maple butter, and maple flakes. Usually, we bring home granulated maple sugar (found at Maple Delights in Old Montreal), but also found maple flakes in a grinder in the Atwater Market. For maple syrup with a little extra (like Grand Marnier,Rum, Caramel, or Blueberry), Maple Delights will sell you decorative bottles.
Verger Lacroix et Cidrerie is the name of the orchard that is featuring their ice ciders inside the Jean Talon market, separate from the Les Saveurs du Marche store. Verger Lacroix is located in Saint-Joseph-du-Lac. We tasted and bought 2 bottles, one was a very nice strong cider, Feu Sacre, at 16% alcohol content. www.vergerlacroix.ca
Verger Lacroix et Ciderie
Off the top of my head (and leaving out meat products):
- Quebec cheeses.
- Bagels, provided you can get them home and into the freezer within 12 hours of purchase.
- Red River cereal.
- Liberté cream cheese and yogurt.
- Herbes salées (preserved salted herbs).
- Coffee Crisps, Kit Kats and other local candies.
- Spices from Olives et Épices (Jean Talon Market), especially some of their blends.
- Ice cider.
- Ice wine.
- Chocolate-covered blueberries (assuming you can find any; not quite in season).
- Microbrewery beers.
You might also want to check Les Saveurs du Marché, the all Quebec products store at Jean Talon Market, which has many of the above, including an excellent selection of local cheeses. The market's also full of other delights, including gorgeous produce.
Yes, the chocolate covered blueberries only come out in early August. Shame, as I have never had anything quite like them elsewhere.
If it is possible to bring back duck, it might be worth picking up some confit du canard (duck preserved in its own fat). You can get some really traditional versions here. One that is easy to pack to go home is the one in the jar they sell at Anjou Quebec, the added bonus being all the extra duck fat you get for frying breakfast potatoes and the like.
Les Saveurs du Marche is an excellent suggestion, they have lots of wonderful Quebec preserves and food products, and microbrewery Quebec beers. One product I really love is traditional Quebecois fruit ketchup (Ketchup de fruit). Quite yummy on meat pies.