Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Dec 3, 2012 11:00 AM

Vinegar pearls? Suggestions for foodie Christmas presents. Also questions on finding lobster in Montreal.


As Christmas is coming up, I'm trying to fit time in between studying for exams to find Christmas presents to take back to my foodie parents in Paris. Since they do live in Paris, you can find most gourmet delicacies there (so nothing with truffles, foie gras, etc.), so I'm looking for delicacies/new and intriguing Canadian creations. They need to be transportable in a suitcase. We used to live here, and my mother is Canadian, so just bringing back a can of maple syrup won't cut it - in fact, I'm trying to avoid bringing back maple themed things unless they're really unique. Same goes for ice wine - we've still got a few bottles of it back in Paris.
The vinegar pearls mentioned in the article above are a definite possibility, but I'm not sure where I can find them - has anyone spotted some somewhere? Similar things would be great! I'm really looking for slightly quirky, interesting things that will be a nice surprise.

Any help is greatly appreciated! :


Ps. I'm also going to try and bring two or three lobsters back. Yes, I'm slightly insane. Any recommendations on where I can find the best lobster in Montreal? Preferably somewhere where they will be intrigued by the challenge of getting lobsters over to Paris :P

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My dad used to bring lobsters to France (t'was a long time ago).

    The trick is to keep them as comfortable as possible; have them packed in a Styrofoam box with some Algae (the green stuff that most fishmongers should have), wrapped in newspaper, and in the box they go and wrap the box in plastic (and/or bag).

    Eat them as soon as possible when getting there, especially if they died during the flight; if they are still alive, you can keep them a few more days in the fridge.

    Now, we usually bring in smoked salmon, bagels (as fresh as possible) and cream cheese.

    I've seem some "pearl" things at Gourmet Laurier last week; but they did not look as nice as those (maybe they were imported from europe :-).

    4 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      If they died during the flight, wouldn't it be best to throqw them away? Isn't the rule of thumb live shellfish only?

      1. re: FrankJBN

        That's what I would have assumed too! Dead shellfish = major no-no.

        1. re: Chocolatetpetitpois

          I think recently deceased lobster is fine. The cooked lobsters you buy at the supermarket are the ones they found dead in the tank.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            I will strongly disagree with you. Eating lobster that has been dead for a while is not a good idea. And if you think you are buying cooked previously dead lobsters at a grocery store, I would strongly recommend you don't shop there anymore.

            Lobster should be killed right before cooking- or killed by the cooking process.

    2. Why not give her the tools to make her own vinegar pearls?

      1 Reply
      1. re: unlaced

        Otherwise some products from Societe Orignal would be quite unique. I sampled some of their products at Souk@SAT over the weekend and was impressed!

      2. Point G is making balsamic pearls; available at their outlet or at Pizza Mia (Atwater) among other places. Gingras is making apple cider pearls; available at Delices du marche

        1. I bought balsamic vinegar pearls at the Atwater market's indoor fancy fruit/vegetable store on the first (outdoor) level. I am in love!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: maisonbistro

            theres always the christmas markets to explore, the one at bonaventure has some good cassis products



            there used to be different Christmas logs but made out of chocoate, even smaller versions in pastry or chocolate shops

            1. re: mangoannie

              I second a Christmas market. There are many that pop up around this time of year and you can find groumet products from local producers. Marche Casse-Noisette is good.

              A good idea too is nut truffles sold by Tessier dit Lavigne. These are quite unique and their packaging is lovely. Makes a great present.

              Other stuff to consider:
              Honey products,
              maple products (yes i know you have syrup but perhaps explore some maple alcohols?),
              microbrews if they like beer,
              vacuum pack smoked meat,
              frozen montreal bagels