Where can I get X?
I have a few food items I need to pick up soon that I either haven't bought before in Montreal or want to know where to get the best (or, your opinion of the best). Here is the list:
- clams (doesn't matter how they're packaged etc., but would prefer they not taste of their packaging)
- kimchi (organic, hopefully, as well as free of additives/preservatives - large sizes are fine)
- fois gras (organic if possible)
- organic veggies - anywhere that isn't wildly expensive + has a good range?
I'm going to La Vieille Europe tomorrow and would love to hear any recs for specific items I may not know about (if it's not in the English section and it isn't well known, assume I don't know about it!) - charcuterie, sausage (do they have bratwurst?), cheese (soft/semisoft, high fat, creamy) and sweets recs very much appreciated, but really, anything, I want to try some new things.
Not organic (and not in Montreal) fois gras, but take a look at their practices:
Veggies: In the winter, there is very little variety. We get Lufa Farms and they are a lot better than what we had before (Stuff grown in greenhouses + products from organic farmers). But, Lufa cannot call themselves organic beacause they do not use soil.
Clams - depends on what you mean by "packaging". I usually prefer them packaged in their own shell. G&D (Chinese grocery in Chinatown's Swatow building) usually has them live, fresh, and cheap. I often see frozen clams both IQF and on the half-shell in asian markets - don't know quality.
Baby clams in a can usually suck.
For canned clams, I like Clover leaf chopped clams sold in major grocery stores;
Kimchi - on Decarie below Sherbrooke as Max mentions. Also at Japanese/Korean market on Sherbrooke W. across from Akhaven (corner Beaconsfield).
Also at Japanese/Korean market on Sherbrooke W. nearish Atwater (between Chomedy and Fort).
Also Miyamoto foods on Victoria below Sherbrooke.
Also at G&D in Chinatown (as above).
Fois Gras - never bought it, but spotted in various butchers in Atwater Market.
Oganic veggies - not my forté.
Vielle Europe - I can spend a coupla hours in there; thats the beauty of it, finding unique stuff on your own.
I'd also suggest a visit to Charcuterie Fairmont a few doors south of Vielle Europe (same side). Basically a butcher shop, but he does most of the charcuterie in-house. Try some pork skin crackling if he's got any. Also he's recently had a stuffed pork cold cut loaf; he took the shell of a pork roast and stuffed it with a mix of emulsified meat, meat chunks, and chunks of pepper. It looks kinda like this
Never seeing it before, I asked the owner Joseph if he always has it. He said no, he only makes it once in a while. Tastes great and quite different.
He does some great smoked pork products as well.
Clams: any good fishmongers (I don't even tasted their packaging!!! weird) should have them, I don't know if they are in season.
Kimchi: There's a korean/Asian store on Décarie below sherbrooke, I think they have some.
Foie Gras: I'd go to "Canard Libéré" a little bit north of "La Vieille Europe"; I don't know if they have bio, but their product is good; personally, as long as the ducks are treated as humanely as possiible, I don't really care if it is bio or not (IMO).
Organic Vegetables: this time of year you will have to pay a premium for out of season vegetables, and probably not that great either. Check the "Rachel Béry" stores (again, a little north of Canard Libéré on St-Laurent)
La Vieille Europe can have tons of nice "européan" food stuff; just look around you will probably find things you like.
They have a good (not great) selection of Cheeses and Charcuteries and sausages (east-european).